Krismasi njema – happy holiday season!

Jambo, dear friends,

You have been an important part of our Kimilili-journey and with this winter newsletter, we would like to say thank you for your support. Below achievements have been possible due to your contribution. Asante sana:

Enabling children for the future

Do you remember Dennis from last year? He was the first high school graduate selected for the Eldoret University and is doing very well in his teaching programme. In his spare time, he started volunteering for the local school, giving back to the community that had helped him become the first ever university student.

We are also very proud of the kids from our special needs school. They participated in the regional championship for theatre and dance and made second place. The musical told the story of a boy who received a letter from a friend. As he was not able to read it, he asked all of his friends to read the letter out to him. They refused as they knew the importance of education. They replied to him that the only way he would know the content of the letter would be by going to school. At the end, do you think the little boy managed to read his letter?

Improving the school facilities

We have made major progress on the school facilities: six additional classrooms were built and the outer cladding of the entire building to make it safer and more resistant to heavy rains that were regularly flooding the classrooms, impeding the children to enter the classrooms.

A library was set up to allow access to books to all children during library hours, as most students cannot afford books and can only use one or two shared books during classes. The library now offers two units of every subject for every grade enabling all children to self-study the subjects after school hours.

Looking at how fertile the land around Kimilili is, a farming project was brought to life. Our volunteers worked with experienced teachers to set up a Farming 101 workshop for interested students. The results so far speak for themselves: a fair amount of healthy tomatoes and butternut squash were harvested and the kids are proud of themselves. This project will allow the school to produce vegetables for the school kitchen and, in the long run, to sell a part of the harvest to the community.

 

 

Looking back to the beginning and into the future

In 2010, when it all began, the Kimilili School was rarely more than a mud hut falling apart and threatened to be closed down. Today, 800 children are taught in safe and clean classrooms. Over 1 million free lunches provided, the regional first Special Needs School opened, 10’000 monthly salaries paid, the first graduate – Dennis – to qualify for university take-in, 20 classrooms built, staff members trained… The list is long and has been enabled through the 2 million CHF in donations, volunteer work and contributions in kind. The Kimilili children and the School4Life team say thank you for supporting the Kimilili community.

The results are a motivation for us to continue this important work in Kimilili, to further professionalize our efforts and to adjust the structures to the growing challenges. The School4Life team is currently concentrating on an administrative transformation that might include a School4Life Kenyan chapter, new local management or partners. The goal is to further increase transparency and accountability and to continue to ensure that every penny reaches the Kimilili community. Until the new structures are set in place and the administrative restructuring is completed, we have locked the funds on a frozen account.

On top of the transformation, School4Life is focusing on getting the community more sustainable by developing businesses that will generate incomes and therefore decrease the dependency on external donors. Ideas currently being investigated include fish ponds, pig farming and poultry. To enable those projects, we hope for your continued generosity. Thank you for your much appreciated support, your contribution changes lives in Kimilili.

Moving towards skill-based volunteering and a new partnership

After receiving over 200 volunteers in Kenya, we have further improved our volunteer approach: skill-based volunteering rather than volunteering per se (e.g. teaching). This insures our volunteers have a lasting impact through skill transformation. Our second Deloitte volunteer group is a perfect example: while the first group in 2018 focused on construction work, this year the volunteers have used their skills including reviewing the finance processes, providing teachers’ training and evaluating the science lab inventory.  The PIECES volunteers from St. Gallen University have visited Kimilili for the 3rd time and we are looking forward to welcoming the SIM students from St. Gallen University as well as Vanessa and Rafael beginning of 2020. We are excited to welcoming them all to the Kimilili-Community.

Collaboration is key and we are proud of our new partnership with Strickwaerme. They focus on conveying physical and emotional warmth to unprivileged children with knitted products. The overwhelming joy in the eyes of our Kindergarden and Special Needs Kids receiving a knitted hat or toy will remain with us forever. Learn more at www.strickwaerme.ch.

We would like to thank you for your support this year. Without you, the CBSM School Kimilili would still be a mud hut.

 

Asante Sana

Agnes, Astrid, Alex, Miriam, the entire School4Life team and all children