Where football meets books: How a Kenyan organization is nurturing talent among slum children
By Janet Gathuki
Dennis Koko is a six-year-old boy. Born and raised in Nairobi’s Lenana area, Dennis is the second born in a family of three. With their home strategically located near the Brosis football club field, Dennis was inspired to engage in football games early in life. He would later become one of the beneficiaries of the Brosis organization and Brosis Library. Dennis has since gained dribbling and shooting skills from the football club. He is today one of the best scorers in the team and regularly uses the Brosis library.
According to Kennedy Oluoch, the founder and director of Brosis organization, Dennis is a very bright pupil academically. “Denis is not only good in football but also good at a good pupil academically. This is evident from the previous exams where he emerged position 2 out of 36 at BJC primary school,” says Kennedy.
Brosis organization, Kennedy explains, was founded to address the rising number of children in informal settlements who were exposed to school drop outs, drugs and petty crimes. The name Brosis is a unification of brothers and sisters as the organization serves both boys and girls. “We ensure that both boys and girls, especially those in the football club perform well in school and that their academic work is not compromised by their involvement in the football activities,” says Kennedy. This ensures that every year there are 100 percent transition to secondary school. Those children who are unable to join secondary school due to lack of funds, Kennedy links them up with other non-governmental organizations that offer scholarships.
The organization also involves the children with other activities like planning tours and travels for the kids to expose them to a different environments. The children also participate in tournaments with other children’s football clubs in the area while receiving mentorship and life skills training.
Todate, Brosis organization depends on well-wishers and sale of branded jerseys, mugs, sweaters and other products related to football to fund their projects. The income, however, is not enough to finance their operations. “We also lack enough space in the library as the children depend on the single-room library. This means that we can only allow a limited number of users in the library as we observe covid-19 regulations.