Dear friends and partners,
Once again it’s my pleasure to report that we are making good progress on the project since we changed focus.
The following has happened since our last reporting:-
Three Classes Being Built Already
We redrew the plans to a simple 9 class school with an administration block and kitchen at a cost of $ 470. These were approved by the Town Council and the Public Health Department at a cost of $348.
The redrawn plans ensured we would be able to have classes at a cost of $53000 instead of the initial plans that would have been $ 200,000 as per Bill of Quantities estimates, a quarter of what we initially planned with.
So far we have laid the foundations of three classes and completed the outer structure of one class up to roof level. (see pictures)
Total cost of the building part of the project so far has been approximately $1023, and includes digging up the foundation, laying the bricks, purchasing ballast 7 tonnes, sand 14 tonnes and 800 feet of stones and labour.
April 2014 Target
We have a target of April 30th to complete the super structures of the three classes and install windows and doors and complete the floors. And also begin the foundation of the kitchen and three other classes to be completed by end of August 2014.
Thanking You for Continued Support
I would like to thank you for your continued support in giving towards these projects. You are making a difference with every dollar given. At the same time I would like to encourage you to consider increasing your recurring giving by $ 20 to enable us receive disbursements monthly rather than bi-monthy for that is how long it has been taking for us to get to the disbursement limit of $200.
Also encourage friends and family to support the project to help us get to $588 a month for the building so we can have the classes standing by end of August 2014.
I want to thank you sincerely on behalf of the children and the Board of Acres of Mercy for your continued giving despite the many circumstances and all the things that clamor attention. Thank you for making Acres of Mercy and its work a key part of your life. We are honored and privileged to be part of such a difference making team.
Dear friends and partners,
Thank you for keeping the faith and walking this journey with us. Your support is encouraging. As promised during the last report we have been able to put together a revised strategy on focusing efforts on helping over 150 Children Stay in School through building better classrooms and strengthening our education program at Acres of Mercy.
As you may well know the students within our Education program are either orphans, children from single parent led families, children from families with absentee parents, children from homes with abusive parents, children exposed to families engaging in selling illicit brews, children from very poor families with incomes of less than 2 dollars a day, children from homes where fathers are absent. These children face different vulnerabilities and risks when they drop out of school and even while in school due to poverty. These include early pregnancy for girls increasing vulnerable single child mothers, risks of contracting HIV, increased cases of child labour, increase in the number of girl children engaged in sex work, increased cases of child molestation, engaging in harmful economic activities. Our program seeks to help our children avoid the above situations so they can have a better chance in succeeding in education and breaking from the vicious cycle of poverty and thus have better lives.
How does the Program Work?
The program carried out at Msingi Bora Learning Centre has three main components:-
Teacher Training and Capacity Building
Parent and Guardian Support
We believe that a holistic intervention program like this would greatly reduce children’s vulnerabilities and provide them with a firm foundation o which they can build better futures upon. This would enable breaking the vice that poverty has on poor families and vulnerable children. Our goal is 100% transitioning and starting life adults successfully. After three years the program will have reached a point of meeting 70% of its operation costs from its projects and services to other members of the community who can afford set fees. The program targets to enrol 40% of paying students.
We have obtained building plans and 3D rendering of the school. The Bill of Quantities has put the project at Ksh. 625,000 ($7352) monthly over the next two years. (see msingibora.blogspot.com) for more details,nformation and progress stories
How do we do this?
We must mobilize about 40 partners who can commit to saving $7 daily, the cost of a sandwich, to make it possible to give these children an education for their lifetime.
For us to do this we are calling on all friends and partners to make a commitment to give in this way and to form giving teams of freinds and families to make this vision a reality. (see pictures)
On 9th November 2013 parents and the local community will gather at Acres of Mercy in Nguluni for a fundraising event. Their target is to raise Ksh 100,000 ($1176) on this day.
Another supporting this event takes place on our Virtual Facebook Fundraiser for Kenyan Friends on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/events/583889798326600/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming)
So far friends, and the community have raised a total of Ksh 257000 ($3023) for the building project in cash and Over 150 feet of stone and 1 tonne of ballast in kind.
I would like to call on you to rally with us on this project and to help push it to the end. I will keep you posted on all events we are organizing and their results. We will put up a thermometer on our website at www.acresofmercy.org to help us track progress.
Ideas, suggestions and other input are welcome. Simply email on email@example.com or tweet #acresofmercy
Once again thank you and best of effort and great resolve as we embark on this great work of giving together.
"Lets Do it"
Dear Partners and friends,
Since the start of our project the time has never been ripe as it is now to talk about a few challenges that we have been facing. The key being inadequate physical infrstructure from whre we can provide quality education to our children.
