A few years ago Amy went along to a meeting of the Rotary Club of Lutterworth to talk about Milele. Whilst there she met Elaine Turner who had recently started a group who were knitting teddies to send to children all over the world. Since that chance meeting Milele has happily helped to distribute several hundred teddy bears to vulnerable children in Kenya.
Whilst I have included some photos in blog posts over the years I thought it would be nice to include a small collection of photos all in one place and say a big thank you to Elaine and her band of happy knitters!
P.s. watch out for little Edward who is now sponsored by Milele
Whilst here we have visited the Mbazi project, giving out some of the smaller girls clothes and shoes as well as the remaining mosquito nets. The children were really excited to see us and we were pleased to see lots of familiar faces since the last time we were here.
Billy has also been working on this project teaching some basic maths and social studies to a small group of children, and is clearly a firm favourite, happy to co-ordinate regular games of football!!
Despite unfortunately loosing a member of their team to a heart attack a couple of months ago, the group have managed to make some progress with the building, having secured the first classroom and begun to make a blackboard for it, and started a second classroom. A large area has also been cleared of the long grass and weeds to make space for a playground for the children.
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!
Our most recent visit to the Mbazi group last week showed once again just how determined and motivated this group are. The small building which was the only classroom over easter has now been expanded to a much larger building with a high roof accomodating more children with lots of space. Their plans extend to a second classroom which is currently being constructed next to the first of equal size. The new facilities they have built also include a brand new toilet on site which is being well used by the children at the school and the feeding programme on a saturday.
Whilst we were there the first aid kit got lots of use, just as it always does at this project. Being next door to a quarry there are many stones and rocks in the area, meaning it is much too easy for children to trip, fall and cut themselves. This is a common problem in the area we work, and since many of the children cannot afford shoes small cuts can easily become very dangerous, especially at this time of year in the rainy season. The large pools of dirty water infect cuts and scrapes and with medical care out of reach for many of the families this can cause extremely serious problems for the children.
For this reason we had prioritised the shoes many of you had donated were crucial to take to this group as soon as possible. wellies especially came in very handy and lots of happy smiling kids were thrilled to receive shoes and clothes. Everyone who donated something which was handed out this time will receive photographs of their items specifically as well as a group photo in the post as soon as possible, so thankyou very much to all of you!
We landed in Kenya yesterday and have big plans for our trip this time. As well as checking on the progress of our boys we will also be arranging the first volunteer programme for Milele. We also have lots of shoes and clothes to give out as well as some school supplies for one of the local community schools.
Keep checking the site for more news and hopefully a few pictures!