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Oct 5, 2017

Rising Stars

Boy in reflective mode
Boy in reflective mode

Dear friend and partner,

We are in the middle of a ‘STORYWORLD’ session with one of our students. ‘STORYWORLD’ is a do-it-yourself effectiveness kit we use at GlobalGiving to improve our effectiveness by ensuring our work is relevant to the children we are working for. I am talking with a 15-year old Class 8 girl. Let’s call her Yves. She tells me about how she sees her present environment, and talks about her dreams and aspirations. My eyes are opened to the realities and challenges she and girls like her have to contend with on a daily basis. Despite being orphaned at age 7, she has remarkable strength of character, foresight and a good dose of hope for the future.

When we first enrolled her at Acres of Mercy five years ago, Yves was just learning how to read. I ask her a question and she works hard to find the right words to paint the picture of the situation she is trying to describe. We are talking about the challenges facing girls her age in Nguluni. Yves, talks candidly about teenage pregnancy and sex outside of marriage and its impact on girls’ education. I dared suggest to her to feel free to use Swahili to which she replied. “I am now learning English. I want to become better at English. I will just talk in English.” Her resolve to want to better herself and her community is so strong she echoes the same sentiments when she says, “I need someone to help me become better at Math. I need someone to help me every day so I can become better at Mathematics.” You see the same force of character when she takes up her position as a midfielder playing for her school soccer team.

Yves has come a long way. With the help of the dedicated team of teachers, partners like you and supportive guardians and or parents she and other girls and boys at Acres of Mercy are working towards fulfilling their dreams. It is this partnership that has made the changes we see in Yves possible. Thank you for making it possible. Friends, In three weeks, she and twenty three others will be sitting the national examinations that will see these students transition to High school in February 2018. Asked what she is doing to make a difference in the community, especially on the teenage pregnancy issue. She responds, “I will continue talking to the girls, give them advice. ’And in future, I want to be a teacher…yes, I want to be a teacher, to make a difference in the lives of students.” The future is lit. Thank you for keeping these flames alive.

Girl with Book
Girl with Book
Brain Break
Brain Break
Meagre but...we learn
Meagre but...we learn
Acres of Mercy Learning Centre
Acres of Mercy Learning Centre
One of the rising stars
One of the rising stars
Oct 5, 2017

The Power of Peer Coaching

Students Peer Teaching
Students Peer Teaching

Dear friends and partners,

Since July our teacher coaching focus has been how to make learning more accessible to all students in our classes, and how to in ways make teaching more ambitious so our learning outcomes can begin to improve in the short term and most definitely in the long term.

We had a week of workshops and trainings by an expert teacher from the U.S. who was sharing different instructional methods on how to close student achievement gaps and reach all the students in our classrooms.  Teachers had a great time learning about “High order questioning skills”, “Lesson Planning and Lesson delivery”. There were sessions on “habits of mind” and “Classroom management”.

The sessions had a positive impact on the professional stance of the teachers. These are reflections from a section of the teaching staff after taking an exit ticket.

“My most valuable take away from the training is the stations and group activities. That’s what I want to utilize with my students since I have realized that it is inclusive and the learners’ participation in the lesson is high”.

This kind of feedback is encouraging as implementation will mean that student engagement would be improving.

Another teacher remarked,” I am very much ready to implement the strategies that I have been exposed to- Progressive monitoring, using formative assessments.”

Yet another teacher declared,” Yes, I do feel prepared to try out looking for the positive in every child each day.”

With this kind of professional growth and development, we know we will begin to see improvement in the achievement of the school. And indeed, we are beginning to see this in improved students’ attitudes towards subjects like Math where students are testifying just how much they have been enjoying Math classes. Together we are restoring the joy of learning in the hearts and minds of the children.

Through our partnering we are seeing the restoration of the joy of learning back to school.

With 138 students we have a No Corporal Punishment Policy in strict enforcement yet discipline levels are unlike the public school systems. Acres of Mercy students are able to listen to instructions without external threat. The teachers are fairly motivated as they continue to receive their monthly pay on time. And weekly staff meetings are more about how to have a more enabling learning environment and how to design learning to reach the “jagged” learning profiles in  class.

Thank you for making educational change happen.

Students Partner Studying
Students Partner Studying
Jul 10, 2017

Living a Legacy

Girl's Education
Girl's Education

Dear Friend

June 17th 2017 was a heavy day for me.

It was the day when we would lay to rest the remains of my Dear Departed Grandpa.

Two weeks before, I had the honour to be part of the team that was putting together his eulogy.

Dear Friend and Partner allow me to dedicate this report to the honour of his work in Education…to the man who in many ways reflects what GlobalGiving and its partner organizations around the world are doing-Philanthropy that changes lives and creates lasting impact. And to many men and women and youth just like him today all over the world.

My Grandpa was born James Ezekiel Mbori Yogo in 1932, Grandpa lived his early years in his home village until one day soon after the end of the Second World War -1939-  a man came to his village urging youth to go to school and get an education. I did not get the name of this man, but like many of us today supporting dreams across the globe, he changed the course of a generation.

Eighty-six years on, having sired 24 children and left behind 51 grandchildren many among whom have become teachers, doctors, entrepreneurs, bankers, professors and various other professions, Grandpa passed on. But he also passed on a legacy.

It is part of his legacy that Acres of Mercy, Kenya does what it does today…gifting education to children. In our lives path we all are playing our different parts in living behind a legacy of changed lives. June 17th 2017 reinforced my resolve to be part of this generation that is making a difference in Education just like Grandpa did, even much more.

By his example I had my Aunt's rally together to ensure I completed my university education. They gave in ways small and big and when I graduated Grandpa was there to congratulate me. Today, you and I and the teachers working with the children continue giving and supporting children who are not even part of our direct families, yet we know we are part of a bigger global family. 

Today Acres of Mercy continues to provide subsidized education to many children who might not have otherwise gotten the opportunity to be in school. By the end of June 2017, we had 133 children being served by 12 teachers and one support staff. 51% of these children are boys and 49% are girls. Our present intervention has been the drive on getting students to be independent students, problem solvers, creative thinkers.

Perhaps they would be able to do much more that my Grandpa Hon. James E. Mbori, who served his country first as a teacher, a teaching college lecturer, a legislator and a member of the Cabinet but most importantly as a man of integrity who left a mark in his generation.

Together we have been doing it, in your contributions, in your support and in standing with the children that Acres of Mercy supports. Thank you. You are part of the legacy…we are all leaving a fitting legacy in our generation.

Thank you. Thank you

Boys' Education
Boys' Education
Teacher Preparation
Teacher Preparation
 
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