We begun by providing food and this has been going on quite well with all our children now being fed through our school feeding program 98% of the time they are in school. This has been made possible through the collaborative partnership with the local sub-county administrative office.
The needs have since evolved and the governmnet requires us to have beetter infrastructure to better take care of the education and developmental needs of our students. Initially we had thought to exit them from the program because of lack of sopace but we knew doing this would mean most would never continue with their primary level education successfully due to the costs involved in taking children to public schools especially becuase of their guardians situation and the public perception of the children we have been stnading for.
Early in the year in April we had a visit by the District Quality Assurance Officer who adviced us to better our facilities if we were to be allowed to continue having the children within our programs. We had since started the process of obtaining architectural drwaings for our new school buildings that would have better learning and educational management facilities. This would help us truly have the children stay in School now and in transition as we hope to take them through our current Class 6 to Class 8. failure to have these facilities would mean dropouts from the education system for various reasons including economic contsrints of parents, not coping with change in teaching methods in public school system especially for children who have had reading and learning difficulties which we are currently remediating as opposed to public school systems which spend little or no time remediating challenges like these.
The facebook link below shows a picture of the plans we are working on
For the above reason I would like to inform you as partners our desire to redirect giving to the building project over the next two years and would like to as for more support in helping us raise our target. We would revise the project and targets this September to have one campaign for the sake of the keeping our children in school and helping them transition to high school for a better future. Help them Build a foundation on which they will build better lives and better futures for themselves. Away from the poverty cycle and risks facing them.
It is my hope that we will all join together in making this possible.
We would welcome suggestions and comments even as we plan for September Open Challenge. Ideas on events that you could hold either as individuals or groups to help us arise to meet this new challenge to keep our children in school.
After taking another chance we are seeing some change happening.
We have been working hard on the ground to ensure we can get better, sustained and higher returns on the project. In February we reported that we will plant corriander and tomatoes. We did plant the tomatoes but went one step further.
The following sre snapshots of the progress we have made so far:-
1. Electric Pump Repairs:- Towards the end of November 2012 the submersible pump used to irrigate the green house broke down due to a short circuit caused by water leaking into the wiring system. We managed to repair and rewire the system to house the switch in a place where it is not exposed to rain
The wiring also included an AVS switch that would regulate the electric current flows
2. Replanting Green house with capsicum: With the water pump sytsem in place we planted green pepper (capsicum) so that we would be able to get better returns over a shorter period of time. We also planted corriander in betwen the capsicum rows. This will ensure early returns to cover for costs early. Corriander is a high value crop and a bunch of 10 stems would sell for 30/=. Capsicum is also high value and a small sized piece would sell at a market price of 10/= a piece. We expect to have much more tthan small sizes when we begin to harvest in October.
The greenhouse has a capacity of 200 plants each capable of producing over a 100 fruit during the entire season
3. Increased Student participation: Our casual worker left work in December. This set us back almost three months. The positive result of this is that more students in the school have taken ownership of the project and are actively participating in its routine maintainance. This will also save us in terms of labour costs. 6 students have shown a keen interset in farming and this is a positive result for us
3. Agri skills development and mentorship among students: With increased student participation, there has been more organized passing of agronomy skills and record keeping to the students. This is equipping them with a resilient character. They are developing responsibility. Currently we have students being motivated to take up modern farming as serious livelihood option. One of the students keeps pushing for the rabbit project to start and this is great initiative and accountability.
We want to thank you for making this possible and encourage more recurrent donations so we can hit the $300 a month mark. The gains we are making with the students are worth the effort in keeping students motivated and passionate about school.
We are in the process of reassessing our termly assessments and performance to take into consideration students who might be academically weak but have shown great progress in out of class activities like the greenhouse management. We hope this strategy would keep such students eager to learn more in science or mathematics as we work on helping them transfer skills learnt in the project into the classroom.
We are however reworking our cashflows to harmonise so we can get into sustainability by the end of this season.
The progress was quickly halted by the town council pumping water intermittently for two weeks and shutting down our supply. The crops dried up in Mid November(pics)
We sunk our well deeper 48ft-71 ft. in an effort to get a more permanent source of water and to stop solely relying on the council water and rains.
This season we will take yet another chance to replant but with different crops.
We have purchased coriander seeds to plant in between the tomatoes.
This would increase our income as at the second month of planting instead of waiting till the fourth month.
We are also working to purchase rabbits to loan to students who can take care of them for two months before we sell them for food.
We thank your continued support to keep the children in school.
To all our friends with recurring donations; THANK YOU. Your unwavering support keeps hope alive here in Nguluni.
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