Education  Kenya Project #47809

We're Excited! LRC Annex and Maker Space!

by Kenya Connect (KC)
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We're Excited!  LRC Annex and Maker Space!
We're Excited!  LRC Annex and Maker Space!
We're Excited!  LRC Annex and Maker Space!
We're Excited!  LRC Annex and Maker Space!
We're Excited!  LRC Annex and Maker Space!
We're Excited!  LRC Annex and Maker Space!
We're Excited!  LRC Annex and Maker Space!
We're Excited!  LRC Annex and Maker Space!
We're Excited!  LRC Annex and Maker Space!
We're Excited!  LRC Annex and Maker Space!
We're Excited!  LRC Annex and Maker Space!
We're Excited!  LRC Annex and Maker Space!
We're Excited!  LRC Annex and Maker Space!
Team Kenya Connect Celebrates the LLC!
Team Kenya Connect Celebrates the LLC!

As we reported last month, the Library Learning Center is officially OPEN! Students and parents are stopping by to borrow books, women are creating laptop bags and mats in the Maker Space, and workshops are being conducted on the rooftop! We are so grateful for your donation that made this building become a reality. The Library Learning Center is a vibrant and fun center of learning and we can't thank you enough. Visitors from throughout Kenya are telling us it's the finest community library they have seen in Kenya!

We thought you would enjoy seeing a video of the project from start to finish in this Library Learning Center construction VIDEO.  We also wanted to capture some of the fun of the Gala opening for our friends outside of Kenya. We invite you to watch the GALA VIDEO.

As we mentioned, our rooftop meeting space is being used for Teacher Professional Development Workshops and student Enrichment programs. Just last week, Secondary The School Fund and Expanding Horizons Students participated in an engaging session on Conflict Resolution by our friends at Bridges for Peace Foundation.

 At the conclusion of the workshops the students shared:

"One should understand his/her needs to solve a conflict in a win-win situation." (Nickson)
"I have learned that I should focus on the problem and not the person when solving a conflict." (Jonathan)
"Today I have known that conflicts are unavoidable. It doesn’t mean you are a bad person when you have a conflict. Even good people are faced by conflicts." (Mwende)
We're working to provide students with the tools to be future leaders and to be successful in their personal and professional lives. Thank you for helping us to have the resources in order to make a continued difference in our community.
Having our new Learning Library Center means that we can provide more workshops and programs for students, teachers, and parents. Thank you for making this gorgeous building a reality. We are eternally grateful!
Conflict Resolution Workshop
Conflict Resolution Workshop
Learning Together!
Learning Together!

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A Gala Celebration of the LLC!
A Gala Celebration of the LLC!

The Library Learning Center is officially OPEN! Three hundred guests gathered at the Library Learning Center for the Gala Celebration on June 23. Distinguished guests including Vice Chancellor Professor Geoffrey Muluvi of Southeastern Kenya University, Christopher Machin, Cultural Affairs Officer U.S. Embassy, Steven Kilonzo, Chief of Staff for the Deputy Governor, Cindy Dyer, US Board Chair, Benedict Nganga, Kenyan Board Chair, and Tina Thyaka, Kenya Board member. Head teachers, community members and other partners spoke too (see attached program) with Executive Directors James Musyoka and Sharon Runge sharing reflections and deep appreciation to the hundreds of donors for the project.

LitClub students from Ngangani recited poems and LitMoms performed joyful traditional dance. Following the Gala speeches, the ribbon was cut by Vice Chancellor Muluvi, Christopher Machin and James Musyoka and the doors were officially opened to the LLC! The guests toured the building and saw the beautiful murals, colorful and child-friendly library, and the Maker Space filled with sewing machines and supplies. They saw inspirational quotes including, At the moment that we persuade a child, any child, to cross that threshold, that magic threshold into a library, we change their lives forever, for the better. It’s an enormous force for good." By President Barack Obama and "No matter where you're from, your dreams are valid” by Lupita Nyong'o. These quotes and others on the walls of the building are encouraging students and community members to dream big. The guests also were inspired seeing the STEPS to READING that were donated by individuals, schools and a publisher.

People marveled at the robust library collection and one 78 year-old guest said that he would return to get his first library card! 

Wendy Bakers, a baker in Nairobi who grew up in Wamunyu, made a special cake in the shape of the Library Learning Center. Board member Jackie Crispell, the Vice Chancellor and architect Jospehine Mwinyi cut the cake which was shared with everyone. A traditional lunch was served with goat, chicken, chapati and other wonderful dishes.

We are grateful to all the donors and supporters of the project.  The Library Learning Center is a true gift to the community, especially the students and teachers in Wamunyu.

Over 300 guests joined in the celebration!
Over 300 guests joined in the celebration!
Exec. Director James Musyoka Greets the Guests
Exec. Director James Musyoka Greets the Guests
LitMoms Perform at the Gala
LitMoms Perform at the Gala
The Library has over 30,000 books!
The Library has over 30,000 books!
Cutting the LLC cake!
Cutting the LLC cake!
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Solar means clean energy at the LLC!
Solar means clean energy at the LLC!

