Korando School Building Update, September 2018

School Construction Project

School Construction Project




As noted in our previous report, continued progress has been made in achieving the permissions and paperwork to begin the construction of the school building. On Friday, September 7th, the site handover took place! This means the contractor has taken over the property and is bringing in his equipment and materials with construction scheduled to commence by September 21st!

The cost of the 12-room school building is expected to be $300,000 USD and is planned for two phases. This first phase is a six-room building which is expected to be completed by late February 2019. We have currently raised approximately $100,000 for Phase 1 and are pursuing the additional $50,000 needed to complete the work. Once the initial $150,000 funding is secured we will begin the fundraising (another $150,000) for Phase 2 of the project which is the additional 6 rooms. Now is a great time to donate to the Ripple Effect Project with your contribution earmarked “School Construction Project” or further any previous donations made! Contact Vin with any questions (vin [at] rippleeffectproject [dot] org).

Mama Dolfine to Visit Maine

Mama Dolfine

We are pleased to announce that thanks to a generous donation by a friend of Ripple Effect Project, our dear friend Mama Dolfine will be here for a visit this coming October.  Specific dates are still yet to be determined.  If you were fortunate enough to meet her on her last trip to the States, you will remember how wonderful it is to spend time with her; hearing first hand of stories about Korando and the children.  She is looking forward to visiting this fall with friends both old and new, where she hopes to share stories and updates from Korando.  If you are interested in hosting Mama Dolfine and others for an informative evening, please contact Alice at 207/634-2513.  We will be updating the website with her trip information as we get closer to the time of her visit.   

Meet the Students: Kennedy

Kennedy Ochieng Omollo’s story‭ ‬is an example of some of the challenges children in Kenya face when trying to complete their education. Unlike free public education in the US, schools in Kenya charge fees to attend every year beginning in primary school. Mandatory academic testing and annual school fees often cause students to stop their education. Luckily for children without means in Kisumu, Mama Dolfine stays connected to her community to find and support able students who are struggling due to these factors.

Kennedy was born December 11, 1998 in western Kisumu. Belonging to a poor family, neither of his parents had steady employment, and both worked odd jobs while he was young. In 2006 Kennedy began attending primary school near his home. His first year he was able to skip ECDE, Kenya’s kindergarten equivalent, and that year he tested at the top of his class for Grade 1. While attending Grade 1 Kennedy’s mother passed away, leaving him in the care of his father and eldest sister. His father remarried a few years later while he was attending Grade 4. His stepmother then required him to sell bananas in the town during the day for extra income. Because he sold them during school hours his grades began to suffer and he stopped attending. Kennedy’s teacher recognized his potential and reached out about his absence, and he rejoined school. Despite these setbacks, that year Kennedy had the third highest test score among all students from 8 area schools. He continued selling bananas throughout primary school to afford his fees each year. This lifestyle took its toll however, and when he sat for his exams for admittance to high school (secondary school) in 2013, he scored only just above passing. With lackluster test scores and no way to pay for the higher secondary school fees, Kennedy did not enroll in the Kenyan Grade 9 equivalent.

It was at this point that Kennedy’s former teacher referred him to Korando. Mama Dolfine agreed to take Kennedy on as a student in Grade 8 and allow him to live at the center. Students at Korando are not required to contribute fees, so Kennedy was given the opportunity to complete a remedial year and test again for entrance to secondary school. That same year, Kennedy’s father was arrested, but Kennedy pursued his studies in earnest despite this trouble. Kennedy thrived with the security and support Korando provided and when he sat for his exams a second time he scored very well. Mama Dolfine agreed to cover his fees at a local high school provided he kept his grades up. 

Kennedy credits Mama Dolfine and Korando with giving him the skills to succeed in life, and he has done well academically the last three years. He is now in his final year of secondary school, and is looking forward to attending university in 2019. Kennedy hopes to become a lawyer at the national level who can represent his area with pride and advocate on the people’s behalf.

