Africa SOMA Inc.

Africa SOMA sees education as a central tool in improving the lives of all people. In Kenya, progress has been made in expanding access to education, however large hurdles remain: quality is often low, secondary schools are prohibitively expensive, and often the most vulnerable groups, such as Maasai pastoralists, continue to be unable to access even primary education. Improving participation in schooling requires creative solutions that lower barriers to entry and improve the learning environment. Our programs aspire to contribute to such creative solutions. We work in partnership with local organizations and community members and promote community investment and involvement in all of our p...
Aug 19, 2013

Elangata Wuas Library and Computer Lab continues to flourish!

Thanks to your generous donations the Elangata Wuas Library and Computer Lab is continuing to flourish. Not only are more and more children, youth and adults being drawn into the library to take computer classes and use the laptops, but this service is having a great impact upon the employability of many youth in the Elangata Wuas area. 

This June and July while Kenya's teachers were striking, students in Elangata Wuas flocked to the library to revise for their upcoming exams, making great use of the new revision books, computer lab space and Africa SOMA interns who offered free tutoring. For many of the students having this quiet, well equipped learning space available to them was a saving grace in the stressful period before their standardized exams. 

The computer lab classes have continued, attracting many adults and students who have never used a computer before. Isaac's patience and knowledge has been extremely useful as he offers classes focusing on a wide variety of aspects from basic computer use, to how to use Word, to navigating the internet. 

With an average monthly attendance of over 1000 community members, we have great confidence in the positive impact the Library and Computer Lab are having on Elangata Wuas' community. Whether it's using the revision books to study for exams, learning a marketable skill on one of the laptops you've helped provide, or simply catching up on the going ons of the world outside Elangata Wuas with the newspapers, the Library and Computer Lab is having a significant impact on the lives of Elangata Wuas residents. 

While the donations we have recieved thus far have allowed us to make the computer lab operational, we are still a bit short of our fundraising goal. The money still needed will go towards Issac's salary, allowing him to offer more computer classes and reduce their price, as profits from current computer classes are currently being used to pay his salary. As we continue to fundraise, we want to thank you for your ongoing support of our project. 

On behalf of the whole Africa SOMA Team and Elangata Wuas Community - Thank you!

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Aug 1, 2013

Microprojects pave the way for more personal scholarship donations

Damaris, one of Africa SOMA
Damaris, one of Africa SOMA's 2013 Scholars

In an effort to raise funds for Africa SOMA's 2013 Scholarship winners, we have begun creating individualized microprojects, under the umbrella of this Global Giving project, in order to highlight each individual student to potential donors. All the money raised directly through this project will be divided equally among our students however we wanted to give potential donors the chance to get to know our students on a more personal and individualized level. I encourage you to check out these related microprojects.

We have already had enormous success with fundriasing for Monica, one of our scholarship students, as she works towards her dream of becoming a doctor. Monica would like us to say "Thank you" to all of those donors that contributed to the great fundraising success of her microproject. We have great confidence in Monica and thank all our donors for helping provide the finances necessary for her to pursue this goal.

Currently Africa SOMA's has two summer interns, Brooke and Helen, working on the ground in the Elangata Wuas community. As volunteer teachers they have become very aware of the rewards and challenges the community's hardowrking students engage with on a daily basis. Our interns have been interviewing the 2013 scholarship winners about the impact Africa SOMA's scholarship has made on their lives, how their adjusting to high school as well as thier future plans and goals. Damaris, one of 2013's two female scholarship winners was recentlly interviewed regarding the impact her schoarship has had on her life. 

Again we would like to thank our donors for their support. Education has long been understood to be one of the most successful methods for increasing the social mobility, health, climate change resilience and empowerment of not only the youth that are educated but their communities who benefit from the ripple effect of education.

Thank you for choosing to support Africa SOMA in our work. We could not do it without you. 

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May 10, 2013

Computer Lab Continues to Blossom in the Rainy Season

The Library under a rainy season rainbow
The Library under a rainy season rainbow

Thanks to your contribution the computer lab is continues to thrive and expand. Issac, the computer lab manager has continued to offer classes to interested students on everything from computer basics to Microsoft Excel and Internet to basic DOS work. While some of the computer lab students are interested in understanding the simple basics of computer use, other students are learning how a computer functions from Issac. Teaching three computer classes a day, Issac makes sure to tailor the material and pace to each of his student's ability. "During the computer practicals, Issac gives us more time to do our [lesson]." a student of Issac's explained, "In other places, everything happens in a rush because the main interest of those other schools is mainly money and not the learning process of the student."

Since Kenya's school vacation most of Issac's students are between the ages of 18-35, but Issac is excited to start teaching more primary and high school students once classes resume. The computer lab has drawn the attention of a varied mix of young men and women both married and unmarried. Since youth employment is low in Kenya, computer skills are hugely in demand for entering the workforce and private entrepreneurship. "I have had a major difference in my life", one computer student explained to Africa SOMA, "If I get employed somewhere where they use the computer, I can use it. Before I attended the class, I didn't know anything about computers. This has also introduced me to the broader world of technology. Before I only knew about mobile [cell phone] technology".

The convenience of having access to computer lab for the rural community of Elangata Wuas is opening up the world of computers for many Elangata Wuas residents. "[The computer lab] is pretty near and I have seen also the way they teach students is interactive." one of Issac's newest students explained. Prior to the computer lab opening, community members wishing to use a computer would have to travel to Kajiado, an expensive hour long bus trip. Now that the computer lab is running community members can access these skills in a convenient, inexpensive manner.

While the computer lab may be up and running, our goal has not yet been met. The lab is still in need of some small items, such as usb keys, internet cables, headphones and a curtain to create a more private learning space. Issac's salary is still not fully covered although Africa SOMA is dedicated to fundraising to cover his salary until the computer lab is financially self sustaining. We look forward to continuing to share our project news with you and thank you again for your contribution to this project!

Computer Lab Teacher Issac works with his students
Computer Lab Teacher Issac works with his students

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