Some terrific updates!

  • The Library Learning Center (LLC) passed the building inspection.  The contractor is fixing a few things on the "punch list", but preparations are underway for furnishing and setting up the space!
  • Solar was installed this week!

We are thrilled that our second building will also be powered by the sun. Being energy independent means that our programs continue, even when the power grid in Wamunyu is disrupted.This bank of solar panels will power all operations in the new building.  We are hooked to the grid in case of malfunction, but we are excited to be using clean energy most of the time. The solar panels were partially funded by a grant from St. John's Episcopal Church's Matthew 25 fund and the remainder from generous donors like you. 

Since the LLC has passed inspection, furniture is being set up in the new spaces.  Specially made bookcases for our library have been built by local craftsmen. They were designed with a display space so children can see different books highlighted. We have also crafted benches that will be placed alongside the wall so parents and students can read in the library while others will sit in study carrels to do work. Having the bookshelves are especially timely since we received 20,000 books from Books for Africa at the end of March bringing our total collection to 30,000!

The building of the Library Learning Center has brought jobs to our community. As much as possible, locally craftspeople were hired to construct the building. During these final stages, local woodworkers and other artisans are building furniture, painting quotes, and assisting with landscaping.

We couldn't do this project without generous donors like you. Our staff, partner teachers and students, and the community are excited about new opportunities for learning in the library, maker space, meeting space, and sound studio. Thank you for helping to make our dreams come true!

20,000 Books from Books for Africa!
20,000 Books from Books for Africa!
The solar system!
The solar system!
Storing the power in batteries
Storing the power in batteries
Locally crafted bookshelves
Locally crafted bookshelves
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The LLC is Gorgeous!
The LLC is Gorgeous!

There's been a buzz in Wamunyu.  "Look at that new big building at Kenya Connect?"  What's it going to be?  It's beautiful!"

We are very pleased to report that our Library Learning Center (LLC) is almost complete. As the new building grew, we realized that the LRC Annex was not an apt name so we changed it to include the Library in the title since it's an essential component. The exterior work is almost complete and all the painting has been finished inside. The contractor is putting on the final touches and we are expecting to take occupancy in April!

As you will see in the pictures, the building has beautiful features and was designed for good airflow and access.  As the structure and painting of the building is being completed, carpenters are busy building bookshelves for the Library. Our staff is selecting inspirational quotes to paint on the library and maker space walls.

Meanwhile, we have schools in the U.S. and beyond raising money for our Steps to Reading program.  Any school, inidvidual or group that raises $1000 will choose a spine of a book to be painted on one of the 53 steps in the building. Our goal is not only to have the building be functional, we want it to inspire our community to be lifelong readers and learners!

The entire team at Kenya Connect knows that this building is as a result of friends and donors making generous donations to make this project become a reality. Thank you for your contribution in creating the FIRST library and makerspace in our subounty and for helping Kenya Connect to expand our robust enrichment and empowerment programs!  

Another view of the LLC
Another view of the LLC
Open Air Hallways!
Open Air Hallways!
An inviting entrance
An inviting entrance
Walkways and a driveway
Walkways and a driveway
Bookshelves with space for a display
Bookshelves with space for a display
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Raising the Roof
Raising the Roof

This week the roof posts have been installed in preparation for the craftsmen to "Raise the Roof!"  This is the last major work to be done on the structure of the building.  At the same time, the exterior finishing is nearly complete and the flooring and plastering has begun indoors.  Our staff has begun ordering furniture for the new library and we are working closely with our new partner, Team4Tech, to help equip our Maker Space.  It looks like we are still on target for the building to be completed by the end of the year.

Recently, staff members Cyrus and Primma filmed a tour of the building under construction.  We invite you to take a few minutes to get an insiders glimpse of how the building is shaping up.  

TOUR OF LRC ANNEX

We are thrilled with the new space and we are already planning for library programs, robotics classes, and teacher workshops!

The building of the LRC Annex is thanks to donors like you, who have made this building a reality.  We plan to do a "soft" opening in February during World Read Aloud Day with a more extensive celebration in June.  2022 is Kenya Connect's 20th anniversary and we are excited to be celebrating with the opening of the LRC Annex!

Thank you for your support of this project.  Funding is still needed for the solar lights and some of the furniture.  We invite you to make an additional donation on GivingTuesday, November 30th.  GlobalGiving has $1 million in matching funds so all gives will be matched!

A view of the exterior
A view of the exterior
A view of the interior
A view of the interior
Another Exterior View
Another Exterior View
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Organization Information

Kenya Connect (KC)

Location: Wamunyu, Machakos - Kenya
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @KenyaConnect
Project Leader:
James Musyoka
Wamunyu, Machakos Kenya
$39,209 raised of $50,000 goal
 
146 donations
$10,791 to go
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