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 Education  Kenya Project #15285

A quality education for 161 kids in Kibera, Kenya

by The Turning Point Trust
A quality education for 161 kids in Kibera, Kenya
A quality education for 161 kids in Kibera, Kenya
A quality education for 161 kids in Kibera, Kenya
A quality education for 161 kids in Kibera, Kenya
A quality education for 161 kids in Kibera, Kenya
A quality education for 161 kids in Kibera, Kenya
A quality education for 161 kids in Kibera, Kenya
A quality education for 161 kids in Kibera, Kenya
A quality education for 161 kids in Kibera, Kenya
A quality education for 161 kids in Kibera, Kenya
A quality education for 161 kids in Kibera, Kenya
A quality education for 161 kids in Kibera, Kenya
A quality education for 161 kids in Kibera, Kenya
A quality education for 161 kids in Kibera, Kenya
End of term celebrations in Oct 2016
End of term celebrations in Oct 2016

The new school year began on January 4th. Each year we add a new class as we grow into a full primary school and this year sees us adding Class 7.

At our end of year celebration in October, teachers awarded the best pupils in the school - some scored over 450 out of a possible 500 in their end of year exams. An astounding result for kids who have been out of school and had to play catch up. Teachers also reported improved average test scores in every class. Our teaching team are doing an excellent job.

We take a holistic approach in our school and aim to invest in the whole child - not just their academics. For this reason, we ran a successful parenting course in June/July to encourage, support and challenge parents in their role. Throughout 2016, the upper primary students also enjoyed weekly I.T. lessons to promote their digital literacy. Children also had the opportunity to take part in an after-school football club competing in a local league in addition to their P.E. classes during school time.

This year we're excited to have a new volunteer involved who will be teaching creative arts. This will include arts, crafts, creative writing, music and drama. We want to value and nurture our pupil's creativity and give them opportunities to express themselves in new ways. We've seen the benefits of these art classes in the past and we're excited to have a new long-term volunteer to enable us to continue to provide these classes.

There is much to celebrate both looking back and looking forward but we continue to seek solutions to challenges we've been facing over the past year. Some of the families we work with have such low incomes that even though we're able to offer free schooling and daily meals, they continue to struggle to meet their children's other basic needs and opt to move to an upcountry home where the costs are fewer but so are the opportunities for the children to attend school.

We continue to experiment with ways to involve parents more in their children's education - this is a challenge when many are so busy trying to make ends meet they have little time to spare. Some only attained very basic education or none at all, others just show little interest in their children's progress. These are some of the challenges we bring forward into the new year.

We are grateful to our donors and friends for their ongoing support to the Fountains of Hope School. Together we’re empowering children in Kibera to reach their full God-given potential. Thank you.

Playtime
Playtime

In the past 13 years that Turning Point Trust has worked in Kibera Slum, Nairobi, Kenya, we have encountered remarkable children who in spite of the limitations presented by their environment have risen and gone through primary school, transitioned to secondary school and we even have some who have gone on to university and are in gainful employment. We have seen children with previous connections to the streets and all it represents slowly growing into young men and women who inspire a sense of pride in everyone who has partnered with us to support them.

As we continue to explore ways of creating an enabling environment for the children to not only develop and succeed academically but also emotionally and psychologically we felt there was need to create a tool to supplement the home study that would help us monitor, through their teachers, certain aspect of their behaviour. We hoped the assessment would; serve as a baseline especially for new students that would help us recognise and reinforce positive behaviour change, assist us early on identify sudden withdrawal or destructive behaviour in a child and thus begin to identify the reasons and together with the child and caregiver find solutions to the possible problem, we hoped the assessment reports would serve as sources of impact reports for our donors and partners and also as data we could use to continue improving the education program.

Once the tool was developed, the teachers were taken through it and a few changes were made. The first assessment reports were to be used as the baseline and therefore were not analysed nor discussed,. The second batch of reports is what revealed that we had failed to achieve our objectives since some students who had been scored highly in some aspects of behaviour the previous year were now scored low and some who had scored low were now doing exceptionally well. The team in charge of developing the tool and assessing the reports were no experts in child behaviour but they acknowledged that the tool had failed to capture what they hoped it would.
 
Discussions with the team and the social worker, who has training and experience in dealing with children, revealed the tool did not work because of a number reasons. One, the class teachers changed as the children moved to a higher class and therefore the tool was subjective as it depended on the teachers interpretation of the elements of behaviour being assessed and the child’s behaviour. Secondly, children respond differently to different teachers and the scores might not necessarily reflect their personal circumstances or struggles but rather their relationship or perception of the teacher. In addition, the development process of the tool involved drawing from different studies and tools used by other organisations and therefore we failed to take into account the context within which the tool will be used and also to include actors such as the social worker who had a better understanding of children’s behaviour.

