Nobelity Project

For the first time in history, humankind has the knowledge and ability to overcome challenges related to health, nutrition, water, education and other issues that stand in the way of a more peaceful and sustainable world. We believe that each of us truly can make a difference. We have the will, and we are the way.
Jul 29, 2013

An Amazing Day at Mahiga Hope High

Mahiga RainWater Court
Mahiga RainWater Court

The Nobelity Project Kenya Schools Tour of 2013 rocked! After visiting 10 of our partner schools and seeing new classrooms, libraries, water systems and more, we arrived at Mahiga Hope High School where your donation is still making a difference every day.

For me, coming back to Mahiga feels like coming home. It is were our work in Kenya began and where your support of this community has inspired not only hope, but has created a path to a better future for their children. Our days were spent working with staff & school administrators, and celebrating with parents & students, but every "thank you" we received we promised to bring back home to you.

During a visit with some donors and friends,  I was rushing across the school grounds, and glanced back over my shoulder to see not just a collection of buildings, but a school - bustling with activities, energy and pride.
Turk says "It all started with a tree" but in 5 years look at what it has become:

Highlights from 2013:
•School ranked 12th out of 24 in the region on national exams. For a new school that is a huge accomplishment!
•Science Labs are currently under expansion to accommodate for testing and improvement in scores
•Traditional music and dance teams swept competition awards
•Boys and girls sports teams advanced to regional finals
•Trade skills classes (sewing and crafts) teaching applicable skills have a waiting list. More sewing machines needed!
•Gardens are producing skilled agricultural students and food for the kitchens
•Largest incoming freshman class so far--the incentive of a high school education is improving the primary school scores as well
•And we are incredibly proud that we have graduates going onto college studies.

We could use some support for the expansion of the skills classes so these kids graduate with some earning capacity. And as always there are students whose families just cannot meet the fees for them to attend and textbooks are in short supply. Your donations through the Global Giving 1000 Voices for Hope campaign will go directly to these much needed programs.

What seemed a dream just a few years ago is now a living, breathing, productive and happy school. And as I walked out of the gates for the trip home I made sure to read the new school motto once again: "Hope shines forth and lights the world."

Sewing classes are a big hit (even with the boys)!
Sewing classes are a big hit (even with the boys)!
Proud of Purity-our first grad to go to college!
Proud of Purity-our first grad to go to college!
May 31, 2013

Catalysts for Change!

The Front Gate to Mahiga Hope High School
The Front Gate to Mahiga Hope High School

Almost ten years since Nobel Peace laureate Wangari Maathai first invited me to East Africa to plant trees with The Green Belt Movement, I am heading back to Kenya for what may be my 20th working trip. With our work in Kenyan schools accelerating the past few years, I'm looking back at what we've helped to make happen and also how our work has been a catalyst for so much great change.

At our home base of Mahiga, Mahiga Primary and Secondary now have almost 600 students enrolled in 14 grades, including two years of pre-school. The first class of high school seniors graduated in December and the school now has more and better teachers and grades theat improve each year. The high school alone has 8 classrooms, science labs, a library, computer lab, athletic facilities for boys and girls, multiple purified water systems, a kitchen that serves 150,000 meals a year and huge gardens that are planted and maintained by students as part of their course work. Acting on their own, the school is now building a big greenhouse that will provide even more food for the school. 

Mahiga is an inspiration for all who support increased access to education, and also for many other schoos in Kenya. Ten miles away, our partnership with the new and growing Simbara High School is also bearing fruit. Purified water, a library, music and computer lab, and a new science lab have now been joined by three new classrooms and a basketball court that will create the first league play for girls in the district. 

We've also helped build water systems and/or new libraries at many other schools in the area - Kiguru, Bondeni, Honi, Muthuini, Mogaka.. it's a long list. And our direct work at several very remote schools has played a key role in all kinds of additional work. At Irbaan Primary, two new purified rainwater systems will be completed in the coming days, providing water and lights for the girls dormitory, and for the kitchen, offices and library. Since my first visit to Irbaan, the little school on the edge of the Masai Mara Reserve has grown into a substantial multi-building campus. 

A ten hour drive to the north, Daaba Primary has grown from outdoor classrooms and a deep and dangerous open well into a beautiful campus of stone classrooms, kitchen and library and a purified, solar-powered well - all of it enabling girls in this dry and remote Turkana village to attend school for the first time.

There are too many stories to tell them all, too many pictures to show them all... but the big picture is that well-targeted investiments in education infrastructure working with great local partners is highly effective in bridging the gaps in global education. Your support has helped us to do great and effective work. And our support in these communities has helped them to find additional ways to overcome obstacles that once seemed high, and now seem like small steps towards a brighter future for their children, and for ours.

Let's keep it up!

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May 1, 2013

1000 Voices Still Singing

Mahiga girls raise their voices
Mahiga girls raise their voices

In early June we’ll be returning to Kenya to check up on many of the 20 school projects supported by The Nobelity Project and our donors (like you). We’ll cover a few thousand kilometers on dusty bumpy roads but when we finally drive through the new gates of Mahiga Hope High School, it’s going to feel like coming home.

Mahiga is where The Nobelity Project was begun – our roots are planted there beneath the shade of thousands of new trees – and Mahiga is where our minds and our hearts constantly wander back.  This will be our first visit since our “pioneers” have graduated, so there will be many new faces. But in those faces we will see reflections of those that paved the way for them, just as in our faces they will see reflections of yours.

The school is on solid ground now, with good enrollment even while struggling to make ends meet. The education district is adding teachers as the population grows, but many parents have a hard time meeting the tuition requirements. While the school grows ever closer to full self-sufficiency, we continue to rely on our supporters and on the school’s staff to identify the critical needs – more textbooks, an additional teacher or two, and kids who make good grades while falling behind in tuition.

One of the projects we are anxious to see is a new greenhouse. We provided a small part of the funding for this commercial and educational project that we hope will provide some long-term health benefits and income for the school.  The gardens at the school already provide hundreds of pounds of greens and other fresh vegetables each month for the school kitchen. And of course we are always happy to watch the kids dive into the library books that we have been able to send from the US and to purchase in the country.

But one of the moments I most love when we visit is when the children sing. We call this campaign 1000 Voices for Hope because over 1000 people joined together to support this community in extending an education for these children after the 8th grade. Your voice has been heard, and these students and their families continue to sing their thanks, their voices rising up to the rafters of the Rainwater Court and echoing the promise ahead for every child.

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