Yesterday afternoon, on my last day in Nairobi, I visited Nairobits. The seed for NairoBits was planted back in 1999, when Emer Beamer (one of the organizers of Makers Faire Africa) and Hester Ezra discussed their aspirations to start up a webdesign school in Nairobi for disadvantaged young people coming from Nairobi’s slums. It is located in an Art Center in the industrial area of Nairobi. When you walk in, a lively spirit welcomes you …
Nairobits vision is to envisage African youth making positive contributions towards a balanced society through creative and innovative use of multi media technology.
Their mission is to to promote positive change in the lifestyles of less privileged African youth by equipping them with multimedia skills and promoting cross-cultural exchange.
NairoBits upholds the following values:
- Mutual respect without discrimination on account of race, ethnic background, gender or religious persuasion,
- Cross-cultural appreciation/interaction,
- Creativity and
- Quality electronic equality (e-quality)
Mark Kamau, whom I interviewed (see below), was born in the slums of Huruma. He has been living there for almost 20 years when he heard in the year 2000 about Nairobits. He participated in the very first computer class Nairobits ever held – and stuck with them since then. For Mark this was a life changing experience. Today he is working as a trainer for Nairobits. In the last 10 years he enabled his entire family to get out of the slums, he bought a house for his mother, and he is dreaming to start a international Bachelor program soon.
His message for young Africans: “There is always hope!”
The following interview is a very personal and emotional view on Nairobits and its first 10 years!
Hopefully there are many more to come …