On May 23, 2016, chaos broke out in Kibera’s Olympic area after the police allegedly barred local youth were allegedly from participating in a peaceful demonstration to evict the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
Due to the number of demonstrators from the Olympic area and Kamukunji grounds, police had ben deployed in the region to avert any possible violence by the demonstrators.
Due to the riots, power was cut off, learning was disrupted and business operations were brought to a halt. Among the schools that were most affected were Olympic Primary School which is located near the Kamukunji grounds and Silver Springs Secondary School located near Olympic stage where the scales where worse.
“It was during the first period of our double Biology lesson that a canister of tear gas was thrown right at our classroom’s doorstep,” Willis Ouma Balaka a form four student from Silver Springs reported. Right outside the borders of the school, the residents of Kibera had lit a bonfire and in retaliation the police had dispersed those using tear gas.
The protesters had then dispersed and some had gone into the school to seek shelter. Silver Springs is one of the schools that Garden of Hope Foundation works with and Willis is one of the active students during our Monday sessions.
The area was quickly deserted as anti-riot police dispersed protesters and onlookers using teargas. Willis reported that there was tension and unrest in the school since morning but as soon as the tear gas canister was thrown into the school, the lessons for the day came to a close. “Some students threw stones over the fence out of anger. Most students left school immediately and those who were unable, went to the lower side of the school to escape the teargas,” he explained.
A brave and kind hearted Willis, realized that some female students might have been trapped inside the school compound which was now crowded with police who had come to apprehend the rioters who had come to hide therein. When he arrived in the school vicinity he found Belinda Amunga, a Form Two student unconscious on the ground within the school compound. He carried her and to the lower side of the school where first Aid was administered to her.
Hellen Anyango a student who had also fainted and not regained consciousness after some time, was taken to Ushirika Hospital by Willis and his friend Mohammed Azizo. Willis feels it is high time that the politicians sat and settled disputes amongst themselves since his education was disrupted that day and the fate of the other Mondays are unknown.
Willis is one of the students leaders trained by Garden of hope foundation is always active during the lessons. We are proud to raise leaders such as Willis.