Africa SOMA is excited to introduce our new Kenyan Coordinator and Computer Lab Manager, Noah Sankale Pesi! Noah is currently doing his Bachelor of Business Administration at St. Paul's University by distance education. He is from Elangata Wuas, where the Library and Computer Lab is located, and has spent a lot of time in the library in the last couple of years. In an email Noah had this to say to the Africa SOMA team and supporters.
"Hi everyone. I am so glad to be part of Africa Soma team, I must begin by appreciating your tireless efforts in helping my community (Elangata-wuas). You have actually change lives of many pupils who did not have hopes of joining secondary schools and even instilling the culture of reading using the library to my community."
Africa SOMA is also excited to announce a new fundraising initative with Rough Giraffes, a non-profit social enterprise which sells graphic t-shirt's. This beautifully designed shirts make excellent gifts and are all printed on sweatshop free shirts. They can be purchased a the Rough Giraffe's website and will soon be available on the Africa SOMA Etsy fundraising shop "Saturday Soko".
Africa SOMA is sad to say goodbye to our wonderful computer lab instructor and Africa SOMA coordinator for the last year and half, Isaac Kakeni. The library and computer lab will not be the same without him, but we wish him the best as he moves on to new and exciting career opportunities in the NGO world and works to advance his education. As we search for a new computer lab manager for Africa SOMA, we know he will not be eay to replace. Thankfully one of our Board Member's Jennie Glassco, is on the ground in Elangata Wuas to facillitate filling the position of computer lab manager.
While saying goodbye to Isaac may be sad news for the library we are we excited to announce that electricity may soon be available in the Elangata Wuas region. While our library runs off solar power, our solar panels are only able to power a limited number of computers and don't allow for any additional power usage in the library. While we will continue to use solar panels to power our computers, electricty in the community will allow us to expand the libraries activities and potential as a rental space, and the librarians have hopes of buying a projector to use for community presentations.
As always, and especially as we move through this time of transition we would like to thank Africa SOMA's donors for their continued support. It is through your donations that the Elangata Wuas Library and Resource center is able to offer computer services to the Elangata Wuas community. From us as well as all the students and community members who make use of the computers to forward their schooling or business endeavors - Thank you.
Library programing is going strong at the Elangata Wuas Community Library and Resource Center! This April students from Good Shepard Primary, Elangata Wuas Primary and Emirishoi Primary squared off in a friendly debate. The debates were set up to immitate the style of Kenya's Parlimentary debates, giving students a good chance to feel what their members of parliment do on a regular basis.
All groups started strong, with eloquent oration being traded back and forth across the floor. Two students, Samuel from Good Shepard Primary and Challes from Emirshoi Primary were clear standouts. Depsite his small stature Samuel was verbal dynamite, quickly diminishing opponents. Challes on the other hand, articulated her points in a precise and clear manner, pointing out the holes in her opponents argument.
The debates were not without their spectators, as a large number of parents and community members turned out to watch the debates. The debates were such a success and so enjoyed by students and their teachers that another round will be held in the upcoming term, this time with a focus on science and math.
It is thanks to your donation that programming such as this can be held in the library. The computer lab community classes and pay-as-you go internet time help bring in an income to sustain the functioning of the library, allowing programing such as the Debate Club to continue. Thank you again for your donation and your contribution to the ongoing access to information and learning that the Elangata Wuas Community Library and Resource Center are able to provide.
Over the last months the computer lab has been used extensively by primary and secondary students as well as individuals from the community taking lessons in computer skills from our talented computer lab manager Isaac. However, there is a new group of computer lab beneficiaries we are just discovering: college and university students pursuing degrees through distance learning.
Noah comes to the library every day from Monday to Friday to study for his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. He uses the laptops in the computer lap to access online course materials, prepare and submit assignments, and do research.
It’s because of this facility that I was able to pursue my degree from St. Paul’s University by distance learning” says Noah. “Going to live in Nairobi while pursuing my studies would be very expensive, and so I am very happy to be able to work towards my degree while living at home”.
In response to the number of college and university students now using the library, we are looking into expanding our book collection to include appropriate research resources, and are planning to install additional research software, including offline Wikipedia, onto our laptops.
Thank you to all of our donors who have made it possible and affordable for students in Elangata Wuas to pursue higher education by providing and equipping this distance learning facility!
Thanks to your donation the computer lab in the Elangata Wuas Library and Resource Centre is continuing to grow. Isaac Kakeni, our enthusiastic computer lab manager continues to teach daily computer classes to a variety of community members in the area. Isaac has had numerous community members come in for basic typing lessons and is enjoying watching his students, young and old alike, flourish. Four Elangata Wuas youth, Ezekiel, Stanley, Milton, and Antony, have been working particularily hard with Isaac on more advanced computing topics. These young men see computer skills as a key part of increasing their employability and increasing their income potential.
Unfortunately, one of the computers recently suffered a malfunction and had to be fixed. Isaac was able to do this but this speaks to the computer lab's continued need for financial support. The size of Isaac's classes are restricted by the small number of computers available and losing one to a malfunction only reduced how many people were able to use the computers.
With the success of the computer lab, it is important to reflect on the limited access to computers the Elangata Wuas community had before the lab opened its doors. Prior to the computer lab's opening, any Elangata Wuas community members who wanted to use a computer or were interested in learning how to use one had to travel to the larger nearby community of Kajiado. This trip takes at least an hour by matatu (the local name for privately owned buses in the region) and costs about 1000 Kenyan Shillings (the equivalent of $12 in US currency) for the roundtrip. With such a significant barrier in terms of time and money, few people in the area were able to use computers. Now the lab is only a three minute walk from the centre of Elangata Wuas, a walk of five minutes or less from 2 of the 7 local elementary schools and the regions only high school. In a world growing more and more connected by the internet, we at Africa SOMA cannot thank you enough for helping in the move to make all the information of the internet available to the Elangata Wuas community.
If you are interested in recieving quarterly newsletters on all of Africa SOMA's projects beyond our work with the computer lab, please follow the link below!
On behalf of Africa SOMA and the Elangata Wuas Community, thank you again for your donation!
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