Thanks to the great support from all directions, The Nobelity Project has been able to expand our Kenyan School partnerships to 25+ schools. A quick round-up of some 2014 construction projects include 7 new free-standing preschools at Konyit Primary, Kiguru Primary, Laburra Primary, Mugaka Primary, Bondeni Primary, and also at Amboni and remote Daaba Primary - the final two being under construction now.
In July, we also inspected newly finished classrooms and large classroom blocks at Konyit Primary, Kamiruri Primary, Laburra Secondary and more.
While the goal of these reports is generally to focus on one or two inspiring personal stories, it's also important to remember the scale of our school partnership work, which has extended to schools with over 10,000 students taking advantage of new classrooms, science labs, libraries and clean water systems funded through The Nobelity Project's Kenya Schools Fund.
Our most ambitious single project this year is the ground-up rebuilding of Konyit Primary, a massive infrastructure project that is well over 50% complete. When finished in early 2015, the new facilities at Konyit will include a 3-grade preschool, 8 modern primary classes, a new kitchen and purified rainwater collection system, and the remodeling of five older classrooms into a dining hall, office, computer lab and public library.
Thanks for your help in our work towards Eduction or All. We couldn't do it without you. And congratulations to one of our first Mahiga Hope High Graduates, George Abrahams, who is now a full-time student in the Journalism Department at United States International University in Nairobi, and a stand-out player on the University's great basketball team. Keep up the great work George!
This year The Nobelity Project is launching a preschool construction initiative based on a new affordable and replicable 2-classroom preschool design from Turk Pipkin and architect Greg Elsner. In addition to our funding from Global Giving donors, we had four preschool sponsors at our annual gala in February, and three of those are already under construction.
Even in the most remote locatons where we work, our Kenyan partnerschools are committed to early eduction. I'm always impressed when I see four- and five-year-old Kenya kids reciting the English alphabet and working on their numbers. With the education system's resources focused on Primary, the ECD classrooms are often in sub-standard condition - mud-floors, dark and cold drafts coming through the slat walls. At Labura Primary in January, I found the pre-school kids in a crumbling classroom that had actually been condemned.
By combining concrete foundations and walls made of both cut-stone and framing with metal siding, we've been able to create modern, long-lasting classroom diseign that's affordable and will give these kids a great start at a real education. They're also colorful designs that look like a fun place to go to school.
Constructon is underway at Kiguru Primary, Bondeni Primary and at Laburra! We're also building a 3-classrom/3-grade preschool at Konyit Primary, and hope to fund construction of many more in the year to come. We'd love to have your support!
* We're also happy to have recently completed construction or have prrimary and secondary school construction underway at Labura Secondary, Kamiruri Primary, Amboni Primary and an important new water project for the girls dorm at Enkongu Narok Primary in Amboselli. Thanks to everyone who's supported this work at Global Giving and elsewherre. We couldn't do this work without you.
Everywhere I traveled in Kenya this December and January, I was asked to send special thanks to our supporters who've made it possible to have so much impact at our partner schools and their communities. Since we're now working in various capacities with 20 partner schools, it's almost impossible to distill all the work in to one report. But here are a few highlights of my recent trip that focus on great work from 2013 and great work to come in 2014.
At Konyit Primary near Elodret, we had our first on-site meetings with staff, parents and the Board of Governors and finalized plans to build essentially and entire new school here. Konyit is a wonderful school with severe facilty challenges. In the next year we will partner with this community to build 8 permanent stone classrooms, a purified water system, toiets, new preschool and renovate existing buildings for a new kitchen, library, dining hall, computer lab and admin facility. Less than two months after that first meeting, we have a new school design from Mahiga architect Greg Elsner, a great local contractor and construction is now underway!
Almost at the opposite end of Kenya, near Amboselli National Park, I was very moved by the kids at Enkongu Narok Primary, an isolated Massai school where only two girls completed the 8th grade last year. A new girls dorm is going to help alleve the problems of girls being chosen for marriage at too young an age, and we are committed to improving conditions at the dorm, just as the girls assured me they are committed to completing their education. The first step was mosquito nets for the dorm - those are now in place. And we are planning - and fundraising - to build a purified rainwater system on the dorm and another on the main school buildings. This is a great project that is worthy of your support.
