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Jan 3, 2017

ANOTHER YEAR - ANOTHER CLASSROOM - OR MAYBE TWO?

Thank you GlobalGiving
Thank you GlobalGiving

The old year ended well - and the new year is beginning even better... A very generous donation has made it possible for us to begin construction for the 5th grade classroom already. If all goes well, it will be completed by Easter so that the children can move right in from the temporary classroom into a beautiful new permanent classroom. This was the largest donation so far - and will give us time to raise the funds for the now mandatory permanent kitchen that must be built as soon as possible according to the Ministry of Education in Kenya. So, it's back to the drawing board and hoping for the best so that we can get the classroom finished, a new one started and the kitchen built. But we are optimistic that 2017 will bring many big and small donations to make this possible. Our optimism and confidence about the future of the Live and Learn in Kenya Education Center is contagious. So - on to bigger and better things in 2017.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

5th Grade Classroom Construction - Day 1
5th Grade Classroom Construction - Day 1
5th Grade Classroom Construction - Day 2
5th Grade Classroom Construction - Day 2

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Jan 1, 2017

2016 WAS A GOOD YEAR - 2017 WILL BE EVEN BETTER

Thank you GlobalGiving
Thank you GlobalGiving

2016 gave us all that we wished for - and more. From the 480 children and youths on the Live and Learn in Kenya Int'l at the end of the year, only 17 children were left without sponsors. Nearly all of the 17 children needing sponsors had just joined the Live and Learn in Kenya Int'l program in November. We feel very blessed and extremely optimistic about the new year. 2017 is certain to be a good year for our children in Kenya - especially those attending our own school where we have a better chance to make sure that they are receiving the best education possible. One day we'll have our school built and finished so that all kindergarten, elementary and vocational training pupils will have the same great chance. But for now we are doing our best to provide all of the children with everything that they need to go to school and be all that they can be. It isn't always easy. The prices for everything are rising and education is getting more and more expensive. The daily school meals are also getting more expensive - but they are so important. Only a well-fed child can think and learn well - and after all, that is what Live and Learn in Kenya is all about. Education is the key to the future!

The new school year begins on January 4th in Kenya. We are hoping to have the other 17 children sponsored as soon as possible in order to be able to pay all school costs. But it isn't necessary to sponsor one child's education if that isn't something that you can afford or want to do. Every donation helps us to help the children who are yet to be sponsored and the extra costs for high school and university. The school fees for high schools and universities are humongous in comparison to what the elementary school children cost us. The funds on the LLK bank account had dwindled down to an all time low last November after the high school and university fees had been paid. That gave us a good scare - but Christmas came along and saved the day. But that showed us how very important it is to raise funds especially for school fees that are not covered through sponsorships.

Are you interested in organizing an event for the Live and Learn in Kenya Int'l Sponsorship Program? It could be anything from a Charity Walk to a Benefit Concert or selling cakes at at a cake sale. Perhaps your church or temple would be interested in becoming involved. Many schools see the positive aspects of involving pupils in fundraising as it is the best way to show children and youths that they can really make a difference in the lives of those who have much less than they do - and even realize how very much they do have.

So, as you make yourself comfortable with a cup of hot cocoa in front of your fireplace on a chilly winter day - or are enjoying the sun with a cool drink at the beach - maybe you can take a moment to think about what you could do to make the change that you want to see. We can sure use your help!

A wonderful, happy, healthy and prosperous 2017 from all of us to all of you!

The New Kindergarten Class for 2017
The New Kindergarten Class for 2017
Well-fed Children Learn Better
Well-fed Children Learn Better
A Sponsor from Germany visiting his sponsored son
A Sponsor from Germany visiting his sponsored son
Singing for Strength with visiting sponsors
Singing for Strength with visiting sponsors
Proudly Graduating to 1st Grade
Proudly Graduating to 1st Grade

