School Construction Update, April 2018

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”  Nelson Mandela

In Kenya, a student is required to purchase their own books, uniform and shoes to attend public school, an expense that many families cannot afford. In assisting the poorest of the poor and the significant orphan population, the Korando Education Center (KEC), run by Mama Dolfine, is an alternative to “no education.” The orphans that live on the school premises with Mama (~ 58 children) plus an additional 160 children from the surrounding area, attend KEC each day. The staff works to provide not only an educational experience that will prepare students for secondary school, but a nurturing environment that will provide emotional support for all students. It is an amazing sight to see the beautiful smiles and high energy of these children as they attend school. 

Over the past few years, as the school has rapidly grown in population, the Ministry of Health had visited to inspect the operating facility (see picture) and required various improvements to the infrastructure for Mama Dolfine to continue to keep the non-government operated (NGO) school going. While investment was made to keep things going, in February, 2016, an exhaustive report was compiled basically condemning the current structure and Mama Dolfine was told they would need to shut down the program. 

Having assisted Dolfine in the previous years, the potential need for a building had been discussed with the Ripple Effect Project (REP) board. After this report, several potential solutions were considered. Around September of 2016, the board approved an effort to build a school building for Mama Dolfine and the children. The decision had come after almost two years of discussion and research. 

After a few iterations, an architectural drawing was approved with Mama Dolfine and to the REP board for a 12-room building with an estimated cost between $250,000 to $300,000. During May of last year, two board members self-funded a trip to Kisumu to spend almost a month with Mama Dolfine, the teachers and children at KEC in an effort to further the school building project. 

During our time at the Korando Education Center we had numerous meetings with: local government, our project manager, construction companies bidding on the work, attorneys (ours and KEC’s) and spent time visiting reference construction sites with the goal of selecting a contractor before departing back to the United States.

With fees now filed for various permits, the government moved from its position of shutting down the program and recognized the building project is serious. We were then challenged to meet new school building requirements for zoning (requiring us to file for a change of land usage and engage in several months of back and forth Q&A), in addition to required building permits, etc. We are now in the midst of an environmental impact study which should conclude in the next month or two. The government has also pushed us to formalize certain aspects of the program, some of which we were already in process of doing (such as hiring a social worker to counsel children), and adding other unexpected requirements like staffed positions (i.e. a matron in addition to Mama Dolfine to oversee the children).

The building is planned to be constructed in two phases consisting of six classrooms each (~ $140,000 per phase) as we raise the necessary funding. Thus far we have raised approximately $90,000. 

We are excited to share this news and ask that any donations specifically for the new school be earmarked as follows:

Ripple Effect Project –
School Construction Project

and be sent to:

Ripple Effect Project
PO Box 1956
Waterville, ME 04901 

We will continue to keep you updated with progress through the newsletter while also highlighting a student, teacher or program graduate on occasion.