As we retire our wonderful 1000 Voices for Hope campaign, I feel that it's important to highlight the great successes that have achieved at Mahiga Hope High School. This is Turk Pipkin writing, project leader and the co-founder of The Nobelity Project. Ten years ago, when I first came to Kenya at the invitation of Nobel laureaute Wangari Maathai, I took a side trip to the remote community of Mahiga to plant trees with the kids at Mahiga Primary.
In the decade to come those first tiny seedlings have grown into 30- and 40-foot-tall trees, and the skinny kids in tattered clothes who helped me plant them have grown into educated high school graduates, many of whom are excelling at colleges and universities.
Mahiga Primary had no water and we partnered with the community to build a solar-powered, UV-purified rainwater system that still functions perfectly today. The power enabled us to build a computer lab and a library.
The area had no high school within practical walking distance, so we partnered again, working with the parents and staff to build a mondern high school, significant portions of which were funded through 1000 Voices for Hope. Willie Nelson was our first donor, an auspicous beginning. Hundreds of donors followed his lead on the Global Giving platform, and at events and schools far and wide.
Our idea for a RainWater Court that would serve as a basketball court, meeting space and giant rainwater system won an international design competition, and Nike and Architecture for Humanity partnered with us to build it. The community wanted to dream big with us, and we envisioned a double-stream school. Eight classrooms, science labs, a library and computer lab, an efficient kitchen and a dining hall, football fields, gardens and more.
Construction at Mahiga Hope High School is now complete, including all of those infrastructure components and more. The first class of nine students has grown to an enrollment of 200 (650 on the full campus from ECD through grade 12). In addition to the academic studies, Mahiga Hope has championship boys and girls athletics teams, and championsip music and dance troupes.
Mahiga Hope has already graduated three classes of Seniors. Many of those have moved on to college and University, Many have already found gainful employment. There example inspired neighboring communities, and we have now partnered to build two additional high schools that are also turning out students with good educations and promising futures.
Our motto was "Education Shouldn't End after the 8th Grade!" Each of these graduate students is an example of what can be achieved across the globe when every student in every land receives a full high school education. There are large education gaps across the developing world, and at home in the U.S. where we live as well. Our mission is to bridge those gaps. And all of you have been the key to building those bridges at Mahiga.
Though the 1000 Voices campaign on Global Giving is concluding, we hope you'll continue to engage with Mahiga and our many other partner schools thru our website at www.nobelity.org. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Spread the word! Hope lives, and only those willing to work for a better world, can turn Hope in to Reality.
With love from all the students at Mahiga, and all of the Nobelity Project team!
Turk (and Christy) Pipkin
Mahiga Hope Girls Dance and Music Troupe
Magi Girls Basketball teammembers
College Bound Scholars from Mahiga Hope High