everybody i am really happy to have this opportunity once again to give you the latest news as they happen here.For this month of october i have been visiting some of the programmes like bethel where the kids are very happy to have a new teacher.i would like to thank you all for your contribution towards this programme.The visit made by Amy ,Helena,Faye,Thomas and Rich was a good one. they really did something special to make the less fortunate and needy young kids have a simile and good voices as they attend school.This was possible because you joined hands together and contributed towards it.
Our sponsored students have been doing great in their studies.They did an exam where they performed well and hoping the new ones will register good results come next exam.You have motivated them a lot so they are working extra harder for now.The teacher at Bethel she has been doing greet and happy to work at Bethel.You have really extended the kids opportunity of having a brighter future ahead by employment of the teacher who is also qualified at her work.As for now life is full of beginning and many beginning are difficult without quality education.
May you all be blessed by almighty for such kind heart for needy kids.
During the most recent trip to Kenya we have embarked on a very exciting new project which we are looking forward to telling you about.
Many of you may remember a project called Bethel Children’s Care Centre from new blogs on this website. We have been working with them for some time now, using the centre as a base for handing out your clothes and shoes donations, as well as supporting them with some educational materials such as exercise books, pencils, sharpeners, rubbers etc.
The project is based in the residential area of Mtomondoni, in the home of the founder, Elizabeth and her husband, Bill and provides nursery level education to young children in the area. Schooling in Kenya is done in three stages; nursery, primary and secondary. Completion of each stage is necessary for progression to the next one, however primary level is the only level which is provided free of charge by the government. Bethel, therefore, provides a crucial service to aound 80 local families, educating more than 80 children aged 2-6 in kindergarten (nursery) level schooling such as basic maths and english in preparation for primary schooling at the local government school.All the children who attend are from very poor backgrounds, with many being from single parent families, orphans or affected by HIV/AIDS. Therefore the facility is extremely useful to local parents or carers, especially those from single parent households, or those caring for orphans, as it enables them to go out and work during the day to put food on the table, whilst the children are looked after at Bethel.
Bethel charges just 100/= per month (around 70pence) which is enough to cover basic facilities such as pencils and paper, exam papers, desks, benches etc, whilst still being affordable to the local community.
However, the small amount the children and their families contribute is not adequate to pay wages for a teacher; meaning that Bethel have had a succession of volunteer teachers all in temporary roles and many underqualified for the job.
During the trip this time, with the assistance of the friends of Milele group fundraising here in the UK we have managed to take on a nursery teacher named Janet Dawa who will work at Bethel on a trial basis until the end of the year. If the trial is sucessful and funding can be secured long term, there is the hope that we will extend it indefinitely.
We also gave out many of the school uniform clothes which had been donated to the project, so the children have something smart to wear to school!
Thank-you to everyone who has donated so far, it will make a huge difference to very many children.
We would like to create some links between Bethel and some schools in the UK to help fund the teaching project. If you are a teacher at a school and would like to help us or to find out more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Amy on 07950329398
As some of you know we managed to take a lot of clothes and shoes out to Kenya this time. So one of the big jobs we have had was to distribute all of those items to people in the local area.
We first took our heavy cases to Mbazi Community Group, who help children in the Gorafani area. When we got to the group there were only a few children there but this soon changed. We managed to give out lots and lots of items including a handful of Arsenal shirts to some extremely grateful children. In total we gave out 125 items to about 50 children.
On Friday we took the remaining items to Bethel Children’s Care Centre. We arrived in style with a number of cases stacked on the back of motorbikes; the only problem was that one ran out of petrol on the way! Never the less we made it at about 8:00am and started to distribute clothes to the 80 children who regularly attend. When we had finished kitting out almost all of the children with shoes and every single child with clothes we still had quite a lot left over, so we decided to see if they had any brothers and sisters who wanted anything. Some of the children ran home and the word soon spread. Within minutes of sending the children we had a large crowd forming. We brought small groups of children into the compound and gave them clothes, shoes or both. This carried on until about 3:30 in the afternoon. When we finally ran out about 200 children had received something, making our total this time about 250 children who have been touched by your donations.
Thanks so much to all who have donated! There are always more children who need shoes and clothes so please keep the donations coming and we’ll keep giving it out!
Hope you enjoy all the smiling kids in the photos!
Rich and Amy
We have spent a bit more time at the Bethel project during our visit this time, and have been really pleased to see them under the care of their founder Elizabeth blossoming into a fantastically successful school providing quality education to many of the areas poorest families.
Bethel now have 85 children who attend regularly in the babyclass, kindergartens 1, 2 and 3.
