Apr 12, 2018

Strong Foundation

Informatics Class
Informatics Class

Greetings from the foothills of Mt. Meru! As I write this, the students and staff of Ikirwa School have just returned from their Easter break to finish the first term. Our 6th graders have taken over their new classroom space and made it their own. Following a donation of several laptops in January, the classroom has also become a makeshift computer lab for the whole school.

The start of the year was not without some excitement. Shortly after the school year began, we had to re-enforce the foundation and complete a retaining wall around the new classroom building to prevent soil erosion. About half of the school territory is on the hillside. Its soft volcanic soil is ideal for growing vegetables and flowers – the school shamba (garden) provides much of the maize used in school meals - but it is tricky for terracing and building. Rainy seasons have been bringing heavier than normal rains for the past two years, making soil erosion an ever present concern. So thanks to the donations that came it at the end of December, we were able to complete the retaining wall in early February, before the rains came.

With our 6th grade classroom complete and the academic year in full-swing, we now shift our efforts to planning the construction of classroom space for 7th and final grade of the Primary school. It will be added to the east wall of the new building and will sit on the strong foundation, that was already built with your help.

 

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,

 

Maria Skuratovskaya, Executive Director on behalf of the board and staff of the Ikirwa School and Ikirwa School Project

Midawe, Tanzania

Finished Classroom
Finished Classroom
Reinforcing the foundation
Reinforcing the foundation
Maize from school shamba
Maize from school shamba
Feb 20, 2018

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others

Giving Thanks
Giving Thanks

Greetings from the foothills of Mt. Meru!

As I write this, the students and staff of Ikirwa School are finishing up their first month of school. Our student body is 120 strong and among those students are 20 children who are attending Ikirwa School for the 2nd year thanks to the support of our donor community. So far we have raised enough funds to cover their education through the end of the first semester. 

We could not be more proud of this outstanding group of students. In the course of last year, their hard work led them to excel as students and peers. Five of our scholars received special recognition for their academic achievements. 

Meanwhile, the families of our scholarship students have formed a group, which took over a number of mantenance tasks around campus. From delivering firewood to tending the school vegetable garden, deep cleaning the classrooms and putting on a fresh coat of paint, their contributions free up resources, which we can direct towards our most important task - education. We are very lucky to have the benefit of an involved community of parents and neighbours, who are genuinly dedicated to the success of our school. 

My last visit to Ikirwa coincided with the end of the term. While teachers were busy finalizing grade reports, I took the opportunity to speak with the students about the importance of being thankful and expressing our gratitude through words and actions. As their final project, every student made a card for someone they wanted to thank. It was very moving to see the kids write to their parents, teachers and friends. Unprompted, all 20 of our scholarship students, even the youngest ones, chose to thank the donors who have made their education possible. They were greatful for the gift of education, opportunity and a brighter future which the scholarships afford them. And they were thankful for having a group of people from all walks of life and every corner of the globe who care about the future of a young child in the foothills of Mt. Meru - a sentiment every Ikirwa School teacher, staff memeber and volunteer joins in. We are all greatful for you!

Students at work on their Thank You notes
Students at work on their Thank You notes
Jan 12, 2018

Without you these walls will not be standing

Foundation is laid
Foundation is laid

What a difference 3 months make! As I write this, doors and windows are being installed in the classroom which this group has helped us fund. Through its windows you can see Mt. Meru and tall avocado trees which line the border of the adjoining yams farm. A week from now, its walls will be filled with voices of twenty 6th graders, preparing to start what may be their last year of Primary School (we await the final ruling from the Ministry of Education on that account).

The initial plan called for breaking ground on a flat strip of land adjacent to the Nursery building. However, upon further evaluation, we have decided that it would be better to preserve the flat ground for future athletic facilities. Instead, we have moved to location up the hill from the first Primary School building. The classroom will become an anchor point for the third building on Ikirwa School campus. Over the coming 2 years we plan to add on another two classrooms and an office, which would allow us to convert one of the existing buildings into a dormitory.

On behalf of the teachers, staff and volunteers we would like to with you a Happy New Year and thank you for your unwavering support of the Ikirwa School Project. Since 2013 we have been building our little school, one classroom at a time, with the help of grassroots donors like you. Without you, these walls would not be standing.

Walls are up
Walls are up
Finishing up the roof
Finishing up the roof
 
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