Born and raised in Kibera, Esther recognized many children in the community lacked the support they needed to grow up healthy and strong. That experience impacted her, and she decided early on that she wanted to help address the need for quality early childhood care. After completing high school, she went to college to become an early childhood development (ECD) teacher. Now, she has nearly 20 years of experience in childcare.
“This has been a calling of mine since I was a small child, and it motivates me every day to provide the best care possible for these children,” Esther said.
One of the most important phases of development in an individual’s life is between birth and five years of age. This is the phase that ECD teachers like Esther support.
They provide children with nutritious meals throughout the day and engage them in play-based activities to stimulate their cognitive development and large and fine motor skills.
A Comprehensive Approach to Child Development
Though she started her career in 2003, Esther didn’t connect with CFK Africa until 2019 while working at an ECD center in Kibera.
“CFK had been conducting trainings around Kibera, and my center began benefiting from those,” Esther said. “I’ve learned more about child development through the trainings. For example, I can now tell you that there are five domains of child development: physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and language.”
Esther’s center alone employs seven ECD teachers who care for more than 100 children from 0 to 6 years old. Many of the children’s parents work long hours in the nearby estates to provide for their families, so Esther and her colleagues keep the center open from 6 AM to 6 PM six days a week. Every day, they do much more than simply supervise and feed the children. They provide a safe space for them, make them feel at home, and ensure they are reaching critical developmental milestones.
“Through the teaching we have gotten through CFK, we learned that it is important to give children a warm welcome, so that is how we start each day,” Esther said. “We appreciate them and make them feel loved. Then we feed them, play with them, and give them time to sleep throughout the day. Because CFK has helped us understand the different stages of development, we can really see how the children are progressing. I love to see these children grow and be healthy.”
A Commitment to Community Service
While Esther has three children of her own, she enjoys offering her care to others in need. With nearly two decades of service in childcare, she has impacted the lives of hundreds of children, some of whom are now in university or involved in community service in Kibera. Her commitment to community service has also inspired one of her sons, who enjoys volunteering at the ECD center during his school breaks.
“The first children I took care of are grown up now,” Esther shared with a smile as she reflected on her career. “I made them grow, and they appreciate me. I have stayed in touch with quite a few of the children I have taken care of. Some are studying community development, some work nearby and have started giving back to the community, and some volunteer in the community.”
Learn more about our nutrition program and discover what a day in the life of one of our Community Health Workers looks like.