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).
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.
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.
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.