picture of sign language mural on Little Rock wall

Little Rock Inclusive Early Childhood Development Centre

Little Rock was established in 2003 and is an inclusive Early Childhood Development Centre located in the urban slum area of Kibera, in Nairobi, Kenya. Little Rock, a fully inclusive Early Childhood Development Centre, was founded in 2003 to fill a gap and a great need of an intervention during the most formative years for children ages 1 – 8 years in the urban slum area of Kibera, in Kenya.

Little Rock is situated in Kibera, one of Africa’s largest slums. It was started by Lilly Oyare who believed it to be deeply unfair that children in Kibera are already disadvantaged when they start primary school because of its location. Primary education is available free in Kenya, but the curriculum requires basic skills that most children in Kibera simply do not have. Lilly wanted all students to be able to ‘have the same chance of succeeding at school’ as her own children who had attended private pre-schools.

Little Rock also has an established parents’ support group to provide emotional counselling to families and supports them to access healthcare and employment opportunities. The support Little Rock provides to children and families does not end once they graduate from the Early Childhood School. They continue to use the Little Rock library, receive after school tutoring and participate in sports teams and creative activities as part of Little Rock’s after-school club.

Little Rock is far more than just a school; providing an oasis of opportunity and supporting students far beyond their early years. Little Rock graduates go on to excel in their primary education, where the vast majority of them are ranked at the top of their class.

Little Rock has been a partner of AbleChildAfrica since 2006. Our partnership has significantly contributed towards the growth and development of the school. AbleChildAfrica has supported Little Rock with their early childhood development programmes as well as financial management training and mentorship, fundraising, strategic planning and investment in their income generating activities. We also continue to provide Governance support to its Trustees.

Kibera, where Little Rock is based, is Africa’s largest urban slum, and is home to at least 100,000 people with disabilities. Kenya has a system of free Universal Primary Education, but the curriculum requires basic skills that most children in Kibera do not have. The majority of children in Kibera live in poverty, with homes without sanitation and electricity, with many unable to afford private pre-primary schools. Little Rock provides all children with the opportunity to gain the skills they need to enter primary school, and supports them and their families beyond this.

AbleChildAfrica has previously worked with Little Rock on the following projects:

Income Generation Activities

AbleChildAfrica supported Little Rock to establish its tailoring workshop through the provision of equipment, materials and business planning support.

Building a Purpose-Built, Fully Inclusive, Early Childhood Education Centre

AbleChildAfrica, with funding from Euromoney and other partners, supported Little Rock to achieve their dream of building a bigger and better Inclusive Development Centre in Kigali, Nairobi. Since 2013, Little Rock have been able to welcome over 400 children with and without disabilities at the pre-school, in addition to hundreds more at the after-school club for past pupils.

Capacity Building & Growth of Little Rock

Euromoney have supported Little Rock over a number of years to facilitate the growth of Little Rock’s financial and other systems, as well as investing in Little Rock’s staff and physiotherapy/ occupational therapy unit.

Inclusive Education

In response to a number of children with disabilities who had graduated from Little Rock being consistently denied access to primary education, Little Rock used their wealth of expertise and knowledge to facilitate their inclusion in 3 pilot schools through teacher training, a school exchange and mentoring programme, provision of individual supports for children and through targeted advocacy to the local Government. 19 Little Rock graduates were enrolled into primary schools as a result through this Jersey Overseas Aid funded project. Little Rock continues to engage with these and other schools to promote and facilitate the inclusion of children with disabilities in mainstream education.

AbleChildAfrica does not have any current projects with Little Rock.  In line with our partnership model and approach, we are currently supporting them with agreed priority areas for organisational development including robust governance and financial management systems.

AbleChildAfrica and Little Rock are looking to design, test and pilot a disability inclusive curriculum and associated toolkit for Early Childhood Development (ECD). We seek to work with the Kenyan Education Department and Curriculum Development Department on this project and hope to roll out the toolkit across EECD centres in Kenya. We are currently looking for funding opportunities for this work and would welcome conversations for donors who are interested in this area.

If you would like more information please contact Lauren Watters, Head of Programmes, on lauren@ablechildafrica.org.uk

 

Back end operations and financial management support is good! We need to keep building these skills.
Lilly Oyare
Director, Little Rock

 

How you can help

Just £5 a month could provide nutritious food for a child for an entire month.  Whatever you can give can help provide vital life changes for children living in poverty.

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Humble Beginnings

In this video we celebrate our history with Little Rock by looking back at where it all started.  Little Rock started in a single rented room with 5 students, within 1 month students 100 had registered.  Within 3 months parents of disabled children started knocking on Little Rock’s door.  Today, Little Rock serves over 500 children, over 1/3 of whom are disabled.