Our Lady of Nazareth school is located in the middle of Nairobi’s largest and worst slum named Mukuru, where 350,000 people struggle to survive. In Swahili, mukuru means “garbage dump.” The roads there are unpaved and pungent smells of excrement and wood fires fill the air. Ramshackle houses of tin, plastic, and wood have dirt floors, no running water, no sanitation, and no electricity. Hunger, disease, and physical and sexual abuse of children are common. The only way out of this wretched place is education. Thus, the importance of Our Lady of Nazareth School, where 1,800 slum children are enrolled. For these children, OLN is the only means of breaking the ugly cycle of poverty in which they were born.
How you can help: Sponsor a child for $125 a year (less than $11 a month), which pays a year’s tuition and one hot meal a day. For most of the children, it is the only food they will eat that day. You will receive the name and a photo of the child whom you are sponsoring. A donation of $600 sends a deserving OLN graduate to high school for one year. The Marianists rely almost exclusively on donations to keep OLN’s doors open. You can also sponsor a child as a gift for Christmas, birthdays or other special occasions. A gift card and the photo of the child will be sent. The recipient of your gift will receive two letters from the child during the year.
You can also purchase the book, “Lazarus, Come Forth.” Proceeds of the book benefit OLN.
IMANI is a Marianist program in Eastern Africa. In the Kiswahili language of Eastern Africa, “imani” means faith, while the acronym IMANI stands for “Incentive from the Marianists to Assist the Needy to be Independent.” IMANI’s ministries include the Chaminade Training Center and Maria House.
- Chaminade Training Center is an outreach program to young men and women that provides the opportunity to learn trade and life skills to become employable and able to support their families. IMANI’s job creation program teaches business skills and provides job placement service to its students while also providing loans to assist some of them in establishing their own small enterprise.
- Maria House stands as a beacon of hope for poor unwed mothers and pregnant women. It was first established 20 years ago in response to the high abortion rate among poor slum-dwellers. The programs at Maria House offer hope for women in distress by empowering them through skills training to create a better future for themselves and their children. Over the years, Maria House has helped thousands of women to become self-reliant and economically self-sufficient. It is “Mary’s House” where women find hope and acceptance.
Marianist Development Project is much like our programs at IMANI, the Marianist Development Project offers skills training to unemployable young people to empower them to become financially self-sufficient. Located in the Bombolulu slum, MDP has become a center for youth who struggle just to subsist. Here, they learn psychosocial, trade, and business skills needed for employment. Through the job creation program, graduates are placed in full-time jobs or they are assisted in starting their own small enterprises.
St. Martin de Porres Parish is a very poor parish of more than 3,000 families, the Marianists provide sacramental and evangelization ministry in the heart of the Bombolulu slum. Food assistance and other outreach programs are integral to the ministry at St. Martin de Porres.