A few years ago, these children we work with in Mombasa would never have picked up a book to read it for fun. It isn’t something that happens often in Kenya and so it isn’t encouraged. One of our GVI goals is to improve literacy rates in order to give these children a chance to succeed.
The best way we found to do this is with education and teaching literacy through story. Because of generous donations from around the world we have books to support our One to One and Group Reading initiatives which foster the love of reading. Today, while observing a Group Reading lesson I was able to see how much of a difference these two programs are making. Our new volunteers, Sophie and Emma, on their second day teaching read stories aloud for their Standard 5 class at Olives. While reading ‘Horton Hears a Who’ by Dr. Seuss, they noticed their time was up and stopped (well tried to stop) reading. The whole class was in protest! “More, Madam! Please!” “Just one more page!” “The bell hasn’t rung yet, we can keep going!” But sadly, the bell then did actually ring and the class had to end. Both Sophie and Emma promised they would continue the story tomorrow and find out if Horton found his Who. But, ‘next time’ wasn’t soon enough as the kids were out reading books with them on their break time. When the break was nearing the end, Madam Sophie tried to collect the books and was met with some more friendly protest! When she finally had them all the children and her laughed as they were trying to get them back as if playing keep-away. Olives students enjoy reading time. It really was a wonderful moment to witness knowing how far these kids have come. It’s so touching to know that all of this is possible because of volunteers who spend their time teaching these children and from those willing to donate books or money to support these children they don’t even know. Just wonderful.
Thank you for your support
Monika Stahlstrom - Education Officer
I wanted to take this report to update you on how donations for this project have been funding the ongoing feeding programme at Nyota Ing’arayo Primary School (Precious Vision Care Centre). It covers food purchases, transport to the market, cooking materials (sawdust, pots, utensils) and monthly wages for two cooks to provide lunch to 225 children, Monday to Friday throughout the school term and to around 100 students throughout holiday programmes.
For the majority of children at Nyota (Precious Vision) there is no breakfast at home before they travel to school. Their walk to school can often be long and the weather incredibly warm. The school day for children in Kenya starts at around 7am and ends at 5pm. Without their daily nutritious lunch we could almost guarantee that our number of approximately 225 students would drastically decrease. Prior to the initiation of the feeding programme in 2010 the children had to walk home at lunchtime in order to receive a meal, however it was not always possible for their families to provide this, so inevitably many children would not return to school for their afternoon lessons.
Not only does the feeding programme guarantee the children staying at school for the full day and receiving the education they deserve, but it also increases their performance during lessons. GVI ensure that the meals provided are of a substantial size and contain as many nutrients as possible. A typical Kenyan diet consists of heavy foods which fill people up, but are not of much nutritional benefit. The meals the children receive at Nyota (Precious Vision) always contain either beans or pojo (green grams) which provide them with much needed protein as well as either rice or ugali which help them to feel full throughout the day.
For the poorest of the students at Nyota (Precious Vision) their lunch at school may be their only meal of the day, so it remains just as vital a part of the GVI CT donations. Thanks to the regular donations from the individuals mentioned above we are able to keep the feeding programme going until July 2013. The children continue to benefit with improved health, fewer absentee days and improved academic results. The GVI Mombasa team and Nyota (Precious Vision) management are currently seeking donors to support this programme beyond the July 2013 school year.
Year-round GVI supports the Nyota Ing’arayo or Shining Star School in the Shauri Yako slums on the North edge of Mombasa. During school holidays, as slums are not great places for children to spend much free time, GVI organises a ‘holiday programme’. Holiday programmes include much one-on-one reading, colouring, playing games with the children and sometimes some swimming lessons and swimming fun. Last April, with enthusiastic sports focussed volunteers, we managed to organise a full-fledged sports day.
The sports day was without a doubt the highlight of everyone’s week. During a full day of sports activities students were divided into four teams, with a mix of grades and ages to keep the teams even. Each team was assigned a GVI volunteer as a team captain.
The day started with sprints. Students of similar ages competed against each–other, we continued with a game of captain ball and a long-jump competition. Then, there was a circuit relay, which created lots of excitement and fun for the children; they had to duck under a desk, skip 20 times, jump over tires and last but not least, eat a mandazi – a local triangular fried bread type snack – as fast as they could before running back to their team. Both kids and volunteers loved this. Next up were shot–puts and eventually a game of tug of war, first across the teams and then volunteers plus local teachers versus students. Everyone had a great day.
