We’re half way through 2018 and our projects in Kenya continue to expand. So what’s been happening?
We have now supported 173 children in secondary school – which means there are 107 in school this year + 66 who have left school. The most recent additions have been as a result of funds we applied for to the Commonwealth Girls Education Fund. This year they have committed the finance allowing four girls to receive RRBF scholarships.
It’s amazing what some sponsors have been willing to do to raise funds – one gave up presents for her 50th birthday celebrations and instead asked friends and family to contribute to a child’s schooling.
As in previous years, we’re rewarding the sponsored children who achieve an ‘A’ or ‘A-‘ in their end of term exams, by inviting them to attend Maths Camp. This will take place in August and gives the children a chance to spend a week away from home during their school holidays, visiting a new part of the country, meeting children from across Kenya and seeing what life might have in store for them if they receive a university or college offer.
We had 17 children qualify and we’ve also invited 2 teachers to attend the camp. This gives them a great way to learn new ways of teaching maths, that they can take back to their own schools and share with children and colleagues. Its just another small way we’re trying to develop skills and improve standards.
In 2014 we brought all the 62 children we supported at the time to Nairobi for a three-day workshop. It proved to be a memorable event for them and many speak of it to this day, citing our mantra of “Anything is Possible … if you put your mind to it”. In fact, we’re using the stories of many of these students, as inspiration to the current sponsored children, showing what they have done in the four years since – studying at university, finding work, climbing Kilimanjaro, leading projects …
So in December we are bringing the 107 current students to Nairobi for the same three-day programme. And I’m delighted that there will be at least 14 of us travelling out to spend time with the children and run this workshop. That’s how many people have already booked their flights – and I expect a few others will join us too.
If you’re interested in joining us, please do let me know. It should be a memorable event for all.
After the disappointment of having our bikes stolen during the election demonstrations last year, the club is back up and running currently with 10 bikes. Our project leader, Kevin, is now working full time, teaching kids to ride, taking them on trips beyond the slums, and now teaching bike maintenance.
When I visited in May I was able to take 2 bags full of parts and maintenance equipment. It means we now have stands, tools and replacement parts, a key part of the club, meaning that the children can maintain the bikes in better working order + learn mechanics + develop skills which might see them generating income.
Fortunately for me, my clothes for the week fitted into my hand luggage!
Kevin was recently able to take 10 of the children from the club for a three-day stay with the Safari Simbaz, the youth race team run by our friend, professional racer David Kinjah. The children got to see how the Simbaz team live, learn how they behave and think, their habits and attitudes.
Our next step is to put a shipping container into the school where the club is based, which will become the hub, providing secure storage and somewhere equally safe that the children can meet.
To raise the funds required for this, we are grateful that Oaklands College have offered to hold a Cycle Fest, one-day event at their Smallford Campus near St Albans. This will take place on Sunday 16th September. It promises to be a fun day for all the family, with competitive and social rides around a 1km loop of the college campus. There’ll also be other fun activities to challenge bike handling skill, including an obstacle course, and static bike timed challenges.
Please do save the date – come along, tell your friends and family, and please let me know if you’d be willing to offer a little time to staff a stand or activity.
I’m delighted that one of our sponsored students, Lammeck, has taken on the role of running the mentoring programme this year. He took part as a mentee in 2016 and has now stepped into this management and leadership role; great experience for him.
There are 10 students on this year’s programme, all matched with a mentor from a Nairobi business and the group meet every two weeks or so.
Outside of these meetings, the mentors meet with the student they are attached to, sharing their knowledge and experience, and showing the mentees what is possible in life.
It has been a difficult time at the farm due to a prolonged rainy season. You may have seen stories of dam bursts and widespread flooding. Luckily we’ve escaped the worst of that, but it has limited the work that can be done. Wycliffe explained that at times like that, the heavy red clay soil was better suited to making bricks!
We press on however and continue to explore ways to make the farm more self-sufficient. We have planted more trees this year.
I was also able to visit Ebubala Primary School, where we donate our maize. The Kenyan Government pay the school fees for local children to attend the school, but families are required to pay for the school lunches AND send in food to be cooked. This is mostly maize and beans, and many families are unable to afford anything. The food from our farm means that these children get at least one hot meal a day. The school has now linked with Applecroft Primary School in WGC and the children will begin writing to one another as pen friends and learning about life overseas.
BT Tower competition
I’m grateful to everyone who took part in our competition. The winners of the four pairs of tickets had a lovely evening at the top of the BT Tower. Watching the spectacular views of London at night whilst the restaurant rotated, was a real treat for all concerned.
And we raised £3,000 from the competition, which will help fund our workshop in December.
Thank you so much for your support and interest in our work.
“Providing opportunities for people to flourish”