Sr Mary in Mukuru

Sr Mary in Mukuru

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Sr Mary takes on Mukuru project (1985)


In 1985 there were no schools in Mukuru, a slum, or shanty town, of half a million residents, in Nairobi, Kenya. Nothing could be done about the problem, because there were no government funds available. When a deputation from Mukuru met Sr Mary Killeen, she said to them "build me a hut and I will teach your children." She advised them to request that the City Council provide the site, which it did. So they built a corrugated hut and, in it, Sr Mary, with Fr Manuel Gordejuila, offered education to the slum children and the beginnings of community development. The initiative was called Mukuru Promotion Centre and it grew and grew, so that within 10 years over 7,000 children were accommodated in several separate schools, together with multiple other projects, covering health care, skills training and community development.

Mukuru Promotion Centre video (2011):


Trnava University, Slovakia, conferred an honoray doctorate on Sr Mary Killeen for her work in Mukuru (1997).

The Primary Schools:
  • Mukuru Kaiyaba;
  • Ruben Centre, Mukuru Kwa Ruben, now run by the Irish Christian Brothers (Australian Province);
  • St. Elizabeth's, Lunga Lunga;
  • Our Lady of Nazareth, Kwa Njenga, now run by the Marianist Brothers;
  • St. Catherine's;
  • Bakhita Primary School.
Other projects:
  • Skills Training: masony, carpentry, plumbing, art, craft, dressmaking, knitting, hairdressing, beauty, cookery, catering, hygiene, vegetable growing, rabbit rearing;
  • School for disadvantaged children;
  • Business training;
  • Secondary education;
  • Health clinics;
  • Social work department;
  • Street children rehabilitation;
  • Half-way house shelter;
  • Suport group for HIV/AIDS;
Videos on this site show the wonderful progress that has been achieved since Sr Mary started this work in 1985. Much remains to be done.

Social Workers attached to Schools:


“With an estimated 400,000 residents, the cardboard-and-tin slum of Mukuru is the second largest slum in Nairobi, but one of its poorest. Like all shantytowns, it is densely populated with inadequate sanitation and water services. It is prone to fires and flooding -- 30 people drowned last year when a flash-flood caused by heavy rains swept their shacks away.”

(Paul O’Callaghan, Irish Independent, Nov 2012: Note: the population of Mukuru is now about 700,000)

The Right to Stay (2014 - Slum-dwellers go to court for Security of Tenure) :



Niall Mellon Trust rebuilding of St Catherine's, 2013:-

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