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.
At long last Mustard Seed Project have been able to purchase the desperately needed land in this overcrowded community. Our school is now full to bursting and has a long waiting list. Our children look healthy thanks to the feeding programme provided by the Herrod Foundation and are learning well. They are attaining well ahead of their peers at neighbouring schools and most are ahead of national expectations. It's such a joy to behold.
This achievement is largely due to our teachers of course but we have also had some excellent volunteers working on the project from the UK and from Finland. Their efforts have been very much appreciated by both the staff and the children.
We plan to build a primary school for 300 plus children from ages 3 to 14 and at last we are on our way. Building our own school will help ensure sustainability of the project as there will then be no rent to pay. Our school already has a reputation for being the best school in Mgongeni but we shall only be satisfied when it is considered the best school in Mombasa. Good education should not depend upon the ability of parents to pay. It should be a right.
So all we need to do now is raise the funds. A big thank you to those of you who have already given. You have helped to make such a difference.
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