Good News Centre Kenya
In 1985, Sister Martin Wanjiru decided to take up care of a number of children affected by poverty and violence in the Kibagare slum in Nairobi, Kenya. The slum had been declared illegal by the City Council and police raids aimed at evicting the residents resulted in numerous children being displaced. Sister Martin Wanjiru, a member of the Assumption Sisters of Nairobi, provided shelter and food to the most vulnerable of these children. Even though her fellow sisters believed the slum was too dangerous, she persevered and continued her work.
A year later, the Dutch Football Club F.C. Den Bosch travelled to Nairobi to partake in a football tournament. The Club's Chairman and his wife, Mr and Mrs Suijkerbuijk, visited Sister Wanjiru's Kibagare project. When confronted with the dire needs and the positive results that Sister Wanjiru achieved in a very challenging environment, they decided that they wanted to help. Upon their return to the Netherlands, they founded The Good News Centre. Their aim was to raise money and to provide continued support to Sister Wanjiru. The spouse of the Dutch ambassador in Kenya was of enourmous value and brought together a Committee of Dutch volunteers. This committee was to guide and manage The Foundation's operations on the ground in Kibagare. Using funds raised by the Good News Centre, Sister Wanjiru was able to expand her facilities significantly. A primary school, extra classrooms, a kitchen and dorms were completed over the next few years, which significantly improved the children's' quality of life.
The Assumption Sisters were able to increase their presence in Kibagare and what started as a small feeding project changed into a large Primary School and an orphanage. Other sponsors from Germany and the US started to participate and financed part of the running costs.
During the years around the millennium, under the leadership of Sister Leah Wanjiku, also of the Assumption Sisters, the Primary school grew into a school with more than 900 pupils, mostly from the slum of Kibagare and Kangemi. The Sisters started a Girls High school with boarding facilities.
During these years, The Foundation Good News Centre from Den Bosch helped to build a kitchen that could cater for the 900 Primary School students. They also provided technical and financial help with the construction of various boarding houses.
Around 2008, the committee of Dutch volunteers on the ground realised that the work at the Good News Centre, the name that was given to the Centre that housed the St Martin's orphanage, the St Martin's Primary School and the St Martin's High School, was completed. What next? After extensive communication between the board in the Netherlands and the Committee in Nairobi, it was decided to change tack and embark on a program to fund motivated, needy students in High School. The committee, in conjunction with the principal of the St Martin's Primary School, started to select 10 to 15 needy pupils annually. These pupils had proven to be smart and motivated and who the committee felt would do well at High School level.
The aim was to get these good pupils from the St Martin's Primary School at a High school that included boarding. For the last 10 years, the Good News Centre has continued to help needy and bright pupils. Not only does the committee pay the school fees, uniforms and shoes, they also assist the pupils when needed and discuss the report cards.
Since 2012, the program has been extended. The students that finish High School have a high chance of being accepted to College for either a certificate or diploma course. The Good News Centre pays for tuition fees and covers the cost for a student hostel. Students are also given a modest monthly stipend.
With a diploma or certificate, these young people, who mainly come from the informal settlement of Kibagare, have a much better chance at finding suitable employment and a great chance to escape the poverty that they knew as kids.
In 2016, the Foundation Good News Centre Kenya sponsored 60 students in High School and 50 in College.