Sep 15, 2020

Plans to reopen

Digging a trench inside the school compound
Digging a trench inside the school compound

We hope you are all keeping well and safe during these ongoing challenging times.

There are plans for the reopening of schools in Kenya in January; however, the Government have placed new rules to ensure social distancing and keeping children safe. This gives us a choice of either extending the classrooms (with obvious cost implications) or reducing class sizes. Although we could reduce the number of children we educate, we don't want to do that because the school specifically targets children who otherwise could not afford to go to school. Reducing numbers would therefore mean that in all likelihood the children would stop their schooling. Therefore we have made the decision, in the short term, to meet the cost from our reserves we hold and from the money raised from the most recent GlobalGiving Campaign.

This unfortunately also means putting on hold our planned teacher training programme. Instead we plan to deliver an internal Continuous Development Progamme in a low cost way. This training programme, supported by one of our Board Members and facilitated by our appointed teacher in charge of discipline, will address reducing violence in school with an 11 unit programme involving teacher centred discussions. At the end of the programme there will be an assessment which teachers will have to pass to receive a Completion Certificate. If this is successful we will follow the same method to develop learner centred teaching.

In other news the Government is installing large pipes for irrigation water in our community. The pipes will be passing through the school compound as per the attached photo. The white paint on the ground is where they are digging two foot deep.

This work has already started and trenches are being dug in preparation for the laying of these pipes. Unfortunately workmen have damaged the existing pipes and so currently we do not have any access to water at school. This means we are unable to continue growing vegetables on the school land and as construction workers are moving at such a slow pace we cannot guarantee when we will be receiving water again.

It's a big inconvenience but we hope this water project will allow access to a constant supply of water for many more members of our community.

It just leaves us to say that we appreciate how fortunate we are to receive such continued generosity and support from you, without which we could not progress in our mission.

Thank you!

Digging at the school entrance
Digging at the school entrance

Links:

May 18, 2020

There was a time before Covid-19

A pupil wearing our homemade mask
A pupil wearing our homemade mask

With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting everyday life, we thank you for your continued support and wish you and your family good health.

As we adapt to these unprecedented circumstances, we’ll continue to serve our community as best we can. Food, soap and mask distribution is ongoing to those families and elderly ladies in need. In addition Peter is busy planting vegetables such as sweet potatoes and kale on the school land which we will give to those who are struggling to feed their families and also sell to raise income.  

It seems such a long time ago now since we were at school enjoying the successes and overcoming the small challenges which are normal in the day to day running of a primary school. Pleasure was found in seeing the pupils’ smiling faces as they start the day, always happy to be at school and eager to learn.

We are really pleased to share with you the success of our Learning Support Programme introduced in January. It is a sad fact that many of our sponsored pupils have missed out on full time education mainly due to being excluded from school for non-payment of fees. When they join us it is evident that they have fallen behind and unless we intervene they will have little chance of catching up.

Our programme was initiated by two volunteers from Catalonia and Germany. Teresa, a qualified teacher from Catalonia and Tatjana a student from Germany stocked up two rooms with graded reading books and learning resources with the aim of improving literacy and comprehension. Working in cooperation with our teachers they began one-on-one reading practice and play activities such as puzzles and memory games with those pupils who were struggling.

This vital ‘catch up’ programme has proved to be successful within such a short space of time with reports from parents and teachers of noticeable improvements in reading.

We are committed to continuing this programme when the school reopens.

Here is a short report from Teresa of her time volunteering at Roko 20.

A certain day in October 2019, I started looking for a place to volunteer for two months, between January and March 2020. My personal and professional situation allowed me to take a break during this time.

When by chance I came across Roko 20 School in Kenya, I couldn’t imagine what was waiting me.

So, I began to prepare my volunteering personal project and I called Tracy Neale-Ferreira, Roko 20’s Director. Far away, from somewhere in Wales, she explained to me everything about the school, about her project there and about the children’s needs. As she was speaking and giving me details, I could perceive that she was a confident and brave person. Her clear ideas about how education should be at Roko 20 grabbed my attention and I knew that I had finally found my place. I wasn’t wrong.

Tracey Neale together with Job Thuo Macharia (Roko 20’s Manager) run the school with excellence. They have created a school with a difference. I’ve spent eight weeks at Roko 20 and my experience there is unforgettable and highly enriching.

Thanks to Tatjana Winter’s ideas, support and help, we started the Learning Support Program based on teaching reading skills to the children who are a bit behind. I had an amazing feeling when the reading support began to give good results and the children were able to read. Tatjana (the other volunteer), who was my flat mate, my friend and my second daughter during those eight weeks, had the same feeling and we both believe that the Learning Support works.

Moreover, I’d like to point out that the best thing I came across in Kenya was its people; I fell in love with the country, with the children and their humanity and innocence. Kenya and its culture, landscape, language, wilderness, colors, music….. is an amazing country and Roko 20 is the best place to volunteer.

Finally, I can affirm that the Roko 20 community has made a very deep change inside me. So, let me quote Lenin:

“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.”

I have no doubt; my eight weeks in Roko 20 are as valuable as eight decades.

Thank you.

M.Teresa Gassió i Ribé

Catalonia, May 2020

I would just like to end this update by saying that all of us at Roko 20 thank you for your continued generosity and support without which we would not be able to carry out the work that we do.  

We hope that you keep safe and well in these exceptional circumstances.

Parents preparing the land for vegetables
Parents preparing the land for vegetables
Preparing the school land
Preparing the school land
Teresa and a Grade 1 pupil
Teresa and a Grade 1 pupil
Tatjana and a Grade 2 pupil
Tatjana and a Grade 2 pupil
Learning Support class
Learning Support class

Links:

Jan 21, 2020

Teamwork makes the dream work

Our Manager, Job
Our Manager, Job

We are pleased to report that we started 2020 with all of the teachers who ended the year in 2019.  Maintaining the team is as a direct result of the hard work of our Manager, Job, who has single handedly improved communication and brought harmony. 

Teamwork is of course an essential tool to achieve success for any organization and thanks to Job’s management skills he has built upon morale and improved productivity.

Job is a man of many talents but of importance here is his sensitivity and understanding of people.  When he notices a problem with a staff member he is quick to encourage a discussion giving time to allow any grievances to be aired.  In this way he has worked successfully towards resolving issues before it becomes too big. 

Workshops and Team building lunches were an important introduction to increase cooperation between staff members.   Our workshops involved all staff and allowed for participation in the decision-making process giving each employee the opportunity to voice their opinions and share their knowledge with others thereby improving the relationship between staff and Management. 

The community has more confidence in us because of stability with staff and this year we have noted a significant increase in the number of pupils enrolled.

To sum up our Manager gets the thumbs up for improving the quality of education at Roko 20 Academy with a team of self-motivated teachers and staff.

The Roko team is proud of where they work, feel supported and want to see the school go from strength to strength.  Our school is a much happier place for our staff to be and this is down to Job’s commitment and dedication to the success of Roko 20 Academy.

Thank you as ever for your continued support.

Roko 20 Staff
Roko 20 Staff
Scouts at Assembly
Scouts at Assembly
Breaktime fun
Breaktime fun
Pupils and Teachers First Day of Term
Pupils and Teachers First Day of Term

Links:

 
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