Feb 8, 2021

World Read Aloud Day Excitement!

Happy World Read Aloud Day!
Happy World Read Aloud Day!

"Happy World Read Aloud Day!!!" chanted the children at Ngangani Primary School. Ngangani was just one of Kenya Connect's partner schools who participated in World Read Aloud Day 2021 as part of our quest to become "The Village That Reads."  The celebrations on February 3rd included students and teachers reading books aloud, the creation of reading champion crowns, and inspirational stories by Kenya Connect  staff and teachers.  The staff issued 137 new library cards and inaugurated two new LitClubs with partner LitWorld.  Since 2018, Kenya Connect has issued over 3500 library cards and built our book collection to 10,000.  Engaging children in reading is one of our strategies to strengthen education in Wamunyu.

We also premiered two special "Read Alongs" as part of the celebration.  Students in Kenya, Canada and the U.S. participated in the joint reading of "Sulwe" by Lupita Nygong'o and "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind" by William Kwamkamba.  Children, teachers, and our staff read pages of the books which were woven together to tell the story.  This powerful WRAD activity connected our communities in a meaningful way.  It was especially fun for the children in Kenya to see their peers reading together!

As most readers will say, the heart of a literate community is the library.  We are thrilled to share that we officially broke ground for the LRC Annex on Friday, January 29th.  This building will house a proper library that will include reading chairs, study carels, a children's kiddie corner for read alouds and our book collection shelved properly for easy access.  The library will be open to students, teachers and community members. The LRC Annex will also host meeting space for teacher professional development and other workshops, a recording studio, and staff offices. Local and county officials, teachers, students, parents, the architects, and business leaders were part of the festivities. They sang the praises of Kenya Connect reporting that Kenya Connect partner schools have shown the highest student achievement for the subcounty for the last decade.

In addition to sharing our "Lit" news, we want to invite you to a "Virtual Field Trip to Kenya" with our Co-Founder and Executive Director James Musyoka on Thursday, February 25th at 7:00PM (ET). James will share information on the culture, geography, food and traditions of Kenya while also providing a glimpse into the work of Kenya Connect.  Participants will also be able to ask questions and learn about future volunteer opportunities. You can register for this FREE event on eventbrite.

Our work continues to grow because of donors like you. Your support allows us to offer our many literacy, STEM, and empowerment programs. Thank you for being a Reading Super Champion!

Student Read Aloud at Sofia PS
Student Read Aloud at Sofia PS
James awards a new Library Card!
James awards a new Library Card!
WRAD Book Checkout!
WRAD Book Checkout!
Watching the Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
Watching the Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
Groundbreaking for the LRC Annex!
Groundbreaking for the LRC Annex!
Feb 1, 2021

A Joyful Groundbreaking Celebration!

The official ground breaking!
The official ground breaking!

"I want you to close your eyes and take a mental journey to your local village.  Think about a successful family  and take a minute to think about why this family is prosperous." James Musyoka, Executive Director

Several in the audience raised their hands and the answers were all the same: There is an educated person in the family!

Kenya Connect is continuing our quest to strengthen education for our 62 partner schools with the building of the LRC Annex.  As a donor for the project, we are thrilled to share that on Friday, January 29th, the ground was broken for this project.  The joyful celebration included speeches, a poetry recitation by students, a LitMom doing a Read Aloud, dancing and the climax of the digger breaking ground!  Students, teachers, head teachers, parents, Ministry of Education officials, local leaders Southeastern Kenya University faculty, and members of the community were all part of the jubilant event.

All the speakers applauded Kenya Connect for the work that we are doing to enrich education and they were especially appreciative of the mobile library program. Several of the Head Teachers reported that the schools in the Wamunyu zone have had the highest student achievement scores for the last 10 years thanks to Kenya Connect.  The LRC Annex will further our work with a proper library, meeting space for teacher professional development and workshops, a recording studio, and staff offices. 

This project is becoming a reality because of you and your belief in our work. As the building begins to take shape, I'll be sending more pictures and updates.  The vision of children sitting in the library reading and Mom's borrowing books is our future.  Thank you for making this happen.

James Musyoka shares the vision for the LRC Annex
James Musyoka shares the vision for the LRC Annex
The architects, Josephine and Edward
The architects, Josephine and Edward
LitMom Teresa reads a story!
LitMom Teresa reads a story!
Students share a poem about the LRC Annex!
Students share a poem about the LRC Annex!
Dr. Mwania, Southeastern Kenya U congratulates KC!
Dr. Mwania, Southeastern Kenya U congratulates KC!
Jan 21, 2021

The Joy of Students Back in School!

Yvonne loves using a keyboard!
Yvonne loves using a keyboard!

Schools have reopened in Kenya and students are thrilled to be back in the classroom. Our "Magic School Bus" is rolling back into school yards filled with beautiful books and our staff is excited to engage children in reading. At the same time, we have resumed computer classes at our Learning Resource Center. This week Yvonne, a student at Makaalu Primary School, came to the LRC for a basic computer class.  

"Today I was very happy to use the computer. My favorite part was using the keyboard. I was amazed that I could erase what I had written using the backspace key. It was my first time to ever use a computer keyboard and only the second time I've used technology.  I would like to learn more about using the computer and be able to create my own game. My favorite subject in school is science and I would like to be a nurse when I grow up."

As we begin this new Kenyan School year, our team remains committed to providing programs to enrich education.  Reading, technology, and empowerment clubs take place on a daily basis.  At the same time, we are working closely with teachers at our four Empowered Schools to provide professional development to help them engage students in a meaningful way by incorporating the key tenets of the Kenyan Competency Based Curriculum.  Creating Professional Learning Communities (PLC), providing classroom resources, and fixing and painting classrooms are a way to create more vibrant learning.

Part of our strategy to strengthen education in our community is through breaking down barriers.  With the threat of the coronavirus, we are providing face masks to students who don't have them and we are installing additional hand washing stations at schools. Teaching how to make liquid soap and effective hand washing is helping keep students healthy.  Students are now using compost toilets at two or our partner schools, and due to the collapse of pit latrines at the Mbaikini School, we have sprung into action and are building another bank of compost toilets so the students will have clean sanitation.

We have big dreams for 2021. At he heart of our plan is to help students and teachers, who lost over 9 months of learning, to improved and dynamic education. We could not do this without friends like YOU and we thank you for your past donations. Our community feels your support and is grateful that you chose Kenya Connect on GlobalGiving.  

Patrick, Director of Education and Technology, commented last week, 

"My heart is full of joy to have students back in the technology lab in the Learning Resource Center. It's heartwarming to see how excited the students are to be using the computers. I'm always uplifted seeing how quickly they pick up what I teach and their eagerness to learn more."

We will continue to keep you upated on our work. In a couple of weeks we will be celebrating World Read Aloud Day while at the same time expanding our LitClub and LitMom program. For daily updates, please follow us on facebook, twitter and instagram.

LitClub member Daring Derrick (not real name) commented, "In LitClub I love doing the brain breaks and assignments.  Our mentor is friendly and carng. It's helping me in school."

The Kenya Connect team believes in the power of education. Our caring, committed and community driven team is empowering the next generation of Kenyan students thanks to friends like you.

Book Checkout begins in 2021!
Book Checkout begins in 2021!
LitClubs Nurtures Readers
LitClubs Nurtures Readers
Bright Empowered Classroom
Bright Empowered Classroom
Engaged Teacher Professional Development
Engaged Teacher Professional Development
 
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