On the way back north, I stopped to cut the ribbons on two new classrooms at Mutaki Primary, where enrollment has grown from 40 to 200.
And back in the Aberdares, I toured our partner schools at Mahiga, Kiguru, Amboni and Mugaka, and we are happy to be starting new partnership projects at Laborra Primary and Kamiruri Primary. One of my favorite stops - as always - was at the school on the hill - Mugaka Primary - a long drive up the mountain but worth it to see these beautiful kids thriving in their new school environment. Our architect partner Joseph Kagiri, who is from this community, has done an incredible job in building all the new classrooms at Mugaka.
The Nobelity Project Kenya Schools Tour of 2013 rocked! We visited 10 of our 18 partner schools and saw the classrooms, libraries, water systems and more made possible by your support. Our days were spent meeting with staff & school administrators, and celebrating with parents & students, but every “thank you” we received we promised to bring back home to you. Because the impact doesn’t end with the completion of these projects – it begins. By bridging these gaps in funding we bring the next rung of the ladder within reach for these schools. Your support of these communities has inspired not only hope, but has created a path to a better future for their children. I wanted to share their smiles with you so you can see the difference every one of you makes – to them, and to us.
Ongoing needs for the Kenya schools we work with include: student scholarships, funding for music, dance, and sports training, supplies and textbooks. And we continue to build classrooms, clean water systems, or other infrastructure projects where needed.
We believe that by improving conditions in one community we improve the state of the global community, and working together we tilt the world towards peace. Thank you for being a part of that story.
Almost ten years since Nobel Peace laureate Wangari Maathai first invited me to East Africa to plant trees with The Green Belt Movement, I am heading back to Kenya for what may be my 20th working trip. With our work in Kenyan schools accelerating the past few years, I'm looking back at what we've helped to make happen and also how our work has been a catalyst for so much great change.
At our home base of Mahiga, Mahiga Primary and Secondary now have almost 600 students enrolled in 14 grades, including two years of pre-school. The first class of high school seniors graduated in December and the school now has more and better teachers and grades theat improve each year. The high school alone has 8 classrooms, science labs, a library, computer lab, athletic facilities for boys and girls, multiple purified water systems, a kitchen that serves 150,000 meals a year and huge gardens that are planted and maintained by students as part of their course work. Acting on their own, the school is now building a big greenhouse that will provide even more food for the school.
Mahiga is an inspiration for all who support increased access to education, and also for many other schoos in Kenya. Ten miles away, our partnership with the new and growing Simbara High School is also bearing fruit. Purified water, a library, music and computer lab, and a new science lab have now been joined by three new classrooms and a basketball court that will create the first league play for girls in the district.
We've also helped build water systems and/or new libraries at many other schools in the area - Kiguru, Bondeni, Honi, Muthuini, Mogaka.. it's a long list. And our direct work at several very remote schools has played a key role in all kinds of additional work. At Irbaan Primary, two new purified rainwater systems will be completed in the coming days, providing water and lights for the girls dormitory, and for the kitchen, offices and library. Since my first visit to Irbaan, the little school on the edge of the Masai Mara Reserve has grown into a substantial multi-building campus.
A ten hour drive to the north, Daaba Primary has grown from outdoor classrooms and a deep and dangerous open well into a beautiful campus of stone classrooms, kitchen and library and a purified, solar-powered well - all of it enabling girls in this dry and remote Turkana village to attend school for the first time.
There are too many stories to tell them all, too many pictures to show them all... but the big picture is that well-targeted investiments in education infrastructure working with great local partners is highly effective in bridging the gaps in global education. Your support has helped us to do great and effective work. And our support in these communities has helped them to find additional ways to overcome obstacles that once seemed high, and now seem like small steps towards a brighter future for their children, and for ours.
Let's keep it up!
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