It's finally happening! We've started building our school and we are so excited. In January 2015, the start of the new school year we would have had nowhere for our new class of children. We have now been promised by the contractor that the first phase will be complete by the end of November giving us time to raise the money and to set up the classrooms for the children to move into. Next month, October 2014, we shall be going out to Kenya ourselves and will be able to see it with our own eyes but we have at least had many photographs taken for you to look at. I hope they're not too boring!
As with all building work the ground had to be cleared and levelled. You might expect that the contractor would bring in diggers and he did, but they were in human form. 70 men managed to do all the digging in just two days. Amazing.
As you might expect there have been many visitors to the site. All the local dignitaries calling to inspect the work in progress. I'm not sure they had any greater idea than I with what they were looking at but apparently they sounded official. In true Kenyan fashion they all promised great support for the project and we live in hope.
This first phase consists of the foundations for the whole school and a four classroom block containing three toilets. This section will eventually be a self-contained unit for the younger children but in January we are expecting our older children to be the occupants. Until the funds have been raised for the rest of the ground floor which will include the kitchen the children will need to walk back to our rented building at lunchtime for their mid-day meal. It's only a five minute walk but probably too far for three year olds.
The space that has been released in the rented building will allow us to set up the computer suite again (a grand name for some very old PCs) and more importantly we shall be able to set up a clinic for our children, their siblings and their mothers. Such an exciting time. I can’t wait.
A big thank you to all of you. This school will make such a difference to the community of Mgongeni.
Every year we spend March and October in Kenya. Until this year when one of the founding trustees needed urgent medical treatment and the March trip was cancelled. You could feel the panic pouring into the emails from Kenya. They were not coping. It was a difficult time. But then the panic abated, the emails became more confident and our head teacher started telling us the problems and how she resolved them.They have really grown and I feel so proud. It makes you realise that clouds really do have a silver lining.
You will remember Hope our deaf girl. I am told that she is now using sign language herself and is making great progress. Last year for a short time she had a companion, Samuel, who is also profoundly deaf. He was only with us for a couple of weeks and then, when his parents could not see any improvement, they took him away and sent him to a residential school for the deaf. Unfortunately, not only did he not progress there but he became timid and withdrawn. Well now he is back with us and is learning in the same class as Hope. He has a lot of catching up to do but he is making progress and his confidence has grown. We are hoping that this will be good for them both of them as they are the same age. At present though we desperately need to try and get hearing aids for him. The parents clearly cannot afford to buy them and neither can MSP. Samuel's parents would be delighted if anyone felt they could make a contribution towards the £500 needed.
And the building. Ah, I really had hoped to tell you just how far we had progressed. I should know from watching all those programmes on the television that construction is just so fraught with delays but... We really are hoping to start building in August. It's become so urgent as we really do not have anywhere for a new intake in January. But watch this space because the moment we start you will be the first to know.
Many thanks to all of you who have supported us in the past. You have made such a difference.
We have some fantastic news. Our rented school is full to bursting, 175 children, in fact we have had to temporarily disband the computer suite to use as a classroom but that is not the fantastic news. We really need to build our own school but although we had the money to build two classrooms we could not start without money for the foundations. We were beginning to think that it was not going to happen. So, no-one can imagine our delight when a private donor gave us the money we needed. This means that we can start the foundations in March 2014. We are now working hard to raise the money for another two classrooms to complete a secure four classroom block with toilets so hopefully when I write the next update there will be a photograph of construction taking place.
We were out in Kenya in November and hope to go back next month. I can't wait to see how Hope our profoundly deaf student is doing. We had been told that because she had been without any hearing for so long that it was unlikely that she would be able to make sense of what she heard. I can't tell you how fantastic it felt when last November I walked into the room and Hope called out 'Rita'. Her mother is brilliant and is working in school as a teaching assistant with her own child but without pay. Hope is such a lucky girl to have a mother like Joyce.
Then we have Stella. Stella is hard of hearing but she copes. Sort of. Our classrooms are small and Kenyan teachers have loud voices but it didn't stop her being on the periphery of everything that happens. Then Siemens donated hearing aids to a small number of deaf children in Mombasa and because we were in the loop through Hope's audiologist we were able to access some for Stella. I'm really excited at the thought of seeing her.
We take so much for granted in the UK. If you can't hear you get hearing aids and if you can't see you get glasses. No-one in Mgongeni wears glasses. Incredibly we had only just noticed. (Probably explains all the road traffic accidents). Then when I was there last time I saw a child reading with her nose almost on the page. A UK donor has given us the money for Triza's specs and also some for Said and we are hoping to be able to offer them to others who have a problem. I couldn't bear to be without my specs but I guess if it is see or eat you have no choice.
Such an exciting time for our community. I can't wait to see the start of our new building.
Two years ago Scottish charity Books Abroad sent 3000 books to our school Miche Bora Primary in Mgongeni. Enough books to fill four large lockable book cases. The books are great but so many of them are currently too advanced for our children, the oldest of whom are only nine years. It seemed such a pity locking away such lovely books when the need in the community was so great, and then we came up with a solution.
Thanks to the hard work of volunteers Julia and Jari from Finland and Helen from the UK who spent a total of 15 weeks working on Mustard Seed Project we now have an excellent library at the school. It's amazing the number of hours required to catalogue 3000 books and then label and put library cards inside them. A mammoth task, mostly completed by Helen.
The library now looks fantastic but more importantly it is being used by four other local schools. Three schools are using it as a regular library and the fourth sends a class of children every week to sit under our outside canopy to read.
And this is just the start. We plan to support the rest of the community with a big library/computer centre, sports hall and a clinic when our new school is built. We have the land, we just need the funds.
We've just returned from a great month in Kenya where things are really going well. Our school is of course primarily for children but we have recently started adult education classes. At present only women attend as many have not been to school before. It was wonderful talking to Esther. Well actually I was just looking at her delighted face as she showed me 'visuri sana' (very good) written everywhere in her book. 'I can read my own texts on my mobile' she said. 'And I can read the signs in the community' said a delighted Agatha. Probably the proudest was Shali who proclaimed 'I signed my own name when I went for a job'.
Then there is our new admission to school, 6 year old Joshua. Seimens have donated hearing aids to 25 poor children in Mombasa and he is to be one of these children. We already have Hope who, thanks to a UK donor was provided with hearing aids 6 months ago. She is being supported in class by a teaching assistant but when she met Joshua it was obvious what an asset it would be to have two deaf children learning together. And the queue has started. The parents of another two deaf children have asked for places and maybe when we have build our school we shall be able to accommodate a deaf unit but we shall go slowly on that one.
Things are also progressing well with our planned new building.As soon as we have planning permission and the money we shall start. We have got a contractor on stand-by so hopefully it will be all systems go in the next few weeks.
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.
Get Reports via Email
We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.