Farm Update, September 2018

This latest farming season yielded 54 large bags of maize/corn and 4 large bags of dried beans off of the 11 acres the Korando Center has for farming. Dolfine will save some of the maize and beans for their own consumption and will sell the remainder for profit for the school. Due to heavy rains, many of the beans and most of the other vegetables were lost in the flooded fields. A scorching sun then followed the heavy rains leaving poor conditions for planting the next crop. Let’s hope for more promising farming conditions in the coming season.

Child Sponsorship Program Update, June 2018

The CSP program continues to expand; however, there are still a number of children to be sponsored. If you or someone you know may be interested,  please contact Bob Van, who is happy to talk more about the program. Bob is also willing to speak to groups to communicate the program and benefits to the children. If you are interested in bringing a group together, Bob will present the Ripple Effect Project story and CSP program. Feel free to contact Bob at bob [at] rippleeffectproject [dot] org.

Meet the Children: Franco

Franco Mararu is eleven years old, and has been living at the Korando Center for the past two years. He had a very difficult childhood before he came to live with Mama Dolfine. Franco was born outside of wedlock, and shortly after his birth his mother left him to live with his father. Unfortunately, Franco’s father was an alcoholic, and unable to provide for his basic needs, emotionally or physically. Franco sometimes went days on end without eating, and the lack of proper nutrition led to his retarded growth. In order to survive, Franco took odd jobs looking after other people’s animals and being paid small amounts to buy his own food. On the days he attended school, he was reliant on the kindness of his classmates’ families to share their food with him. 

After hearing of his desperate situation, Mama Dolfine took Franco under her care to live at Korando. This was the beginning of a new life for Franco: at Korando he has found a loving home, three meals a day, and the opportunity to pursue his education full-time. Not only are his basic needs provided for, he is able to focus on his schooling and his ambitions for the future. Because of his struggles in early childhood, Franco is only in Grade 1 – five years behind the other students his age. Since arriving, Franco’s character and self-discipline have impressed the staff. Franco wishes to become a pilot, and dreams of someday giving back to other children in his community who have faced similar struggles. 

Letter from Mama Dolfine

I am Mama Dolfine and I wish to start by appreciating very much the help and support that we have received from Ripple Effect Project as Korando family. A lot of things have changed for the children and entire Korando even as a village because of the children who have been able to access education and many other things.

We want appreciate so much the health care insurance that was started by Ripple Effect Project, that even though now sponsored by another individual and is doing well and the children’s health is improved, we still owe it to Ripple Effect Project in as the most difficult thing is always to start the journey which you boldly started.

Students receiving porridge through the daily porridge program, established and sponsored by Ripple Effect Project.

The porridge programme for the school children is also moving on perfectly well. The children are so happy with this that they can’t afford to miss it even for one day. One major advantage is that it has acted as a way of motivating the children to come to school regularly.


Despite these challenges, we are trying to do the much we can in saving the crops from army worm by spraying them and also the best and major thing we still have as our hope is trust in God which can change everything even though we hear the rains are yet to go on until end of May.

Heavy rains and insect infestations have decimated many of the crops grown at the farm, including maize, above.

The process of sending in money to us has made work process easier than before as we are always sure of what we plan to do, in other words we are able to budget and plan ahead of time which has been made easy by Ripple Effect Project.

The new school building which is in process is a gift so big to imagine or express in words. We are so thankful and eagerly waiting for the commencement which we hope may start by this month or next month if late.

We got the tragedy of the car accident and thank God very much who spared the lives of everyone who was involved in this accident as no one died. Our children came out so sound and well and we thank God very much for it. We are also grateful that some friends of Better Me have fundraised to have the car repaired. May God bless them too.

As you can see, am so overwhelmed with happiness that I can write until tomorrow. I am therefore sincerely thanking all our American friends for their support and inclusion as part of their families that they spare and share with us their family budget just so that we would also have our children go to school and also eat and dress and be happy. We are sincerely happy. Our happiness as Korando family has grown bigger and more so the lesson of putting our trust only in God is so nourishing to us.

One big question I was unable to answer to the children is that “Mama, why didn’t our friends visit this time?” They were looking forward to spending time with you this May too. We have all missed you and are all sad. But we trust that next time we are able to meet.

Thank you so much and God bless you all!