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Nov 22, 2016

The 4th Grade Classroom Dedication Ceremony and Annual Festival

Jubilance
Jubilance

It was a gorgeous, sunny day... The air seemed to be electrified with excitement. Today was the day that everyone has been waiting for for months. Dozens of mothers and nearly all of the Live and Learn in Kenya children and youths had been learning special songs and dances for the annual "Mama Brique" and visitor party - which would also be the opening and dedication party for the new 4th grade classroom. It was the 5th classroom constructed so far, the 5th one being used as an office and mandatory teacher's staff room for the time being. The party preparations began very early in the morning when the Dutch visitors, Tivo, Carla, Ella, Jonneke and Jesper arrived with their costumes and instruments. Tivo, Jesper and the German visitor, Stefan, had been building a school stage with a group of fathers all week long - and it turned out amazing. A huge tent was set up with a couple of hundred chairs for the parents and other visitors. A large group of mamas had already been there cooking a meal for about 1000 people since sunrise. The children were practicing their songs and dances and dressing up in the new dresses that many of the sponsors had paid to have made for them in the LLK tailor workshop where the girls who had learned tailoring in vocational training volunteer their hours and talents. All of the female visitors had dresses made as well. Today was also the day that the 30 preschool children would graduate into 1st grade and the 30 new kindergarten children would be welcomed into the program. Parents, children, staff and the 17 visitors from Germany, Holland and the USA began to greet one another and the other guests who arrived. The local chief paid us the honor of his presence; the architect and the construction firm boss were also present. 

We all formed a sort of parade and walked - danced - to the beat of drums to the new classroom. The porcelain plaque was unveiled with the dedication to Philip Rosenthal Senior and Phillip Rosenthal Jr. - the founders of Rosenthal Porcelain GmbH in Selb -, which is a true supporter of Live and Learn in Kenya. Afterwards the ribbons were cut under cries of happiness from the crowd and the door to the 4th grade classroom was officially opened to the children and to the public. One by one everyone entered the classroom and were amazed by the friendly yellow walls, the furniture, and the bookshelves filled with high quality books brought from Europe. So much happiness in one room!!!

Then we all walked back to the stage area - and the music began with drumming and singing the songs that we had taught the children all during the past week. Tivo and Jonneke, being musicians, led the way on their guitar and accordion, our music teacher, Mwai, played the newly purchased keyboards while a group of boys played percussion and Brique and Stefan sang with the children. It was an awesome feeling for us all to be standing on our own stage for the first time. Until now all of the annual parties more or less went the same way - with the children and the mamas singing and dancing for us - this time was different - we sang and danced for them. When Ella and Carla got on stage with their dance group, dressed in their self-made masks - everyone had a smile on their faces. Then the boy's dance rap group performed a breathtaking dance that could have been on a professional stage. Yes, it was all quite different with a team of singers, dancers, clowns and musicians!

Then it was the mama’s turn as they danced into the stage area in the entire luscious array of Kenyan colors. Singing and dancing they called all of the visitors and staff onto the stage area and presented them all with presents – some self-made and hugs.

Then it was graduation time for the preschool children – who proudly danced onto the stage area with Brique and their teacher leading the way in their caps and gowns. Their very proud parents and grandparents were beyond words. Tears and Smiles! It is seldom possible for children in the slums to graduate from preschool in this matter – this is usually a luxury known only to the well-to-do. After they received their diplomas and presents the 30 new kindergarten children were welcomed into the arms of the Live and Learn in Kenya International program – with a bright future ahead of them they celebrated their special day with gifts of new clothing, sweets and stuffed animals.

Then it was time for the huge meal that the wonderful mamas had been cooking for everybody all day long.

It was a day so packed full of wonderful memories. I’m sure it will be impressed in the minds of the children, parents, staff and guests for many years to come.

Now – off to raise funds for the next classroom. November is less than a year away!

Dedication in Memory of Philp Rosenthal Jr and Sr
Dedication in Memory of Philp Rosenthal Jr and Sr
Dancers in their LLK Traditon Outfits
Dancers in their LLK Traditon Outfits
Graduating to 1st Grade
Graduating to 1st Grade
Self-made Masks for the Children
Self-made Masks for the Children's Dance
VIP Guest
VIP Guest
Stars
Stars

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