Since January 2019, the Vocational Secondary School has been up and running on the property of the MCC. For this project, we were able to recruit the Bavarian state chancellery as a financial backer, which financed 75 percent of total building costs. Young architect Thomas Mildenberger happily volunteered his time to design five round houses that show his deep understanding of local needs and realities, and which provide enough space for either two classrooms or a combination of workshops/computer room or kitchens/teacher’s lounge.
The educational project encompasses professional training in three areas:
- a general education that includes the possibility of attaining a degree recognized by the state
- practical training at suitable jobs
- instruction in the theoretical basics of one’s chosen field of employment
A dual education at a secondary school is especially important in this region of Machakos County, since the students‘ level of knowledge at the end of primary school (eighth grade) is often not deep enough to commence vocational training. Many local families cannot afford to pay for a secondary education at one of the standard Kenyan boarding schools. This is why the Secondary School here at MCC will fill a big educational gap.
Given the MCC’s rural environs with its mostly family-owned agricultural lands, ecological agriculture is one intended branch of training, and this program will immediately address the local population’s needs. In addition, it will be necessary to offer education and training in agricultural marketing (esp. regarding processing of agricultural products and product development, farming cooperatives, etc.).
The second branch will include education in social services, resembling the domestic service track in our Bavarian secondary schools or the social service track in our middle schools. Here, both male and female students will acquire basic hygienic skills, gain rudimentary medical knowledge (first aid), and learn how to run a household (from shopping to preparing meals). The construction of an outdoor kitchen as well as a slaughterhouse that meets hygienic standards was completed in mid-2019.
Economics are the third focal point, with a special emphasis on promoting subjects such as computer science, foreign languages, and basic business knowledge. This branch is designed for female and male students who wish to attend college or university after completing grade 12.
These dual educational offerings enable us to break the negative cycle of poor schooling, lack of vocational training, youth unemployment, and migration to Nairobi’s slums. They are designed to provide adolescents with ways to earn a stable living in their rural home environs, often even on their own properties.
On a neighboring plot that faces the school, which we purchased in 2016 already, we are planning to construct several additional dormitories to house approximately 150 female and male students since the MCC itself is at capacity.