As I write this, our final report on this project, we find ourselves in an enviable position. Not only have we completed the first dormitory on Ikirwa School campus, but that dormitory is full beyond capacity. It is the time to celebrate the realizing at last our longtime dream of becoming a boarding school. A dream that would have not become true without your help and support, our dear donors.
Of course, we would be remiss in saying that our fight is at an end, because many challenges remain. To accommodate both boys and girls, we had to convert one of the existing classrooms into a second dormitory. To house all seven primary grades, as well as nursery school, we had to split two of the larger existing classrooms in half, limiting capacity. More importantly, our students still do not have a proper dining hall, our cook a proper kitchen. Food is cooked in a corrugated metal shack, over an open fire. Meals are served on a concrete patio under a verandah roof, with no walls to protect from the elements.
Therefore, as we close this project we hope that you join us on the next chapter of our journey as we set out to find resource to build a dining hall and kitchen for our kids. Thank you for walking this road with us and for helping us bring our vision to reality.
Greetings from the beautiful Midawe our dear supporters,
In the month following my last update, the staff and residents of Midawe have been working around the clock to finish the dormitory and prepare for inspection and finally be able to accept boarding students who have been waiting patiently since the school year began. It wasn’t easy, the weather didn‘t always cooperate and logistics weren’t always on our side. We are still working on getting the funds needed to finish the adjoining bathrooms. However wiyh some workarounds the two dorms rooms are housing 11 girls and 17 boys, ages 5 to 15.
Our first graduating class will be sitting for their national exam on September 4th. It’s results will be recorded on their primary school diploma and will be the dingle most important factor in determining whether and where they continue their secondary education. Therefore all 7the grade students are required to stay at the dorms. That way they are able to receive additional instruction and review ahead of this very important test. We are thrilled that we were able to complete the dormitory this year so that our first graduating class can receive the preparation they need.
We truly wouldn’t have been able to get here without your unwavering support. Your trust in our mission has carried us to this point and is reflected in every brick and nail in this dormitory.
In a few short days Ikirwa School will be opening its doors for the new 2019 school year, our 7th in operation. We look forward to welcoming our first boarding students next month and graduating our first primary class in December. Due to a number of unexpected weather and logistical delays our projected completion date was delayed by almost a month. So, even though the school will open next week, we won’t begin boarding until early February. While it is disappointing that we won’t be able to take boarding student from day one, the delay is small compared to how long we have waited to be able to offer this option in the first place.
Most of the boarders will be students from class 7, who need the extra time to prepare for their final primary school exams. For a school that’s has been build from the ground up entirely with contributions from our grass roots supporters, we have learned to count our blessing, take obstacles in stride and keep moving forward. We sincerely hope that our next report will show you photos of those rooms filled with beds and their smiling inhabitants.
From all of us at Ikirwa School Project, may you have a happy and prosperous 2019.
Early fall is the season when students anxiously prapare for their national exams while we, the founders of Ikirwa line up the funds and resources to begin the anual construction project. It is always a race against the clock, to try and finishe the building under roof before the rains come and finish it in-time for the new school year, which begins in January.
In this manner, over the course of the past 6 years we have completed the construction of 8 classrooms and 3 offices as well as a kitchen and a dining verandah. Yet this year's project is particularly special. Ikirwa School is located in a very beautiful spot, at the very edge of the Midawe village, where the wooded farms begin a gentle climb and transition into the jungle covering the slopes of Mt. Meru. From the far border of the school campus one can look far over the vulcanic plains. The air is clear and the night is filled with the sounds of crickets. It is quiet, safe and peaceful - a perfect spot for a boarding school. Ikirwa School has been open for 6 years and we are finally ready to complete our visiton and make our campus a resident one. Two weeks ago we broke ground for the boys dormitory. Girls will be housed in a converted classroom with access to bathroom and shower. Offering a boarding option will meet the demand we have observed from more affluent Arusha families, who wish to have their kids in a healthy, natural setting away from city traffic and polution. It will also bring much needed cashflow to aid our mission of keeping day school rates affordable for local students, offering scholarships to those in most need, and, most importantly, making the school financially self-sustainable.
It was Henry Ford who said, "Coming together is the beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success". We thank you, our dedicated supporters for coming together and staying to help us make this vision a reality.
Greetings from Midawe! As I write this, unusually cold weather has descended on Mt. Meru foothills, while the students and staff of Ikirwa School are starting their second term. July is also the month when we finalize our plans for the year’s construction.
Over the break, we were able to put a metal roof over the kitchen and dining area and add a hand washing station. Our resident artist, Mr. Siphael Joseph, decorated the exterior walls of the new classroom building with images of human anatomy.
Upon reviewing our class sizes we have decided that for the next two years we will be able to accommodate our rising class 7 by installing a wooden wall and splitting one of the existing classrooms into two. So instead of constructing another classroom, we could direct our resources to finally construct a dormitory and take a giant step towards financial self-sufficiency for Ikirwa School. The location of the new dormitory will be at the quietest corner of the school property, closest to the forest and Mt. Meru. The planned building will house up to 30 children.
Looking at the campus, which now sports 3 classroom buildings, plus kitchen and dining area, is hard to believe that 6 years ago this land was just another plot among the farm fields, especially when these buildings fill with 138 inquisitive minds hard at work. From the ground up, we built this place of learning with the hold of our generous grassroots donor community, and we are thankful for each and every one of you.
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