Dec 28, 2015

First Batch of Students Graduate

Students being taught in the new classrooms
Students being taught in the new classrooms

In October and November 2015, the first batch of 19 Form 4 students from Buyani Secondary School sat for their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examinations. Inspite of the challenges they have faced over the years, we hope they will do well and start building their careers. Thank you for your contributions, for helping them study in a better school environment, and paving the way for them to be self-reliant and productive members of their community.

Through your generosity Tana River Life Foundation has ensured that 2 classrooms in the school were constructed and equipped with desks and chairs. The foundation is still working on plans to:

  • Build Toilets: The school has a population of about 150 students plus teachers and staff, yet it does not have a single modern toilet. They rely on toilets at the adjacent primary school that are dilapidated. These pose a health risk. Teachers and students queue ( stand in line ) to use these toilets. Visitors and guests cannot be accomodated. The school has asked for 8 modern latrines to be built, 2 for teachers and 6 for the students. The school will have a population of 240 students when Form One students are admitted next year. 
  • Provide Solar Panels for the 2 classrooms constructed. This will provide lighting to Form 1 and 2 students to do their homework and study after dark. Most homes in the village do not have lights.

Thambo Aged 17 is from Semikaro Village which is around 4 km from the school : “I am very thankful to all donors for what you are giving us. I was the first student to be enrolled in this school and since then, there has been much improvement in the infrastructure of the school as well as the quality of education. As more of my people in my community are now being educated, we will be able to raise our living standards and better provide for our families. The foundation has constructed two classrooms this year and it has really provided the students with a better study environment.”

Fatuma Aged 17 is from Milimani Village around 5 km from school:  “We are grateful that we have the school in this area.  In our community many school girls are  forced to drop out of school to marry. One of my friends and classmate was forcefully married this term and nothing could be done about it as tradition demands so. I am confident that if I excel in school, I would be able to empower other girls in my community to follow in my footsteps. They will be convinced that they have a chance with education. With the school nearby, the tradition of forced marriages will change.”

Thambo in a group discussion with his classmates
Thambo in a group discussion with his classmates
Fatuma with textbook provided by the foundation
Fatuma with textbook provided by the foundation

Links:

Oct 1, 2015

New Classrooms at Buyani Secondary School

The completed building at Buyani Secondary
The completed building at Buyani Secondary

Buyani Secondary School has been operating in temporary classrooms borrowed from a neighbouring primary school since the end of 2013. Their own building was destroyed by fire during the ethnic clashes of 2012/2013.

Tana River Life Foundation has been providing infrastructure and educational support to the school since it re-opened. The most urgent need has been to rebuild classrooms so that the school will have their permanent home.

The construction project to rebuild 2 classrooms for Form 1 and 2 students started in August 2015 and will be completed by the end of September 2015.  In addition, the foundation will provide the following pieces of school furniture to be delivered in the beginning of October after the building has been completed : 

  • 66 Chairs for Classrooms
  • 55 Student Lockers
  • 5 Office Chairs for Teachers

 Students are looking forward to their new classrooms. 

Thanks to your contributions, the foundation has provided students with solar lamps to enable them to complete their homework in the evenings. Girls have trialed reusable sanitary napkins to enable them to attend school regularly and comfortably during their menstral periods. School fee support is also provided to students. The mobile library has been operating since 2014. 

 

Here are some quotes from students and staff of the school :

Bahiyesa, Age 21,  Form 4; Village: Shirikisho; Position: Student Representative

“We are grateful for the two classrooms. Coming from a community where illiteracy and poverty levels are high, having a school within our community with better facilities will play a very big role in personal development of the people around. The foundation has been paying our school fees. I am sure that if it weren’t for them I wouldn’t even be able to finish my O-Level which I expect to complete by next month. I will then start thinking about higher education.”

Halako, Form 2, Age 17; Village: Anassa

“Am grateful for the foundation and other donors for what they are doing for us. We now have better classrooms to use starting this term. When I first came here, there wasn’t enough chairs and desks for students, but thanks to the foundation now we have better chairs and soon we will be moving to a much better classroom”.

Zubar, Form 2, Age 17; Village: Marafa

“I was the second student from the Cushitic community to join the school after the violence in 2012, I can say the building of the school is good for us as we are learning together from people of multi-ethnic groups. Learning together helps us as you are not likely to attack someone that you know and are friends with. Am grateful for the foundation for building the classrooms and starting a mobile library.”

Galana, Form 4, Age: 23; Villlage:  Chamwanamuma

“Thank you to all the donors for what you are doing. The construction of this school is playing a very big part in my personal life. I was a victim of the clashes in Tana Delta in 2012.  I lost my dad and I am unsure if he is still alive. I struggled emotionally for a long time, but having the school here where we have people from different tribes has made me accept the people that I always thought were the enemies. Having more facilities will encourage more students to join the school. It will have a large impact as illiteracy plays a very big part in influencing youth to cause chaos. Learning together eradicates that perception.”

Hamisi, Form: 2, Age 16; Village: Chamwanamuma

“Am grateful to the foundation for providing our school with new buildings and our paying school fees. In addition, they provided us a library with solar power where we can do our homework and have group discussions after dark. Some of our parents can’t afford to pay for our textbooks, but now we can study with the books provided by the foundation. Soon we will be moving to a new classroom with good chairs and lockers.  In terms of community development, the school is playing a big role for us girls. Girls usually marry at an early age but with the school nearby, we have something else to look forward to instead of just getting married.”

 

Mr Hiribae, Chairman of the School

“As chairman of the school I am very grateful for what you donors have been doing for our school. We only had 2 classrooms, now you have helped us to build two more and we have a total of four. It is our request that you continue to support us with facilities so that we can provide better education to our children who are assets of our future in this area.”

Students now have access to textbooks
Students now have access to textbooks
Classroom furniture provided by the foundation
Classroom furniture provided by the foundation

Links:

Jul 2, 2015

Sanitary Napkins for the Girls at Buyani

A student from Buyani with her pack of napkins
A student from Buyani with her pack of napkins

Many girls in the Tana Delta are unable to attend school for a week every month due to the lack of sanitary napkins. This significantly affects their learning. Some girls make their own from cotton wool or pieces of scrap cloth, risking infections.

Reusable sanitary napkins have been available in Africa in the recent years. Unlike the disposable ones we are used to, these are washable and a set would last a girl for an entire year. This is a more economical and sustainable option, and supports African organizations producing them. In addition to manufacturing them, these organization provide valuable education in feminine health issues.

TRLF has started a trial with Afri-Can Trust, an Kenyan based NGO which produces reusable sanitary napkins to provide girls in these communities with access to these napkins.  Afri-Can Trust has trained female staff members and youths from the TRLF to run the program.  The trial will last 3 months and was launched in January 2015 at Buyani Secondary School in the Chara sub-location. A 2 hour education and information session on menstrual health was run by staff from Afri-Can Trust for both male and female students there. Myths about menstruation were dispelled. Girls received a set of  I-Care pads as well as 2 panties. They were taught on the use and management of the pad to ensure that it lasts for a whole year. Representatives from TRLF were also present to ensure continuity of the program in this school as well as others in the region. A survey would be conducted at the end of the trial period to better understand the benefits as well as issues with the napkins.

With these napkins, we hope to enable to girls to attend school uninterrupted and help them to complete their secondary education. 

Students learning to use their napkins
Students learning to use their napkins
Demystifying menstration
Demystifying menstration
A set of napkins
A set of napkins

Links:

 
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