During a visit to Kibera in June 2005, a member of our team discovered a community of 50 orphans and vulnerable children learning in a dark, small, sewage-ridden, unsafe iron shed. After seeing the need first hand, a group of friends in Sydney decided to start 'Oasis Africa Australia - The Kibera School for orphans Project' to raise awareness and funds. The intial funding for the school had been underwritten personally by the Australian co-founders (Kim Winter and Lalita Ari), which allowed for the school to be re-located to more suitable facilities in September 2005. As the project grew, an Australian team and International Advisory board was established to assist in helping to meet urgent funding and on-going running costs.
3.9 million people live in slums in Kenya, which represents 55% of the urban population. Housing for Nairobi’s slum dwellers typically consists of shanties made of mud, wattle and iron sheets. There are as many as 250 shanties per hectare and there is little or no access to water, electricity, basic services and infrastructure with around 94% of slum dwellers lacking access to adequate sanitation.
Most structures are let on a room-by-room basis with many families (on average 6 - 8 people) living in just one room. These factors have serious repercussions on the health and wellbeing of slum dwellers, demonstrated by the child mortality rate: for every 1,000 children born in Nairobi’s slums, 151 will die before the age of five. This is significantly higher than the average of 62 for Nairobi as a whole.
Kenya’s slum population is growing by almost 6 per cent each year. The situation in the capital, Nairobi, is typical of the challenges facing poor people throughout Kenya’s urban areas. Demand for land means that over half of Nairobi’s population is crammed onto just 1.5 per cent of the total land area. The threat of eviction places many people in constant fear of having their home destroyed.
On the 26 October 2006, the inaugural Oasis Africa Australia fundraiser was held in Sydney - a cocktail evening of Entertainment, African Dance, Art, Fashion, Music and Charity Auction. The night was a roaring success.
The combination of this event and subsequent fundraising efforts, has enabled Oasis Africa to focus on Secondary School & Vocational Scholarships for students in Kibera slum, and also to establish a partnership with a primary school in Soweto slum, Nairobi in 2013. A self-sustaining farming project was also established in 2013.
We continue to invest in changing the lives of vulnerable children in Nairobi, Kenya.