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.
Resident artist at work
New classroom, new artwork
May 21, 2018
By Maria Skuratovskaya - Project Leader
2018 Ikirwa Scholars
Greetings from Midawe at the foothills of Mt. Meru!
How quickly time flies! In a few short days the first term of 2018 will be over and the students and staff of Ikirwa School will go on a well-deserved one month break. The last two weeks are reserved for examinations which will be followed by class party day. On that day, the students are not required to wear uniforms, so they will arrive to school wearing their best-looking outfits. In their backpacks they will carry some treats which they will trade and share during the tea break. The first half of the day will be filled with activities of their choice and almost inevitably they will gravitate to reading picture books and drawing. By lunchtime every blackboard will be covered in their original designs. After the mid-day meal, it is award time. If it's sunny, the whole school will assemble outside and teachers will honor the top three-ranked students in each class.
It is a very special time for all of us at Ikirwa School Project. On this day we celebrate the hard work of our students and their teachers and their successes in the face of the obstacles and challenges they had to face. This year, particularly heavy rains have once again washed out the road leading up to the school, leaving the students and staff to walk the last muddy, up-hill kilometer on foot. It also fills us with immense pride to see our twenty scholarship students thrive. In-spite of their young age, these children seem to grasp the opportunity that their scholarships afford them, and it is apparent in the diligence and hard work they show in their studies. Since last year they all have ranked near the top of their respective classes.
Their success would not be possible without all of you - caring and generous supporters so we invite you, to share in our pride and joy for their achievements. You made it happen!
Executive Director on behalf of Ikirwa School staff