We would like to sincerely thank all our sponsors for having such a caring and giving heart because without your financial support it would not be possible to continue the work we do at Roko 20 Academy.
An update on activities at Roko 20 Academy
Day Care Centre
In response to requests from our sponsored mothers we are pleased to announce the opening of our new Day Care Centre.
Following a recent instruction from the Ministry of Education preventing children younger than 4 in the classroom we decided that a Day Care Centre would enable us to help the younger siblings of our sponsored pupils to an early start in education as well as allowing the parent free time to search for work.
Always thinking of ways to become self-sustaining financially we opened up the Day Care to children of working parents who are looking for affordable child minding facilities.
Yvonne is 3 years old, the youngest in a family of 8 children. She used to be carried by her mother from village to village in search of casual work to feed her family. Now she is at the Roko 20 Day Care Centre with other young children enjoying games, making art, reading books and watching videos as we prepare her for formal schooling.
Parents Self Help Group
We are happy now to be fully supported by parents of our sponsored pupils as they continue to volunteer twice a month at school as a way of paying back for assisting their children. Its humbling to see everyone working together doing what they can for the sole purpose of providing pupils with a decent education. Their help goes a long way to lighten the load of our two cooks who have a lot of work preparing breakfast, breaktime snacks and lunch as well as cleaning the compound, classes and latrines.
To further help these parents become financially self-sustaining we have formed a Self-Help Group. This is a new group of mothers who meet at school every month to discuss ways of raising money for start-up businesses and projects. They are each regularly contributing a small amount towards a savings scheme.
We started the new term in January 2018 on a high! Never before have we had so many sponsored pupils. We are delighted because this is our mission being fulfilled. The 65 sponsored pupils now outnumber the fee paying students.
We are also rather thrilled to have had 3 fee paying pupils transferred from other local schools to Roko 20. We must be doing something right!
A school trip to Nairobi with a group of 84 pupils, 10 staff, 2 parents, 2 volunteers and 2 elderly ladies from our Elderly Ladies Group, was held at the start of this term. We visited Daphne Sheldrick’s Elephant Orphanage, which is the most successful orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation programme in the world, followed by a visit to Nairobi’s Mamba village famous for its Crocodile Farm. Everyone had a fabulous day.
Early this year we were delighted to have formed a link with Narberth Community Primary School in Wales and thanks to their children, staff and members of Narberth and Whitland Rotary Club we received a lot of flip flops, shoes and crocs in aid of the ‘Flip Flop Campaign’. The campaign helped to highlight a disease called jiggers which affects many of our pupils. Jiggers, or chigoe fleas, are sand fleas found in the rural areas that burrow into the skin and lay eggs. They cause swelling, itching and infection and if left untreated can lead to amputation and even death in the worst cases. The footwear helps to protect their feet from the fleas which multiply in the dust floors of their homes.
We are very grateful for the donation of 12 computers received at the end of last year. Volunteers from overseas are doing an excellent job bringing our pupils into the 21st century. Pupils starting from Class 1 are very eager to learn all about computers and it is their favourite lesson of the day.
Many of our new pupils are from the surrounding villages or the town of Murang’a, although this term we admitted a brother and sister from Nairobi. Their family were evicted from their home because they couldn’t meet the rent and so ended up living on the streets. Fortunately they knew someone from our area and moved to help out on a local farm living rent free in exchange for work. Despite the holes in the roof of their tiny two room mud brick house, and the dirty water they have to drink from the river, they feel they have landed on their feet. We accepted the two children from the family on the sponsorship programme and both have settled in really well, enjoying their new school.
As is usual before each rainy season, we assist each of the 40 members of our Elderly Ladies Group by donating a kilo each of maize seeds and beans. Last week the group visited the school and we had the pleasure of donating to each one of them. In addition we were able to donate some balls of wool for certain ladies to make their beautiful traditional kiondos (baskets). These are sold to visitors from abroad or in the UK and also helps to bring in an income for these ladies.
Our work at Roko 20 continues and we are all committed to providing our children with the best education and opportunities that we possibly can. Our pupils are thriving in our environment and are so happy to be at Roko 20 that you can find them running to school in the mornings as they are so eager to start the day. I am not exagerating. I heard one boy say that he wished there were no school holidays so he could be in school all the time.
On behalf of Roko 20 Academy I would like to say a big thank you to all of you for believing in us and continuing to support us.
2017 HAS BEEN A GOOD YEAR FOR ROKO 20
Whilst 2017 hasn't been without its challenges we have seen many improvements achieved as a direct result of the support we receive from you.
Of particular note is the fact that end term exam results showed a major improvement across all classes. Exam results at the end of the year have been better than ever. The Head of the Teachers' Commission recently commented that our exam results were better than average for the schools in our local area. Even our pupils with special needs have improved their social skills and academic skills. Our highest scoring class was Pre-unit class with a mean score of 447 out of 500. That's not bad! We commend our teachers who are doing a great job.