The tool was dropped and we are yet to develop one that will capture what we aimed for. However, the process of failure taught us that it is important when developing a tool to involve the people who not only work with the target group but also understand the context within which the tool will be used. Involving them in the development of the tool beats merely consulting or training them after the development of the tool. We have also learnt discussing failure and understanding the reasons why we failed is not enough but we fully grow from failure when we set concrete and time bound plans on how to move forward and implement the lessons learnt.

Assessment of the academic reports that accompanied the behaviour assessment reports revealed that some students had dropped out and having learnt the importance of immediate action, we made a follow up and realised that their parents were unable to sustain them at home despite the free education and meals we offer and therefore preferred to take them back to their rural home, disrupting their education and even putting them at the risk of dropping out. We are currently making a plan to identify families that are in need of extra support and in agreement that the approach we take to further empower and develop these parents will be done in consultation with all the relevant stakeholders. We are not only learning to discuss failure but how to move forward and grow.

“Failure is a lesson learned. Success is a lesson applied” Anonymous. We look forward to applying these lessons and continue sharing the success stories of how with your support we are empowering the children and the families we work with and though we understand that failure will be part of this journey, we are now less afraid because we know that we can fail forward every time.

Playground Moments
Playground Moments
The Nairobi Museum
The Nairobi Museum

The highlight of this term has been school trips. The lower school visited the Nairobi museum and snake park to learn about the diverse animals, history and cultures of Kenya. The favourite for many kids was the fish in the small aquarium. It was so exciting for them to see the multi-coloured fish swimming in the tanks.

The upper school visited the Bomas of Kenya, a cultural centre, where they toured around model villages and watched traditional dances and acrobatics from the many tribes in Kenya. The dancing was everyone’s favourite. Plus the monkeys they saw in the gardens as they ate their lunch! These experiences are all part of our commitment to quality education.

We’re coming to the end of the second term of 2016 at the Fountains of Hope School in Kibera. Children are preparing to take their end of term exams before enjoying a rest until the third term begins in September.

Thank you for partnering with us to provide these great experiences to children in Kibera as part of a full, quality education.

Traditional dances at the Bomas of Kenya
Traditional dances at the Bomas of Kenya

Brian used to skive off school to play video games, his class at the local government-run school had 50 pupils all vying for one teacher’s attention and Brian just got bored.

Today, Brian is at the Fountains of Hope School in a class of just 14 students, he has built a great rapport with his Class 5 teacher and is excelling in class. He had the best exam results in his class during the last end-of-term exams.

Brian’s mum has also played a big part in turning around Brian’s behaviour, she put in a lot of effort to ensure Brian turned up at school every day when he first joined Fountains of Hope. She continues to be one of the most supportive parents involved in the school.

We’re committed at Fountains of Hope to providing a quality education to our pupils and we preserve small class sizes to make sure that each pupil, like Brian, gets the attention and care that they need.

Thank you for support for the Fountains of Hope School, over 90 children just like Brian are all benefitting from individual care and quality teaching in a condusive environment thanks to your support. We're changing the story in Kibera, with your help. Thank you.

Pupils enjoying their new classrooms and books
Pupils enjoying their new classrooms and books

Last year 95% of the Fountains of Hope Pupils scored over 250 marks in their end of year exams. To put this in context, if our pupils continue to get grades over 250 marks, they will be supported by Turning Point to go to Secondary School. Compare this to the 50% of pupils Turning Point currently supports in Government schools who scored over 250 marks in their final Primary School exams in December 2015. Already the Fountains of Hope school is having better learning outcomes than the over-stretched and under-resourced Government schools.

When we opened the Fountains of Hope school in January 2014, we started with what we had – four teachers and four classrooms. But our dream was to run a full school providing all eight years of primary education so that we can ensure children receive a quality education and move on to secondary school.

The school closed early for the Christmas holidays in November 2015 for a building project to build new classrooms. Builders and labourers from the local area worked alongside Turning Point staff to do the building which was completed on 31st December. We officially opened the buildings on 11th January and were joined by representatives from Turning Point's Kenyan Board of Directors, the school parents and the local community. The children performed poems, memory verses and songs before they went to explore their new school and enjoy a celebratory lunch of rice and stew.

The new two-storey buildings provide 15 rooms including eight classrooms, a creative arts room and an I.T. suite, five offices for various staff and the microfinance programme. There is also a refurbished kitchen and assembly hall that the Mashimoni Outreach Community Church, our long-term partner, uses for their Sunday meetings.

This building project has provided space for us to grow. This year we are offering six years of primary school to 91 pupils and by 2018 we will have achieved our goal of providing all eight years of primary education.

Opening the New Buildings
Opening the New Buildings
Spacious and bright new classrooms
Spacious and bright new classrooms
The lunch queue
The lunch queue
 

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Organization Information

The Turning Point Trust

Location: Woking, Surrey - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @tptrust
Project Leader:
Judy Akoth
Woking, Surrey United Kingdom

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