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Jul 3, 2019

Moving Forward

Dorm life
Dorm life

Greetings from the foothills of Mt. Meru,

 

As I write this, our final report on this project, we find ourselves in an enviable position. Not only have we completed the first dormitory on Ikirwa School campus, but that dormitory is full beyond capacity. It is the time to celebrate the realizing at last our longtime dream of becoming a boarding school. A dream that would have not become true without your help and support, our dear donors. 

Of course, we would be remiss in saying that our fight is at an end, because many challenges remain. To accommodate both boys and girls, we had to convert one of the existing classrooms into a second dormitory. To house all seven primary grades, as well as nursery school, we had to split two of the larger existing classrooms in half, limiting capacity. More importantly, our students still do not have a proper dining hall, our cook a proper kitchen. Food is cooked in a corrugated metal shack, over an open fire. Meals are served on a concrete patio under a verandah roof, with no walls to protect from the elements. 

Therefore, as we close this project we hope that you join us on the next chapter of our journey as we set out to find resource to build a dining hall and kitchen for our kids. Thank you for walking this road with us and for helping us bring our vision to reality.

 

Asante sana

Ready for paint
Ready for paint
Homework time
Homework time
Our next project - stay tuned
Our next project - stay tuned
Jun 19, 2019

To Be Resilient

Ikirwa Scholar class of 2022
Ikirwa Scholar class of 2022

Dear supporters,

 

As I write this, Ikirwa students and staff are enjoying a well-deserved mid-year break. Their dedication and hard work never seize to humble me. The results they deliver in-spite of the daily challenges that seem to come from every corner, are nothing short of amazing.

This year, climate change continued to disrupt our daily commutes with deluges and flooded roads. There were many days when day students had to walk the last up-hill kilometer to school because the road became impassible. Teachers and older boys helped carry the little ones.

Yet there were plenty of joyful moments even in the hardest of days. All students finally got uniforms dsiplaying the school logo. A sponsor's gift allowed one girl and one boy to share their birthday with their whole class, as well as a (first for many) birthday cake. The kids agreed that they could eat cake every day, but birthday hats can choke you. 

Each milestone Ikirwa School advances to, is an unchartered territory for us, its founders. Because we could not have found ourselves here without the support of our grassroots donor community, we have the responsibility to remain accountable for the results and failures of this experimental journey to build something different. Which is why it means so much to receive validation that years of effort do bring the results we hope to achieve and that our mission is carrying us forward. At the end of March, our 7th graders took a trial exam. When results came out, Ikriwa School students took the first 10 spots out 228 kids tested. It is wonderful to see that the first 2 places went to our girls. An equally wonderful to see that three out of ten are our very first Ikirwa Scholars. 

With so many conversations taking place in the Western world about what we must do to raise resilient children, I am reminded of a quote by Steve Maraboli :

Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient”

As I watch our first class get ready to leave the school and go off into the big world full of dangers and possibilities, I am confident that these kids have what it takes to carry out the mission of Ikirwa School, as should you, our dear supporters, for your investment has born fruit beyond our wildest dreams. What you imagine you become.

Birthday kids (note the quote on the blackboard)
Birthday kids (note the quote on the blackboard)
Exam Results
Exam Results
Apr 5, 2019

If you build it they will come

Greetings from the beautiful Midawe our dear supporters,

In the month following my last update, the staff and residents of Midawe have been working around the clock to finish the dormitory and prepare for inspection and finally be able to accept boarding students who have been waiting patiently since the school year began. It wasn’t easy, the weather didn‘t always cooperate and logistics weren’t always on our side. We are still working on getting the funds needed to finish the adjoining bathrooms. However wiyh some workarounds the two dorms rooms are housing 11 girls and 17 boys, ages  5 to 15. 

Our first graduating class will be sitting for their national exam on September 4th. It’s results will be recorded on their primary school diploma and will be the dingle most important factor in determining whether and where they continue their secondary education. Therefore all 7the grade students are required to stay at the dorms. That way they are able to receive additional instruction and review ahead of this very important test. We are thrilled that we were able to complete the dormitory this year so that our first graduating class can receive the preparation they need.

We truly wouldn’t have been able to get here without your unwavering support. Your trust in our mission has carried us to this point and is reflected in every brick and nail in this dormitory. 

Asante Sana,

 
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