Computer Lab and Library
“Elimu” means “education” in Swahili, and Elimu Hub is the center of learning activities, resources, and community. Elimu Hub is on the Ngong Road Children’s Foundation campus, adjacent to the administrative building, and surrounded by a secure wall that embraces students with a sense of protection and safety in an unstable and sometimes dangerous neighborhood. Elimu Hub houses our computer lab and library.
In Kenya, as is true most places in the world, computer literacy is a prerequisite for most employment in the formal economy. Most of the children in our program attend primary schools and live in homes without electricity or any access to computers. Some secondary schools offer computer training, but the experience of students varies widely. In 2011 we launched our own computer lab.
The Computer Lab first opened in the attic of our first office. It was a tight, hot space with barely enough room for instructors to walk between chairs looking over the shoulders of students to provide instruction. Improvements were made over the years, but due to the location of the Computer Lab, distractions were common and classroom instruction was routinely interrupted.
Our new Computer Lab in Elimu Hub has a space dedicated to its use, accommodating more computers, and a configuration more conducive to teaching and learning. Elimu Hub’s solar-powered electrical source also ensures more reliable electricity, avoiding the constant challenges of rolling brownouts and power surges. This helps protect valuable computer equipment and creates a learning environment that signals students that they are working with modern technology that will more adequately prepare them for the world ahead.
Staffed by computer professionals, primary students receive instruction after school and computer training for secondary school students is offered during school holidays. Post-secondary students utilize the laptop lending program system administered through the computer lab.
In Kenya, computer certification programs are encouraged for students to learn and demonstrate computer proficiency to potential post-secondary schools and, or employers. We offer this training to all students following graduation from secondary school as an integral component of our program. The teaching and certification exam is administered by the Computer Society of Kenya (CSK) in our Computer Lab.
Elimu Hub also houses our student library. The library was originally launched in 2009 and, by most accounts, is the largest in the Dagoretti slum. Reading allows us all to escape to other worlds fueling imagination and creativity. The more our students read, the more they realize they share many of the same concerns, challenges, and interests as students all over the world.
With Kenyan schools being taught in English, the more experience children have reading and writing in English, the better their performance. This in turn helps them in school and ultimately in their careers. While the library has a number of books written in Swahili, they are not as popular as English language books, especially with younger readers.
students reading in our library
The library has grown to more than 3,000 books with more being added with the expanded space in Elimu Hub. Books of all kinds are available for all ages. In addition to books, the library also has computers and tablets available for research and reading purposes.