Children
 Kenya
Project #8204

Helping young Kenyans survive and thrive in Kisumu

by HANDS AROUND THE WORLD

At PALUOC workshop, we took some days off from 22nd December to 4th January. Most of the students are back and I am looking forward to receiving more students this year.

Last year was a good year. I worked very closely with the three candidates towards their exam that was done in December. It was nice to present two ladies in the government test as this is very rare. According to me, they did their best though all is now left in the hands of the examiner.

I am looking forward to this year as I now have four categories of trainees. Bonaventure’s group who can now do most things on their own, the group that has just done their exam, the group that joined towards the end of last year and finally the new recruits this year. I enjoy working with these students, starting from the level of identifying tools to the level which one is now able to make an item.

I would want to thank you very much for the support and encouragement which Hands Around The World sponsors have offered PALUOC carpentry training and made it possible for me to be able to transform the lives of these young people in Kisumu.

Thank you very much and pass my greetings to your family and supporters.

Paul.

Some long time friends of HATW recently visited Paluoc training workshop. For this update I have included some extracts from their feedback;


“Our reunion with Paul was lovely – he was as we remembered him, quiet, sincere, knowledgeable. He is very committed to his training programme, his workshop and more especially, his trainees. He was pleased to show us around, to explain his policy and plans, to introduce the trainees and even teach Jeff a carpentry technique that was new to him!”

“There are currently 10 students on role; Bonaventure, Steven J, Kennedy, Maureen, Jacqueline, Walter, Charles, Steven, Daniel, Caleb…… Jacqueline has a child and is expecting another and in consequence is rather an unreliable student. Maureen, Jacqueline and Walter are entered for this year’s exams”

“Daniel and Steven J, who are orphans are living on site and are proving to be very responsible caretakers”

“Bonaventure has been at the centre 4 years and lives locally – he is very trustworthy and now acting as Paul’s assistant.”

“Paul gives the trainees dinner money on a daily basis as he finds this ensures they are fed, don’t take too long for lunch and use the money for it’s intended purpose!”

“All the hand tools are sharpened personally by Paul as he doesn’t want the students working with second grade tools. They have a well thought out security system whereby the students have all made their own tool boxes which live in one of three secure cupboards - once unlocked the students are responsible for the good order of their tool kit. Each student takes it in turns to be responsible for the workshop for a day – tidiness, security etc – but they seem reluctant to take this on!”

I hope that these extracts give a flavour of the workshop. Paul sets high standards and is giving these youngsters a good opportunity to gain experience and skills that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives. They continue to need a bit of support but are slowly working towards self-sufficiency.

Bonaventure at work
Bonaventure at work

Work and training at Paluoc Carpentry workshop continues to go well. The workshop has carried on as usual with teaching the trainees new carpentry skills, whilst at the same time seeking real carpentry/joinery work for them to do to help them earn a few shillings for themselves and their families.

Most of their work is to do with providing desks, benches and lockers for local schools. The school population of Kisumu continues to grow quite rapidly so there is a fairly steady demand. However the demand for desks etc is very seasonal. Schools want them and order them at the beginning of the school year but by this stage all of those orders have been delivered.

There is some demand for bed frames for people’s homes, and for tables and chairs for churches and community centres, but these are not sufficient to provide a continuous flow of orders and work.

In some ways this is good as it allows Paul to concentrate on teaching new skills to the trainees, but if the workshop is eventually to be self-sufficient then they always need to be on the lookout for other ways of earning money.

Recently Paul has been loaning out some of his more experienced trainees to help with carpentry jobs on building sites - they have been fixing wardrobes, door frames and doors.

This is Bonaventure, one of Paul’s most skilful and trusted trainees fitting a wardrobe.

Kennedy and Stephen are hanging a door in a newly built home.

Meanwhile Maurine, one of Paul’s two female trainees, works at improving her skills back at the workshop.

Slowly but steadily the workshop is establishing itself and becoming accepted as a successful way of providing free training for youngsters who have earlier missed out on their education.

Thank you very much for your ongoing support for these needy young people!

Kennedy and Stephen tackle a door
Kennedy and Stephen tackle a door
Maurine learns new skills
Maurine learns new skills
Stephen
Stephen

Things are progressing well at Paluoc Carpentry workshop. They are beginning to establish a reputation for good training: which means that students pass their exams and the workshop produces reliable workers. Recruitment is getting easier.

Needless to say the record is not a perfect one;

Stephen (above) is the first born in a family of two children. One boy and one girl. His education stopped at standard four. His mother died when he was ten years old. He lives with an aunt who has a small business in second hand clothes. His father repairs shoes.
He has thrived at the workshop. His attendance is very good. He took his grade 3 exams last year and passed. He is now learning how to make different types of furniture.

Then there is Jackline, below: She is the fourth in a family of nine children. Six of the children in their family have died. She is married with four children. Her husband is a mechanic.
She is a very committed trainee and has done a lot of practical joinery work. She is a candidate for this year’s examination, at the same time as being a full time mother of four. She has every prospect of passing, and her success has led to a second female trainee joining the workshop.

Another trainee who sat and passed his exams after time at the workshop was David (bottom). His attendance was irregular and he was unreliable and continues to be so still.
His background may help explain: He was the fifth born in a family of nine children, he left primary school in class five. Both parents are alive. The mother helps people with small jobs like washing clothes. The father is mentally disturbed and is unable to do any work.

The workshop is doing a good job with the sort of youngsters who need a second chance. Long may it continue!

And thank you very much for your support!

Jackline
Jackline
David
David

As I sit here in Paul Ochieng’s office the workshop is a hive of activity and very, very noisy. The ear protectors that we bought are sat in the office beside me. Nelson, the husband of Emily our caretaker and also a carpenter, is using the planing machine to cut timber to the required width and then planing it smooth. Paluoc gets paid for this; Paul tells me it’s a bob a foot, that’s K1sh per foot (About 135 Kenyan shillings = £1).

Stephen and Kennedy, and another lad, David are working on the desk seats. Evans is keen to point out that David is a new lad and doesn’t come very often. His father has recently died, but Paul hopes that long term David will be a decent student. Bonaventure is hard at work making chairs...

Please click on this video link to get the full flavour of all that is happening...

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Organization Information

HANDS AROUND THE WORLD

Location: MONMOUTH, MONMOUTHSHIRE - United Kingdom
Website: http:/​/​www.hatw.org.uk
Project Leader:
David Steiner
Executive Officer
Monmouth, United Kingdom
$4,681 raised of $8,500 goal
 
28 donations
$3,819 to go
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