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!
Schools to the Sea is an educational awareness programme run by Buccaneers Dive Centre which was set up in order to enhance environmental awareness of marine conservation and environmental issues for the various communities in and around the Mombasa coastline. GVI has been involved with Sea for Schools for the past year, run from the Voyager Hotel, Nyali. The programme involves children from schools who would ordinarily be unable to have access to marine parks, aiding the development of their environmental awareness.
Olives Rehabilitation Centre was the latest school to participate in the Sea for Schools programme, involving Standard 7. The programme is a one day activity which begins with the students undergoing a half hour induction of what the day will entail, at the Voyager Hotel. The students are then taught how to use the snorkeling equipment correctly within the confinements of the Voyager swimming pool. As none of the participating students had ever used any form of snorkeling equipment, they struggled with using them initially, and could not master the ability to breathe through the snorkel under the water, as this is a completely alien experience for them. However with practice the students gained their confidence and were able to use the equipment effectively.
Following this the students are then provided with lunch (burgers and chips) which becomes one of the high lights of the day as most of these children know of this meal but have never had the opportunity to enjoy such food items. The Voyager provides both use of the pool whilst training the students, and the provision of lunch.
After lunch Buccaneers carry out a 45 minute presentation detailing information of the marine ecosystems, biodiversity and environmental issues and conservation. These include conscientious waste management practices, over fishing and the importance of the different marine species (both flora and fauna) in maintaining a healthy and functional ecosystem. The students learn a great deal from the presentation generating a wealth of questions ranging from the diet of marine species to the function of coral reefs.
The final activity of the programme is taking a glass bottom boat out to the reef, which is provided by Buccaneers. This allows the children to have direct access to the marine life and the reef, and are able to observe the marine ecosystem directly. Following this the students are then able to snorkel with the assistance of life jackets and ample supervision (GVI volunteers, and trained Buccaneer Dive Masters), to experience accouter the marine life.
Environmental conservation is paramount to ensuring the long term sustainability of the fragile costal marine ecosystem which makes up the Mombasa coastline. By teaching the younger generations to engage with their environment in a conscientious and environmentally sound manner, the marine ecosystems have a greater chance of long term survival. The younger generations are a key influence on the future of the coastline, and the importance of social and environmental interaction on future sustainability.
GVI are currently working towards ensuring that Sea for Schools becomes a more regular activity resulting in more in-depth knowledge of the environment and also giving them an opportunity to learn and experience things which would otherwise be unattainable for them.
Throughout term breaks, the GVI Mombasa team provides support to our local partners to ensure students are active and supervised while school is closed. The students work so hard throughout the school term, so holiday periods are a great opportunity to have some fun and indulge in some trips.
Around 80 students of varying ages turned up each day for the holiday programme run by GVI and Precious Vision .We were able to take 30 children at a time on different outings to ensure that all the children got a chance to go. The first activity involved a trip to a local botanical and zoological park - Haller Park. The children spent a couple of hours walking through the park with a local guide who gave them information about the animals and the ecosystems as they went around. The animals that they got to see include hippos, crocodiles, antelope and snakes. But, the main attraction was definitely the feeding of the giraffes! The volunteers were on hand to help the children overcome their nerves about feeding the animals from their hands. By the end of the trip all of the students had conquered their fear and managed to feed a giraffe, (even if there was a lot of screaming!) Over the next few days we had outings to the beach and the smaller children got to go to the butterfly farm – the highlight being a play area consisting of swings and slides.
The highlight for the older students was The Mombasa Agricultural Show. This takes place yearly in the month of August at the Mombasa Show Ground in Nyali and is always visited by the president. There were hundreds of tents and stalls, most of the government departments had a stand showing how they have evolved over the years. One of the main attractions that the children loved was the “culture tent “displaying all the different traditional artifacts tribes make for varying celebrations and lifestyles. The students also got to sample “western” games such as video arcades and basketball games, and a (not so politically correct) “freak show” featuring “The shortest women in the world” a “Mermaid” and a “floating head” (a man under a table with his head sticking out).
One of the great things about the holiday program supported by GVI volunteers is that it exposes the students from slum areas to activities they would likely not otherwise experience. It is rather ironic that in a country so rich in wildlife, that most people living in a slum will never experience a safari park due to financial restraints. GVI volunteers taking students to trips such as Haller Park provides a wonderful opportunity to give the kids a safari experience or a cultural experience they would not otherwise be able to enjoy.
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