Siloam

by Michel

A brief history

Siloam was created in 1992 by Stephen Munyolo, bishop with the Church Siloam Fellowship Ministry Academy. Witnessing the members of his church die, leaving orphans, Stephen decided to shelter them. Because of their very young age, Stephen first created a nursery school and a kindergarten. But then, with no money to send the grown babies to Elementary School, he created one in 1993, so the children could get an education at a very low price. As the years passed, he added new classes. Then in 2007, he opened a Secondary School (or High School). Siloam is then both an orphanage and a school.

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The facilities

Located in the slum of Kibera, the second largest in the world, with one million people leaving there, in conditions of extreme poverty, crime and insalubrity, Siloam is made up of:

Two dormitories newly built;
One Kindergarten and one Elementary School (10 classrooms, one office and one teacher room);
One Secondary School, located outside of Siloam (3 classrooms and 1 office);
One kitchen and one storeroom.
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The founders : Stephen and Esther
Stephen is helped by his wife Esther in managing the orphanage. Esther is also in charge of the Kindergarten. Stephen, besides being a bishop is also a stoneworker. Until the recent troubles following the controversial presidential election, he was regularly working earning a decent wage of which he gave 80% to the Siloam.

Stephen and Esther have a family of their own too (two children – a daughter, now adult, and a teenage boy living with his uncle in their hometown), but their generosity and goodness make them stay with the orphans at Siloam. Since most of these orphans were very young on their arrival, Stephen and Esther raised them as their own children, providing for everything they could: food, clothing, education and love.

Discipline is also part of the children education. My interactions with the children have me convinced that they are very well educated, very nice and non-aggressive, contrary to what one could imagine due to the harsh conditions of their upbringing.
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The orphans
Fifty orphans live in the orphanage: 32 boys and 12 girls, aged 3 to 20. Most of them have lost both parents. Six have only their mother left, who cannot provide for their children after their husband’s death.

In January 2008, thanks to the volunteers from Australia, all children got tested for HIV. Luckily, they were all HIV negative !! Statistically, 15% of them should have been infected.

The students

356 children (among them 42 orphans) are taking classes at the Elementary School in Siloam. Another twenty are at the Secondary School (among them 6 orphans). The Headmaster of the Secondary School expects fifty more students in the weeks to come. All children are coming from Kibera. In addition to being educated, attending school allow these children to be fed at lunch time, as they benefit from the Feed The Children program