ElMaMa Kindergarten

ElMaMa Kindergarten

The kindergarten in Watamu, Kenya, originally founded in 2020.

  1. The founding story
  2. Growth over the years
  3. Current state

ElMaMa kindergarten in Watamu, Kilifi county, Kenya was founded in 2020 by AdettaElisabeth’, Manuela, Martha, and Danson.

The founding story

Foundation Laying foundations for the ElMaMa kindergarten in 2020.

Adetta met Danson on a kite-surfing trip to Kenya in spring of 2020. After a 40 year career as a teacher, Danson was a head-teacher at a local school at this time but he always held a dream: A kindergarten for the children in Watamu. Danson noted that many of the kids that came to his school were ill-prepared. Many of their parents had to work long hours and some of them were orphans altogether, so they did not get any preparation and often had deficits even in basic skills such as dressing themselves or speaking at an age-appropriate level.

Main Building Main school building in 2024, housing classes for the kindergarteners, pre-schoolers and first graders.

After learning about the circumstances, Adetta, Manu, and Martha decided to step up and offered financial and practical help to organize the construction of the original kindergarten building on a plot of Danson’s land. The land had been gifted to him by his grandmother Esther, a retired kindergarten teacher, under the condition that he would build a kindergarten for Watamu on it one day.

In the classroom

Growth over the years

Kitchen Building Kitchen building with dining hall, nearly completed in 2024.

After initial delays and setbacks of the opening date due to Covid, the kindergarten eventually opened its doors in January 2021, initially serving a class of 12 children. The project rapidly expanded due to major demand by the community. From the getgo, the kindergarten provided food for the children and in 2023 a dedicated kitchen building and dining hall was added with a proper oven and installations to provide high-quality food, increase safety, and energy efficiency of cooking. This is a critical step towards making our project more sustainable as firewood is becoming and increasingly scarce comodity in Kenya and environmental protection is fundamental to our mission.

Kitchen Building inside Finishing the dining hall’s interior.

Current state

Class of 2024 Pre-schoolers in front of the classroom, together with teachers Gladys and Priscilla.

After further expansions, our kindergarten hosts a first-grade class for the first time in 2024. With that, we are currently teaching 59 children and our kindergarten has become a valuable institution to the community in Watamu.

In the classroom, contd.

We currently employ three full-time teachers that take care for our kids’ education and emotional wellbeing. Our chef, Mary further provides daily breakfast and lunch for all of our children.

Singing together