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.
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.

Feb 25, 2013

1,000 Books for Hope - x 14

Nobelity Project volunteer team sorting books
Nobelity Project volunteer team sorting books

The success of our original 1000 Books for Hope campaign at Mahiga Hope High School inspired us this past year to expand the program to a dozen more of our partner schools in Kenya. As with the first book drive, we invited our supporters to do something special. Instead of donating old books they didn't want or like, we asked for their favorite books, in new or gently used condition, and whenever possible, with a personal note inside about the book and the donor.

By the the fall of 2012 we'd collected 14,000 great books from individuals, families, partner schools (let's hear it for the third grade class at the Trinity School in Austin!) and from libraries as well. A giant volunteer day at the warehouse of Word of Mouth catering in Austin sorted the books according to ages and subjects for 12 partner libraries in Kenya. It was a lot of work and a ton of fun, but by the end of the day, we had the books packed, labelled and loaded onto ten shipping pallets, enough to fill a shipping container.

The following day, our U.S. shipping parnter Ceva logistics had the books ready for a U.S. customs pre-shipping inspection, and within weeks the container of books was on a ship headed through the Gulf of Mexico, across the Atlantic, through the Mediterranean Sea and the Suez Canal, and past all those Somali pirates who apparently don't know what makes for a truly precious cargo. 

Last week, our great Kenyan shipping partner Freight Logix cleared the entire load through Kenyan customs without delay and brought them to Nairobi where the pallets were separated for delivery to the indiidual schools. We'll have photos of these libraries after our June working trip to Kenya, but in the meantime, the books (and some first class metal library shelves) will find great use by students of all ages at Irbaan Primary, Arambe Secondary and Jobe Polytechnic College, Kabiruini Girls Secondary, Daaba Primary, Mahiga Primary and Mahiga Hope High School, Mogaka Primary, Mutaki Primary, Kiguru Primary, Amboni Primary and Simbara Secondary (the Joe Gracey Library), Bondeni Primary and Muthuini Primary. 

The largest single group - 2 full pallets of 50 boxes of books weighing 2,500 pounds - are now in storage in Maai Mahiu with our friends CTC/Comfort the Children, and will be the first books at the new CTC Knowledge and Resource Center, a very large library and computer center that will be the first library serving the community and many schools.

Thanks to everyone who donated books (including Half Price Books who donated and boxed a 1,000 great kids books for us), to everyone who contributed funds for shipping and shelving, and to all our partners along the way. We have more schools and more kids clamoring for good books, and especially for quality Kenya-certified textbooks at every grade level from 1 to 12. Your support makes all the difference.

Where there are books, there is hope.

The Joe Gracey Library and Music Lab
The Joe Gracey Library and Music Lab
Jan 31, 2013

First Graduating Class at Mahiga Hope HIgh!

Christy Pipkin and Margaret!
Christy Pipkin and Margaret!

It's been a little over four years since I celebrated a new water system with the students and families of Mahiga Primary School. Four years since learning that the graduating 8th grade students at Mahiga Primary had no high school to attend. Four years since the community asked me and The Nobelity Project to help them realize a very big dream.

Four years later, the students of the first Senior class at Mahiga Hope High School have just completed their high school educations. I think that's worth celebrating; worth extending our thanks to everyone who's supported the effort, and worth congratulating all the students who have worked so hard.

And still the school moves forward. Already classes for the new year are beginning. As usual, enrollment has grown. The Kenyan Education District has provided two more teachers which is a big step. But there is much left to be done. A growing school has a growing need for textbooks, and the school could use a little help in purchasing those. 

Also, our 1000 Books for Hope campaign - round II - was a great success. We now have 13,000 books - fiction and nonfiction for all ages - headed on an ocean container to Kenya for a dozen school libraries. Many of these books are going to Mahiga, which means we also need bookshelves to hold them.

This is a big year for Global education intiatives. The growing movement for universal primary education is making progress around the world, and the story of Mahiga Hope High School is adding to the momentum for Universal Secondary Education. We hope you can support our work at Mahiga, and elsewhere, through continuing donations, and by purchasing the dvd and the book that tells the story. Building Hope - the story of Mahiga Hope High School is now available. You can learn more at www.nobelity.org.

And thanks again for your support through Global Giving!

Mahiga girls with our friend Mary
Mahiga girls with our friend Mary
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