Barrett, a student, says, " There are many good books at this library and there is even electricity so that I can read at night!”
We have been working hard as a community to complete our objectives for this Global Giving/PATHWAYS project. I want to tell you about the progress we have made in the last few months. You can't imagine the difference you are making by supporting this project! Thank you!
Solar Panel Project Progress We have now purchased a single solar panel of rating 100-watts and its other components and set up a lighting and heating system (see photo). This has enabled us to light all of the classrooms and library. We plan also to buy a heater for use to provide warmth to chicken in our poultry yard utilizing the solar panel. We have set up the following enterprising units within the educational center:
-Barber shop which serves pupils in our centre and the surrounding schools and communities.
-Phone charging business which helps our members to charge their phones, torches and domestic lights. (see cell phone recharging photo).
-Battery charging business.
-Phone repair and electronics repair.
Plans are underway to teach use of solar energy to the local community so as to reduce over-reliance on wood fuel and oil for the purposes of cooking and lighting. This we will accomplish by serving as a model of efficient use of solar energy to cook, light, heat and irrigate lands to enhance food production. A sub-sect of the community group has been tasked with coming up with ways that this can be achieved on a large scale so as to help as many community members as possible.
Future Plans:Opening a computer school and tailoring school to train locals especially women and girls who have dropped out of schools in the surrounding area and a technical training institute in beauty, engineering and craft to train youths who fail to get a chance to join government polytechnics and universities so as to make them be self reliant.
Classroom Project Progress
We have constructed three classrooms measuring 25 by 20 feet which on can accomodate up to 72 pupils. Completion of these three new classrooms has enabled us to accomplish the following:
-Increased enrollment of children to the school from a previous figure of 100 pupils to 140. This has enabled us to help more orphans and girls.
-Better learning conditions for the orphans. We have been able to move them from the previous mud-walled classes to a permanent building which has little dust and hence lower rates of respiratory tract diseases. This has resulted in them spending fewer days at home or at the clinic hence improved academic performance.
-Increased employment opportunities to the members of our community group and locals in the surrounding area (see photo of security guard). We recently recruited three new staff members to cater for the increased numbers of pupils.
-Improved standards of learning due to less congestion as a result of the additional space for learning.
-The additional space has enabled us to employ more teachers so that teacher-pupil interaction is improved. This has resulted in improved performance as witnessed in the good class average attained in our end of year examinations.
Future Plans:Provision of vocational training and learning resources to orphans, girls, women and other disadvantaged members of the community during school breaks at the educational center. For this to be a reality we have already embarked on plans to identify and recruit trainers and tutors who can help facilitate such learning. Such vocational training will cover the following areas: crop production e.g. farming in drought resistant crop varieties like cassava (see vegetable garden photo), animal husbandry e.g. goat rearing, rabbit keeping (see goat photo), organic farming practices, forestry (see tree nursery photo), cottage industry ideas e.g. assembling solar panels, making sanitary pads, basketry, tailoring, business entrepreneurship.
Library Project Progress
We have renovated the library building and stocked close to 300 books and reference materials. We have also employed a library attendant to assist in running the library. Examination candidates from the surrounding community are registered in the library and they get access to our library facilities for seven days a week including at night.Community members have been very receptive and a number have even donated a few reading materials to benefit everyone. Completing the library renovation and stocking has enabled us to accomplish the following:
-Improved learning conditions for pupils at the educational center who are now able to access reference materials locally.
-Empowerment of school going children and community members through provision of quality reference material and conducive reading environment has been made possible. We expect reduced crime, drug abuse and HIV/AIDS rates in the areas because youths are kept busy with academic work
-Increased employment opportunities to the locals. We have directly employed one library attendant and we expect to indirectly employ up to five more in the course of the year.
Future Plans: Because there is only one other community owned library in our Homa-Bay District, our plan is to expand our library to match the need.
In closing, your contribution to our project through Global Giving has resulted in a transformation of our educational system for girls and orphans and the community at large. We see this as a new beginning and believe more progress is possible if we all remain together and continue to work in the same unwavering spirit. Wagire community is ready to make a change in its young generation. This means a future full of promise and hope. Our wish is that these benefits reaped as a result of relentless toil of a small community like Wagire, could be emulated elsewhere in neighboring communities. It is our noble role to make sure that this happens, and therefore, the support of our loyal donors, well wishers, local administration, community members and members of our community group is much appreciated.
Thank you, you are changing lives!
Outside of new classroom building
Cell phone charging station powered by solar panel
Children from new school graduating
Security guard for school and library