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Apr 10, 2017

Together Securing Futures, Making Dreams Come True

Boy in Class
Boy in Class

Dear friends and partners,

Many of you are aware of the risk young girls and boys face in the world today. From radicalization, child labour, prostitution, child trafficking just to name a few. You and I both know that whenever we give children an education, we give them a bettter fightingchance against some of these destroyers of destiny.

Over the past few days there has been pictures and stories going round on human rights abuses by members of the polic who killed two children extra judicially. It was heart wrenching to say the least. As I thought about these children- they were about sixteen years of age- I quickly thought about a young man about two years older in our school and asked him what he thought about the incident. I asked him whether he ad seen the clip. 

It was not shocking to hear him say he knew the boys. He has a history of crime and drugs behind him. But now...he is focused on his studies and his music career dream both of which we are working to help him achieve. He says of his past...

I used to be part of this gang sometime back. We would take drugs. One time I took "lags" and slept for 24 straight hours. It was a terrible life.

Currently he has been working hard on his academics. Even though he missed some classes he has managed to stay oon course to complete his K.C.P.E (Kenya Certificate of Primary Education) course. When he was selecting his choice of Seconadry schools, he could not hide his joyas he proudly proclaimed..." This is a dream come true. I never thought this moment would ever come!" 

As we get back to class, he says he will compose a song to the fallen soldiers. I wonder if I ever looked at children in situations like that as soldiers! Fighting for their lives, fighting against societal ills that allure them, for some even to the most cruel deaths. I want to be a soldier...to fight for their future...to give them something better...to fight with...EDUCATION. Thank you for being part of this fighting force through your giving and support.

Girl Reading
Girl Reading
Keep Me Safe-Peace
Keep Me Safe-Peace
Children Enjoying Play
Children Enjoying Play
Keeping the Eyes on the Prize
Keeping the Eyes on the Prize
Thank you
Thank you
Jan 9, 2017

Transitions- Class of 2016

Dear friends.

Let us join our hands in applauding the Class of 2016- Acres of Mercy Learning Centre.

Through myriad challenges they have persisted and succeeded.

Many fought through the challenge of limited resources at home, and family instability.

A few others fought through the stigma of low academic achievement in other schools, and a community whose idea of success is warped and limited to attaining high test scores.

Still they trudged on along, from the student who in 2009 as a young 6-year-old was admitted to the school. And the other fourteen who came in later with the last two being admitted in 2016 January.

It is the dream to see this girl and others like her complete school successfully that drove us to apply for a place on GlobalGiving in 2010.

Six years later, they have successfully completed this part of their life’s journey. Fifteen young lives. Nine (9) boys and six (6) girls- in some quarters this is 6 villagesJ.

Now I join my hands to thank you, for being a part of this incredible journey. Together, we took them through counselling sessions, we provided mentorship and guidance. We taught them life skills. We worked through math problems, wrote through essays, and practiced grammar. We ran the track fields together. We scored goals on the soccer pitch as they identified their skills and talents. We went after the few who almost gave up on school, visting their homes, we believed them when we should have disbelieved, we ate together and provided food when they were hungry. We cared and we gave hope...HOPE for a better future. And today, they are victorious.

Through the valleys and now we are on the mountain top of their first transition. Thank you for giving. Your gifts have surely given these young lives a head start in life. As they transition to secondary school, or technical school, we trust that the education we worked to bequeath them will serve them well beyond this year.

Thank you…you have made 2016 a success.

Jan 9, 2017

Learning Forward- Some Lessons from 2016

Student Engagement- What We Learnt
Student Engagement- What We Learnt

Dear Friends, 

It has been a great year. Twelve months of learning. .

Of learning, and of working out ways to use the lessons learnt to improve our work. Of failing forward by looking backwards.

The main point of learning foor us came in the first quarter of the year.

We learnt from professional teachers and friends teaching in the U.S. about how to engage students and how to make social contracts with them.

This was timely since it came at a time when student disengagement was at an all tiime high and indiscipline was proportionately similar.

Many teachers had given the school's rating at 20% score on discipline.

Through hardwork, making tough calls on staff and accountability the rating shifted at the end of the year. Student engagement was once again looking up. Indiscipline changed and the story was that the school had been remarkably transformed without using corporal punishment as many parents and teachers had initially thought.

We consistently applied the methods taught us during our student engagement workshops and became accountable to each other as teachers on the results we were looking for. The parents gave the support we needed and as a team we all worked to raising the student engagement climate within our school.

Though not where we would like it to be, the student engagement levels in the school improved. At the end of the year, the teachers gave a rating of about 60% from the previous score of 20%.

Some of the lessons learnt are:-

1. Where there are assumptions, fight them to get to the truth- truth liberates people to take right action

2. We learnt to face the truth even when it was ugly- Facing truth inspires corrective action

3. We learnt that high trust leads to swift action and hence almost rapid results.

 We now are acting on these lessons getting information that will lead to truth, using truth and trusting each ther to deliver results that leads to changed lives.

 

Students Studying
Students Studying
 
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