For the youngest children, Bethel provides the opportunity for parents to go out and find work during the day, meaning they can try to put food on the table at home.Before Bethel, this service was normally very expensive, making it unaccessible to the parents who need to use it most. Elizabeth’s solution is to run the care scheme herself, and ask for only 100 shillings (around 80p) contribution per child per month, a sum which is achievable when paid in very small installments throughout the year.
For those in the kindergarten classes the school is providing an invaluable foundation before they enter the government school system. They are acheiving among the highest nursery school marks in the area, a huge achievement for an essentially free community school. This preparation for school will mean children from Bethel have the best possible chance of absorbing as much information as possible within the government school environment.
Upon joining the government school, Elizabeth still provides support for the children who have outgrown the programme, through after school hours tuition at the project.
Our volunteer, Billy, has spent a lot of time there and has really enjoyed working with the project. Elizabeth said that at first the parents were doubtful that their children would understand Billy’s english accent, but dramatically changed their minds after seeing Billy’s class achieiving the highest positions in the area in their entry to government school assessment! Billy is now considered a real part of the team at Bethel, he will be sorely missed when his time in Kenya draws to a close in January.
During our trip here we have been able to give out some of your donated clothes and shoes at to the children attending the Bethel project, and thanks to a donation from Micheal Wright have managed to buy 100 exercise books; 109 pencils; 10 sharpeners and 200 peices of chalk for use in the school, as well as some additional mosquito nets for the youngest babies!
We are all preparing to have a Milele volunteer in Kenya! Billy Reed is going out on the 31st of August and will be staying for four months in Mtwapa town with a host family who can’t wait to welcome him into their home!
Whilst he is there, Billy has volunteered to work with some of the local community initiatives which Milele has set up links with, as well as working on a brand new newsletter for us with contributions directly from some of the children, parents and teachers out in Kenya, as well as regular updates from Rieder, our new sponsorship co-ordinator.
Billy plans to spend some time with the Mbazi group— a community association which runs a nursery school for small children and a feeding programme at the weekend— as well as visiting Bethel Children’s Centre— a kindergarten taking care of children from needy families, orphans and those diagnosed HIV positive. Billy also hopes to work with the HIV community officers in this area to put together an educational, myth-busting awareness talk about HIV/AIDs to present to schools, youth and community groups.
Everyone is extremely excited to meet Billy, children and adults alike are excitedly awaiting his arrival and we are sure he will receive a fantastic welcome from everyone and have a fantastic experience.
All of his plans sound extremely exciting and we are looking forward to keeping abreast of all his progress as the months go by. Rest assured that we will keep you updated on this blog as he enjoys his time in Kenya. We are sure he will contribute brilliantly to the groups he is working with and will doubtless be an extremely valuable asset working with us in Kenya.
Whilst in Kenya this time we revisited a small community school called ‘Bethel’ which we saw for the first time three months ago during a previous visit.
It had around 40 students from kindergarten 1 to 3, with one iron sheet building, a volunteer teacher and a blackboard, the director Elizabeth was educating these children for free every day in an attempt to provide some of the local families with crucial education they could not have afforded for their children. Whilst small and modest, three months ago this school was a very promising start to what seemed to be a wonderful new centre.
When we returned last week we were astonished to see the immense progress and the transformation the centre had undergone in such a short time with such small amounts of funding.
Now, Bethel has grown and accomodates 70 children including baby class, kindergarten 1-3 and even afternoon tuition for children in standards one and two at the government school. There is now one more building which has been erected to accommodate the large baby class, made of similar materials the second classroom is a largely iron sheeting construction with palm frond roofing. The second building also has a small blackboard and logs of wood or rocks are used for desks and benches.
The school has very little to no money coming in from school fees since many of the children attending are unable to pay even the 8Op per month Elizabeth currently tries to charge. As a result they are trying to get by with the little they have but are not disheartened by the challenges this presents. Elizabeth is currently in the process of applying to the government for funding to start a feeding programme for the children, since it is painfully obvious that they regularly go without meals at home.
‘Children’s Care Centre’ is an accurate name, since this project is much more than a school. Although the volunteer teachers prepare the children to attend government primary schools and provide additional tuition for slightly older children, it also aims to be a feeding centre, has future plans of a parents project to assist the families in the community to find work, and often assists the children in its care with medical fees too.
Whilst visiting we were lucky enough to have lots of relevant educational materials kindly donated to us which we could pass on to the nursery school for them to use in classes. Thank-you so much to everyone that donated something! Take a look at the pictures and see if you can spot your donation!
Keep tuned for all our news on this exciting new linked project.