Build a school in a deprived area of Mombasa

by Mustard Seed Project (Kenya)
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Build a school in a deprived area of Mombasa
Build a school in a deprived area of Mombasa
Build a school in a deprived area of Mombasa
Build a school in a deprived area of Mombasa
Build a school in a deprived area of Mombasa
Build a school in a deprived area of Mombasa
Build a school in a deprived area of Mombasa
Build a school in a deprived area of Mombasa
Build a school in a deprived area of Mombasa
Build a school in a deprived area of Mombasa
Build a school in a deprived area of Mombasa
Build a school in a deprived area of Mombasa
Build a school in a deprived area of Mombasa
Build a school in a deprived area of Mombasa
Build a school in a deprived area of Mombasa
Build a school in a deprived area of Mombasa
Build a school in a deprived area of Mombasa
Build a school in a deprived area of Mombasa
Build a school in a deprived area of Mombasa
Build a school in a deprived area of Mombasa
Build a school in a deprived area of Mombasa
Build a school in a deprived area of Mombasa
Build a school in a deprived area of Mombasa
Build a school in a deprived area of Mombasa
Build a school in a deprived area of Mombasa
Build a school in a deprived area of Mombasa
Build a school in a deprived area of Mombasa
Hope and Samuel signing to each other
Hope and Samuel signing to each other

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 Unfortunately, not only did he not progress there but he became timid and withdrawn.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.

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Wet lunchtime
Wet lunchtime

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.

Hope in class
Hope in class
Stella getting her hearing aids
Stella getting her hearing aids
Washing hands before lunch
Washing hands before lunch
Glasses for Said
Glasses for Said

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Library in action
Library in action

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.

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Esther
Esther

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. 

Proposed new building
Proposed new building
Hope with her very happy parents
Hope with her very happy parents
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Nursery child
Nursery child

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.



Nursery children under the canopy
Nursery children under the canopy
Outside school
Outside school
Outside school
Outside school

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Organization Information

Mustard Seed Project (Kenya)

Location: Peterborough - United Kingdom
Website:
Project Leader:
Rita Fowler
Peterborough, Lincolnshire United Kingdom
$28,987 raised of $90,000 goal
 
224 donations
$61,013 to go
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