Sports very much give children from the Shauri Yako slums the opportunity to have some active fun during their holidays, and broaden their skill set and experience beyond playing football with a ball made out of elastic bands and plastic bags. Throughout the years donations of sports equipment have enabled us to introduce children to very different sports like cricket and tag rugby normally only played in more well off societies in Kenya. Sports for these children very much illustrates the importance of working as a team towards common goals, promoting health, strength, endurance, discipline, tolerance and sharing.
As a Nyota Ing’arayo primary school teacher put it - “we are finally teaching the mind and the heart “
2013 is a significant year for Nyota Ing’arayo School . In January one of Nyota dreams is starting to become a reality as the school now as a Standard 8 this has been made possible thanks to the dedicated staff team and GVI donations supported by GVI Charitable Trust. Extra classes have been built over the last two years, meaning the school has the space to retain Standard 8 (the final year of primary school education in Kenya).
In January along with the help of Tom 0.Munyaisa GVI Education Officer the Standard 8 students have been collecting the required registration documents need to register for the Kenyan Certificate of Primary Education examination in November i.e. Birth Certificates and photographs Lack of formal identification is a common barrier to students in slum schools being formally registered for certification and without the assistance of GVI and the school leaders it would have been impossible for the students to gather these documents
The KCPE’s is paramount in enabling children to further their education and enhance their future prospects. If the students manage to achieve results within the top 10% of the country they are frequently offered a scholarship to a local high school. Even children who don’t achieve this will have a greater chance of successfully securing employment, as a KCPE certificate is a key requirement requested by employers upon application. This includes basic jobs such as shop assistants and hotel catering.
The fact that the current students finally have the opportunity to sit their KCPE examinations is significant step for Nyota Ing’arayo. The school now as the opportunity to provide the students with a full Primary education from Standard 1 to Standard 8. This has been achieved with the help of GVI, and the dedication of current and past volunteer’s donations which have enabled classrooms to be built and the provision of educational resources.
We first want to thank you, our supports for all your help in 2012. We hope you are all having a happy holidays!
In August 2012 GVI ended its three year partnership with Jane Wangoi, the founder of Precious Vision Centre. Following this, a group of parents of the current students approached GVI asking if they would continue to assist the running of the school to ensure that the 250 students could still attend. If the school was to close, there would be limited scope for students from their disadvantaged backgrounds to access education.
GVI helped form a committee which consisted of parents, teachers and local business personnel and had a meeting with the local District Officer providing them with the relevant information on how to register the school. The first step stated was that the name of the school would have to be changed. The committee decided that the naming of the school should be a decision made amongst the student themselves.
Children from Standard 4 upwards were invited along to take part in a democratic election to decide upon the new name of the school. The Kenyan teachers together with GVI volunteers also participated in the name change. After a preliminary discussion the group opted for a Swahili name as opposed to an English one. Following an in depth debate, two names were selected from numerous suggestions, Imara Daima (‘stand firm forever’) and Nyota Ing’arao (Shining Star’) were shortlisted. After a unanimous vote the name Nyota Ing’arao was selected to be the name of the school.
Also, this month the standard seven pupils of Nyota Ing’arao undertook mock KCPE examinations alongside pupils from the neighbouring school ‘Jocaham Academy’. The KCPE (Kenyan Certificate of Primary Education) is sat by pupils at the end of Standard 8. Passing the KCPE’s is crucial to enable children to further their education and enhance their future prospects. If the students manage to achieve results within the top 10% of the country they are frequently offered a scholarship to a local high school. Even children who don’t achieve this will have a greater chance of successfully securing employment, as a KCPE certificate is a key requirement requested by employers upon application. Theis includes basic jobs such as shop assistants and hotel catering.
Another method of school integration which has happened this month is the use of sport in enhancing school relationships and social cohesion. Nyota Ing’garao and Olives Rehabilitation Centre have undertaken two friendly football matches. In addition to building self confidence and promoting both physical and mental well being, sport can be crucial in creating social cohesion. Participating in teams sports helps forging a unified identity, and can provide an opportunity to build new relationships.
Thank you again for your support for this project in Mombasa, we hope to see you again in 2013!
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GVI Charitable Trust Manager