• We built a school!

    Last time we visited Kenya, our Build A School project was about half way through. Now finished, we're so happy to tell you that it is an amazing place and already giving a boost to the Mumbuni community.

    It is a real credit to the hard work of everyone involved, from those of you in the UK who helped with raising the funds, to everyone in Mumbuni who assisted with the planning, building and running of the school.

    The children love their school so much they voluntarily start at 6.30am and sometimes they don’t leave until 7pm!

    And the school has already shot up the league tables. It is now number three in the region, but as the top two are both private schools our community school is really number one in the area. Amazing! And this means it is already growing and thriving and will be a really important part of the community for years to come.

    Previously, the school was a series of huts covered in corrugated metal – an uninspiring and unsafe place to go to learn. But the head teacher, and indeed everyone there, was so keen to ensure education was an option for every child that they were willing to do all they could to improve the facilities. And we were determined that we could help them reach that goal.

    And that was how Build A School began. Just months later we had raised the £20,000 needed to build and maintain a school, so now it’s completed, the children have a real chance to learn and build their lives.

    On arriving at the school, we were greeted by a whole class of children excited to share their new school with us.

    They sang and danced and we joined in, loving every moment of it! They spoke about what they were learning and were really interested in who had helped them to get a new school and how they had done it. we explained about the project and how so many people had wanted to be a part of their lives and distributed all the new school books I’d brought with us.

    We also put up our lovely plaque which has the names of every single person, family or business that contributed to the project and made a real difference to lives. The children eagerly read all the names!

    It was great fun and a really touching day. We were captivated listening to their stories and left with a warm glow that I don’t think will ever fade.

    The Build A School project included:

    • Construction of a new school, comprising two classrooms

    • Provision of 50 children's desks

    • Chairs and tables for the teachers

    • Training for five teachers

    • Training and mentoring for the 13 members of the School Management Committee

    • Training 10 children to become HIV peer educators

    • New sports equipment

    • Providing text books

    • Continuing to work with the school community to develop the future direction of the school and review plans

    • Training the head teacher in school management

    As part of the project we also set up a parent-run health centre, which was packed full of mums and dads when I visited.

    Many lack basic knowledge about HIV and AIDS and are too shy to talk about the subject with their children. This means a lack of awareness among youngsters and a greater risk of contracting the virus.

    And for girls, a lack of sanitary products had meant they could not attend school during their period.

    So to help integrate parents in to the community’s educational programmes the health group is ideal.

    The centre includes:

    • Training five teachers in child protection, gender and disability.

    • Sanitary towels provided to all girls when needed.

    • HIV / AIDS health prevention teaching

    • Training parents and teachers to become patrons of the health club.

    Improving education and health is the best route out of poverty.

    If you'd like to help us build a school, please email hello@flamingo-creative.co.uk

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