School saying thank you!
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Progress Report: July 21, 2011 - Update from Project Director Isaac Ngere (PATHWAYS Leadership for Progress scholar and 4th year medical school student at the University of Nairobi)
Project Location: Kenya, Nyanza Province, Homaby District, Rangeway Division, Gem West Location, Kanyanjwa Sublocation, Wagire Village
Please accept my sincere thanks for your support of our community project (Educating 80 girls and Orphans in Kenya) (see photo). In the past three months we have focused on improving the lives of children in our community, especially in providing educational opportunities for orphans and girls. To achieve this objective, the community has come together to work cooperatively to ensure the success of this Global Giving/PATHWAYS project. We owe so much to you for your support and generosity.
I want you to be assured that this project has made a huge impact on the lives of my community members. Your contribution has changed lives, and will continue to have a positive impact on many in the future. The initial project objectives have been fully achieved, as is reported below, and the community is energized to continue and expand the project as I describe in the final section.
Progress to date:
The original project objectives included installation of a solar panel, construction of a school with three classrooms, and establishment of a library on site. The first 2 objectives have been accomplished, with the library scheduled for completion in December 2011. The project has had a very positive impact on the community leading to additional efforts to generate income, in part to sustain the educational activities.
The solar panel generates 100 watts for 12 hours each day, sufficient to power 12 energy saving bulbs for 4 hours and for charging up to 30 cell phone batteries daily (see photo). This allows for additional study time for students and library users and for essential use of cell phones. It should be noted that although this community lacks direct connection to a power grid (but see below under plans), cell phone use here, as elsewhere in Kenya, is both widespread and critical to many everyday functions (e.g. banking) otherwise made difficult because of distal locations. This is the first project in the region that has provided access to solar power. Community feedback on the usefulness of the project in solving has been very positive. One student says "It is so much easier to do my school work with the lights.” (see photo)
The second goal, construction of three classrooms, has been accomplished with the acquisition and installation of a modular building housing the three class rooms and is fully in use on a regular basis (see photo). A director has been appointed (see photo) who, along with three teachers provides daily instruction to students from pre-school through the eighth grade, and over 100 students are enrolled. The parents are enthusiastic regarding the addition of the school and the opportunity it provides to the students. Many of the children must walk a considerable distance to reach the school, nonetheless enrollment has grown and attendance is consistent showing that the school is highly valued by the community. Daily student-teacher contact time has increased from 6 hours to 7.5 hours. Feedback from the children, parents and guardians of the orphans has been very positive. Eunice, one of the teachers talks about one of her students who is an orphan,"... She feels like she has a home in this school, she receives breakfast and a supportive structure....". (see photo)
The third objective was to establish and improve a Library with dedicated space, shelving and an array of suitable books. This has been accomplished with space prepared and over 100 books acquired (see photo). There are presently some 50 registered library users and access has been improved via the solar panels providing additional hours of light for study. The pupils at the Nyakongo Educational Centre also use our library facilities. We are waiting for more book shelves to be constructed for our books. After that, we can finalize the library building.
The success of the project to date has been positively viewed by the community and motivated them to begin other activities to improve the economic status of the community to, among other goals, help parents to pay for school fees and uniforms so they may fully benefit form the educational opportunity now available to their children. As I mentioned earlier, we are initiating more activities:
-Crop production e.g. farming in drought resistant crop varieties like cassava (see photo).
-Animal husbandry e.g. goat and rabbit rearing.
-Organic farming practices to reduce pollution.
-Forestry (tree planting to reduce erosion).
-Fish farming, taking advantage of a government initiative to dig small ponds and stock with fingerlings. (see photo)
Future Plans: New initiatives adopted by the community and added to the original scope of the Global giving/PATHWAYS Project:
-Connecting the village to the power grid now feasible because the government has brought power lines to a few hundred yards from the village. This would also provide power for pumps to allow for irrigations and thus improve crop yields.
-Sponsor one of the school teachers to obtain a teaching certificate that would make her eligible for government salary assistance to the school.
Thank you so much, you are changing lives for the better!
Solar panel electric box
Girl working in class w/lighting
Girl who is orphaned