Our new Class 4 opens in January. Funds were not available to carry out our plan of building a new classroom and instead we got the builders in to convert our nursery and Pre-Unit classes into three. Whilst not ideal as the rooms are smaller it is still manageable.
We ended the school year with 55 sponsored pupils with another 5 pupils being sponsored at local secondary schools. This is the most sponsored pupils we've had. We are fulfilling our missionof assisting those most vulnerable childrento a good education.
Parents and guardians of our sponsored children volunteer two mornings a month at the school as a way of getting involved and paying back. This promotes independence and demonstrates to their children that they are actively involved in their education. This season they helped us to prepare the land to grow maize and beans which are the staple foods for the school's lunch programme.
Elderly Ladies Group
A kiondo is a traditional handmade Kenyan baskets mostly made by the elderly in Kenya. We have a group of 41 elderly ladies all over the age of 70 who visit the school to socialise, have lunch, do gentle exercise and make these beautiful baskets. A number of these elderly ladies are grandmothers to our sponsored children and have been left struggling to raise them.
Roko 20 buys and sells these baskets in the UK allowing these ladies a decent income.
Wambui is one of our elderly ladies. She is unusual in that she has never married and there is no one to support her in her old age. She works a small piece of land loaned to her and grows maize, beans and other vegetables and fruit to sustain her. Wambui recently sold us a good number of Kiondos and delightedly told us that she would use the money we gave her to buy a baby cow.
Our goat project is moving on successfully and we have had three kids born this year which have been passed onto other families in need. Thanks to your kindness a good quality male goat was purchased and this is 'servicing' other goats within our community.
We were kindly donated enough money from Dentsu Aegis to purchase 12 second hand computers which is great news as we can now introduce our pupils to technology with computer lessons starting in January.
Asante sana, thank you very much for your continued support.
I have lost count of the number of times during rainy season that the school van has got stuck in mud along the potholed and dusty mud road to school. Sometimes we've needed an army of people to dig us out. A 20 minute journey can quite easily turn into 2 hours. The good news is that construction of the new tarmac road started earlier this year is almost complete and we will soon be making the journey to school without any damage to the van or delays.
We have just begun the final term of the school year and our team of teachers are on a mission to prepare pupils for the end of year exams. We employed a new teacher in training to help us improve literacy andd I'm confident that those pupils who need a little more attention will catch up quickly.
The library still remains at the heart of the school and the number of pupils using it has increased during early mornings and lunch break sessions.
The highlight of the second term was our school's performance on Kenya's favourite national radio station Kameme FM. Pupils did great singing a medley of songs and hymns, reciting poems and telling riddles.
The goat project continues to assist those families to earn a small income selling milk. We have another two kids recently born in the past couple of months to add to the project. When they reach the appropraite age they will be passed on to another family in need giving them the opportunity of an income.
Roko 20 Academy has not been without its challenges this year however, we have a good team of staff who are passionate about their jobs and committed to Roko's success.
Our pupils, who are some of the most disadvantaged in our community, are healthy, happy and being taught in an environment free from fear and corporal punishment.
Thank you so much for your continued support.
When we met Peter he was still at Secondary School and very stressed. His father had recently died and after the funeral his mother disappeared leaving him to single handedly raise his three younger brothers. With no-one to support him he struggled to provide food and pay school fees whilst continuing his school studies. We assisted Peter with food and basic requirements and sponsored his youngest brother to an education at Roko 20. We also sponsored his two brothers at nearby schools.
Not surprisingly Peter left school with poor results. In January we employed him as a farmworker at Roko 20 and he has proven to be a keen and committed member of staff. He planted tomato seeds in the school's greenhouse and recently had a bumper harvest of tomatoes which supplemented the school's lunch programme and also brought in an income as he sold to the community. He is learning many new skills and currently is learning to drive. Peter's situation has changed for the better and he is now happy supporting his family and has even bought a goat, some hens and rabbits.
The goat project allows parents and guardians of our sponsored pupils to receive an income and provide milk for their family. The first born kid is given to another family in need. Peter is now managing the goat project which has a total of 15 recipients. We purchased two female goats for the school's own use to provide milk for our lunch programme.
The number of pupils sponsored at Roko 20 has increased to 54 with a further 4 being sponsored at other schools. Each child receives a uniform, books, stationery, shoes, underwear, a jacket, food and basic medical care.
Our library is really coming along and we now have a number of donated second hand and new books. The class is made from stone and is cool and bright making it the ideal space for reading. We have employed a part time library assistant who is also improving literacy with early morning and afternoon remedial reading practice.
Our success is down to you because without your generosity and support we would not have the resources to serve our community.
A big thank you from us all at Roko 20.
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