In June 2003, a team of volunteers, including students and staff from IT Tallaght, visited Mukuru slums to work in local primary schools to create a Street Festival and Carnival to mark the official opening of the newly constructed school. The volunteers worked with the schoolchildren and their teachers to create the Festival, which brought an amazing splash of colour, music, dance and art to the otherwise dismal landscape of the slums.
During the Festival, meetings took place with local teachers, parents and community leaders, to address the many issues facing children in the slums. The general consensus was that unless the children could continue into secondary school, much of the value of their primary education would be lost, and at the age of twelve or thirteen, most would simply fall back into the continuous spiral of poverty and destitution into which they were born.
Plans for a scholarship programme were drawn up, and the name ‘Harambee’ was adopted. This is the Kiswahili term for “working together for the common good” or Meitheal in Irish, and it was on this basic principle that the Harambee Scholarship Fund was founded.