The Centre for Urban Mission started the Schools of Hope (SoH) model of youth empowerment in 2005. The first SoH was set up in partnership with St Jerome Church in Kibera and initially, it was known as a Homework club because school going children would use the church hall to do their homework and evening study. The schools of Hope were set up to address the issue of space in most of the households in Kibera. Most of the houses measure 10 by 10 and this is where the entire family of a mother, father and three children sit, cook their meals, eat and also sleep. SoH were also set up to deal with the lack of resources among school going children such as recommended text and revision books and adequate lighting. The school also provides a conducive environment for studying where children who are all likeminded sit quietly and study and do their homework together and sometimes with the help of a supervisor.
There are currently 7 active Schools of Hope in Kiambiu, Gituamba, Kawangware, Kangemi and 3 schools in Kibera. Initially when the schools were still referred to as homework clubs, the students met but only for study purposes and as the name suggest, to do their homework. The homework clubs have since then grown into places where not only the academic needs of the students are met but other needs as well. The schools offer life skills; they provide facilities for sports and the students also participate in art, music and drama. These activities are carried out over the holidays when the schools are closed. The Schools of Hope are run by supervisors who work on voluntary basis. They ensure the safety and well being of the students in the school especially because they meet in the evening after school is over. Supervisors also ensure that the resources availed to facilitate this activity are properly utilized and are not vandalized.
Going forward, the Youth Development Program is planning to start another School of Hope preferably in Mukuru Informal settlement. The programme has also set up a Youth Resource Centre in Kiambiu and are distributing sanitary towels to girls in these Schools of Hope to help them stay in school during that time of the month and also to free them from using unorthodox methods in order to get sanitary towels. The Centre for Urban Mission appreciates all its supporters through whom Schools of Hope have continued to function and hundreds of children have the chance to improve their academic performance thus increasing their opportunities in life.