Our Sponsored Children, and the Kenya Project.

The 2005 Project - Stage 3



Tuesday 25 October 2005

The procession arrives

Led by local priests, followed by children and the church choir dancing and singing, the procession arrives through the school gates. They walked down from the church a few hundred yards away.

.... followed by lots of parents and the children from the infant school.

A crowd of infant children are now in front of the school, and the procession continues.

Rod, with a lovely old lady who is one of the school committee. She announced (through an interpreter), that I could be her son, and that she would be proud to be my Kenyan "momma".

Amongst the speakers and audience were some very important guests and dignitaries, including the Assistant Chief, the Chief, Mr Olilo, Mr. Sigu, Mr Tedman Aloo and Edwin Ochieng of the British Council, ZQASO Mr. Babu Ruran, Pamela Akello (the Municipal Education Officer), Mr Samuel Okumu the head teacher of the secondary school, and lots of head teachers of other schools from around the district. Mr Ian Baird (an English teacher) was there as he was visiting the secondary school. Mr. John Olago-Aluoch (a lawyer), and Mr. "G.P.O" Onyango.

Many of these gave speeches, including of course, Zadok Obiero, the very proud head teacher of Dago Kokore.

Many people expressed amazement at how quickly and efficiently the building work had been done, and how cheaply. Mr "GPO" Onyango made the point of saying that if this project had been done "officially" that it would probably have cost millions of Kenya shillings rather than the actual cost of 557,470. He was really making the point that with direct funding and efficient management, similar schemes could be within reach of other schools. Other head teachers attending were certainly incredibly impressed, as they had been wondering how all this could be possible.

Thanks go to the school committee, one of whom was the head of the building company doing the work, and of course to the integrity of Zadok Obiero, the head teacher of Dago Kokore primary school who administered all of the funds, and who prepared a detailed financial report of the project, supported by receipts.

Above: a general view with the existing primary school on the right, and our new infant school on the left. The school gates are to the left of the new building. The existing primary school has already been improved by the addition of concrete floors, doors and windows (where there used to be just openings in the walls), paid for by supporters of Archive CD Books in previous years. (I can see a need for some paint now, to match the new building!)

It soon became clear that this was not just going to be a simple opening ceremony. This was an afternoon of celebration and great rejoicing! The afternoon began with an open air service of thanks and communion, with some really impressive enthusiastic singing from the church choir. We didn't understand the words in Swahili, but we got the message! At the end of the service was the blessing, where everyone shook hands and greeted each other. It was an extremely interesting and moving experience to personally greet just about every adult there, including a huge throng of parents.

We were entertained for about 30 minutes with singing and dancing by children of all ages.

And then we then moved to the actual opening ceremony....

Preparing for the opening, with the plaque covered, and a ribbon over the door waiting to be cut.

And then the actual moment, with people cheering and clapping, and hundreds of smiling faces.

After the opening the children were led into their new rooms and the priest toured each class room sprinkling holy water , blessing the rooms and leading prayers.

After the opening ceremony the dignitaries and ourselves planted several trees. Boys from the upper class of the primary school were very enthusiastic in digging the holes in preparation.

Having seen this wonderful tree at Kisumu airport (it is rather like a mimosa, with flame red flowers) I asked for one like this to be "my" tree. In years to come, the tree will be flowering like this in front of the school.

A special presentation for Hannah Simpsons

A special gift was presented at the ceremony for Hannah Simpsons.

It is really wonderful that the staff of the school in Kenya thought so much of her efforts that they have presented her with this gift of a lovely hand carved giraffe and a traditional hand made Kenyan spoon of bone and wood.

Hannah is a ten year old English girl who in July did the 5km Yarm Fun Run in aid of the project, despite having asthma and joint problems. She printed photos of the Kenyan children and details on her sponsorship forms so people could understand what it was all about. Hannah, the people at Dago Kokore think that you are a hero!
Hannah with her medal for completing the run.

She raised over £50 for the Dago Kokore school project!

Our sponsorship is much more than just building a school. The Kenyan people in this rural area just outside Kisumu need help. We can make an immense difference by helping to provide good early education for the young children from age 4 upwards, so that they can go on to achieve success in the primary school (age 7 to 14), and hopefully more will then move up to secondary (high school) education at the age of 15.

This is for Kenya's future. Kenya's biggest asset is its people, who are extremely warm, friendly and humble. In relation to us they are very poor indeed, but they are rich in so many other ways, and have great potential.

Presentation to Rod Neep

This is a chief's stool, made of wood and intricately inlaid with fine beads. It is stunningly beautiful and I shall treasure it forever.

The real beneficiaries of the project

This is what it is really all about. The 4 to 6 year old children who will attend our new school. At present there are just over a hundred of them, but word is getting around the district already about the wonderful new school, and it is anticipated that the numbers will grow..... if their parents can afford it, as infant schooling is not funded by the government in Kenya.

The big problem however, is that as many as 75% of the children are orphans due to the AIDS pandemic in Africa. Most of them are being looked after by their grandparents or uncles and aunts.

But there's good news too. I have made a promise to those children. A commitment for us to support them and to pay for the schooling of every orphan child for the three years that they spend in the infant school.

Can we do that? Yes we can!

It will be easy for us to do. I shall be setting up a scheme where you can sponsor one of these orphan children for their education fees for three years . Not just any child, but a specific child, where you will have a photograph, a name and a yearly report of their progress. If you wish you can also send a birthday and Christmas card to them.

And the cost of that three years education....
Just £15.00

(US$ 27.00; AU$ 36.00, NZ$ 38.00, CA$ 32.00)

Can we do that? Yes we can! Easily!

There will be about 40 new orphan children entering the school in January 2006, plus 35 already in the school who will be starting year 2, and about 35 starting year 3.

Please watch this space for details of this important sponsorship scheme.

We still need more money for this successful project:
  • More books and resources for both the infant and priimary schools.
  • Plastering and painting internally and externally for the primary school (About £375)
  • Make a roadway and footpaths with stone chippings from the school gate to all of the class rooms (About £450)
  • Furniture (tables and chairs) for the primary school.
  • Furniture for the staff room
  • Soft pin boards for all class rooms

You can help by donating in multiples of £5.00,
or by buying a special CD book here


Rod Neep
31 October 2005