Denzel is a standard 2 pupil at Jitahidi primary School. Records from the class register provided to us by his class teacher shows a steady increase in attendance since he joined our programme. His class teacher believes that the court of dreams programme has played a key role in improving Denzel’s and other pupils’ attitudes towards school.
“As you can see our school does not have a playing space, and so your court [Kibera tennis court] is the only one available for them. Our pupils, particularly Denzel, have always been very excited about getting down to the tennis court,” says his class teacher. “I have said it before and I still maintain that I hope the programme will keep going on, so that our kids have space to play, and have a good motivation at least once a week to be in school.”
“During the December holidays I had time to play at the tennis court every day. Now that we are back to school, I will be looking forward to our play days [Wednesdays],” says Denzel. “I also enjoy the life skills sessions with teachers [Social educators] from Sadili. There is always a lot of singing and playing, and we have a lot of fun.”
Lalety is a standard 3 pupil at Jitahidi Primary School. She was one of the most improved pupils in class last term and is one of the most active beneficiaries of the programme. She took part in several of last year’s Sadili 8-Series challenges held both at Sadili Oval and the Kibera Tennis Court.
Ms. Josephine, her teacher, notes that pupils in her class are now more engaged than previously and are always looking forward to sessions with Sadili staff. “I am particularly proud of Lalety for her improved performance and the fact she clearly shows a lot more commitment to schoolwork. Sadili has contributed immensely to this,” says her teacher. “The reason I am saying this is that I accompany the pupils to the tennis court every time they have a session with your staff, and I am impressed by the way they are handled by the coaches and the social educators. When they return to class after games, they are always more eager to learn, listen more and are much less stubborn.”
“I love the fact that we always have play time with Sadili staff every Wednesday, and that sometimes we go to Sadili for tournaments. I am always excited to play on the blue court [Court of Dreams] at Sadili,” says Lalety. “I can now play tennis and can help in the teaching of others.”
We walked to Becky School and could not help but notice Alice Achieng’, a standard 1 pupil at the school. Her uniform is clean, her hair well shaven, and on a closer look, her nails cut short.
“Alice’s overall cleanliness has greatly improved since our school first joined the programme.” Her class teacher tells us. Unlike before, her hair is always either combed or clean-shaven like it is today.” Her teacher notes that she takes cleanliness a lot more seriously than she did before, something we all agree with as we have known her since the programme began.
We asked Alice to demonstrate to us how she washes her hands, and she did it very well. “I always wash my hands with soap and water every time I visit the toilet and before meals,” she says, “and sometimes I insist on getting soap until my mother gets upset.”