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ISL and Shoe4Africa: A Partnership for Change

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Across the Globe

A Bit of Background 

As parents, you have all experienced the fear for your sick child, the feeling of helplessness of not being able to make it better, and the agony of waiting; waiting for a doctor to see you, waiting for answers; waiting for the treatment to work. These are experiences you share with the thousands of families across the globe, the difference is that here in the United Kingdom, we often have options. Shoe4Africa’s founder, Toby Tanser, has witnessed and experienced the violence and tragedy of civil war when he was living in Kenya, experiences that led him to build the hospital.  After visiting a church that had been the target of a genocide attack, Toby learned that there was no hospital for the children who had survived the vicious attack. This became Toby’s mission. Now, the Shoe4Africa Children’s Hospital in Eldoret Kenya is the only public Children’s hospital in sub-Saharan Africa and every day it lives its mission to provide free, high-quality health care to the children of Africa.  

One of the most common complications of treatment at the hospital is malnutrition. Although the hospital is based in an agricultural community, farmers in Eldoret mostly grow maize, which does not yield the same nutrients as crops such as spinach, kale, and broccoli. This means that most of their nutrition must be outsourced, creating additional costs for the hospital, money that could be invested in medical treatment, training, and facilities.  

The Solution  

Chelimo Saina, a Kenyan national and co-founder of Shoe4Africa’s Children’s Hospital, owns 140 acres of farmland surrounded by another 140 acres of indigenous forest. A survivor of domestic violence herself, Chelimo launched her women’s farm in response to an encounter with a woman fleeing her own domestic situation in the village nearby Chelimo’s farm.  Chelimo launched her farm with the mission to provide opportunities for women to earn their own income and gain status in their village. When women own land in rural Kenya, they not only gain independence, but they also gain a voice.  

ISL and Shoe4Africa 

Through the inquiry-based IB curriculum, students will be working closely with the chief nutritionist at the hospital in Kenya, nurses and families to understand malnutrition and the nutrients needed not only to fight malnutrition but prevent it. We will be communicating with the farmers to understand the land, farming practices, seasons, harvest, and obstacles. Through these discussions and independent research, we will learn what crops are a viable option, their yield and cost of production. In I&S students will study maps, understand biomes, conduct field research on soil health and grow their own vegetables to understand the growth cycle, maintenance, and benefits. Additionally, Students will study the novel, A Grain of Wheat, by Nguigi wa Thiong’o and discuss themes such as identity, language, colonization, independence, tribalism through in-depth analysis.  

Most importantly, we will be developing relationships with our partners and industry experts while providing students with the opportunity to create real change through their learning. Students will participate in a feedback cycle where they will pitch their Greenhouse designs to the company building them in Kenya and receive feedback for their final design pitch. Their second design pitch will determine which design will be built in Kenya and our own smaller prototype here on the ISL campus. This process will allow students to develop their understanding of corporate social responsibility, networking, communication, and persuasive marketing techniques.  

What next:  

Please look out for the opportunity to participate in the parent book club, visits by guest lecturers, Kenyan cooking classes, and more. We are aware that this is a new initiative and with that comes challenges and changes, but we are always keen to hear from you and encourage questions, ideas, suggestions, and involvement from our parent community.