Early fall is the season when students anxiously prapare for their national exams while we, the founders of Ikirwa line up the funds and resources to begin the anual construction project. It is always a race against the clock, to try and finishe the building under roof before the rains come and finish it in-time for the new school year, which begins in January.
In this manner, over the course of the past 6 years we have completed the construction of 8 classrooms and 3 offices as well as a kitchen and a dining verandah. Yet this year's project is particularly special. Ikirwa School is located in a very beautiful spot, at the very edge of the Midawe village, where the wooded farms begin a gentle climb and transition into the jungle covering the slopes of Mt. Meru. From the far border of the school campus one can look far over the vulcanic plains. The air is clear and the night is filled with the sounds of crickets. It is quiet, safe and peaceful - a perfect spot for a boarding school. Ikirwa School has been open for 6 years and we are finally ready to complete our visiton and make our campus a resident one. Two weeks ago we broke ground for the boys dormitory. Girls will be housed in a converted classroom with access to bathroom and shower. Offering a boarding option will meet the demand we have observed from more affluent Arusha families, who wish to have their kids in a healthy, natural setting away from city traffic and polution. It will also bring much needed cashflow to aid our mission of keeping day school rates affordable for local students, offering scholarships to those in most need, and, most importantly, making the school financially self-sustainable.
It was Henry Ford who said, "Coming together is the beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success". We thank you, our dedicated supporters for coming together and staying to help us make this vision a reality.
Breaking the ground
Levelling the floor
Aug 22, 2018
What you imagine, you become
By Maria Skuratovskaya - Project leader
Class 2 with their new teacher
Greetings from Midawe!
As I write this, the students of Ikirwa School are approaching the mid-point of their second semester. Those in Grades II and IV are busy preparing for their government exams, which they will face in November. Meanwhile their peers in Grade VI are already looking towards the final primary school exams that await them at the end of 2019. As is the local custom, Ikirwa has begun joining with other local schools to mock-examinations and see how are students compare and where should we seek to improve. So far the results have been outstanding.
One of the most exciting developments this year was the opening of a computer lab which was made possible through a laptop donation from a group of Team Kilimanjaro climbers. Having 15 personal computers available for both students and teachers to use has been nothing short of game changing. After undergoing mandatory computer literacy training, the teachers have dramatically reduced the time needed to prepare examination materials and as a result had more time for instruction and review. Meanwhile students in Grades V and VI have been receiving 2 hours of computer literacy instructions a week and are quickly becoming proficient with common MS Office applications. We hope that this time next year we will be able to give both students and staff access to the wealth of on-line learning.
One of the most rewarding things about working with Ikirwa School Project is watching the children grow and develop their academic and language talents, especially those kids who attend the school on scholarship, funded in great part by the contributions from you, our unwavering supporters. Invariably they start off slow, held back by their lack of language skills and poor academic instruction in the public schools they previously attended. Invariably, we see these children work hard, relentlessly catch-up and move up to the top of the class. Our greatest reward is seeing these young minds blossom and their imaginations opening up to the world of possibilities. Thank you all for joining us on this journey.
Staff and Volunteers of Ikirwa School Project
Class 6 learning how to use WordPad
Jul 11, 2018
From the ground up
By Maria Skuratovskaya - Executive Director
6th graders posing in front of their classroom
Greetings from Midawe! As I write this, unusually cold weather has descended on Mt. Meru foothills, while the students and staff of Ikirwa School are starting their second term. July is also the month when we finalize our plans for the year’s construction.
Over the break, we were able to put a metal roof over the kitchen and dining area and add a hand washing station. Our resident artist, Mr. Siphael Joseph, decorated the exterior walls of the new classroom building with images of human anatomy.
Upon reviewing our class sizes we have decided that for the next two years we will be able to accommodate our rising class 7 by installing a wooden wall and splitting one of the existing classrooms into two. So instead of constructing another classroom, we could direct our resources to finally construct a dormitory and take a giant step towards financial self-sufficiency for Ikirwa School. The location of the new dormitory will be at the quietest corner of the school property, closest to the forest and Mt. Meru. The planned building will house up to 30 children.
Looking at the campus, which now sports 3 classroom buildings, plus kitchen and dining area, is hard to believe that 6 years ago this land was just another plot among the farm fields, especially when these buildings fill with 138 inquisitive minds hard at work. From the ground up, we built this place of learning with the hold of our generous grassroots donor community, and we are thankful for each and every one of you.