This time we have news updates from our projects in Kenya, Swaziland, India, South Africa, Cambodia and Saint Lucia. (these updates comes from Dianne, Volunteer Programme Advisor)
Remember – if you have news from the projects abroad where you’ve worked, please share your news with us – we would love to share it with other volunteers.
Our project in Kenya is at Gede Special School. The head-teacher of the school has sent us the following report:
GEDE SPECIAL SCHOOL PROGRESS REPORT
Government report on education
One of the good news that has been received of late is the recent release of education report that hopes to reduce the cost of taking a child with disability to school. The report contains a clause that aims to tremendously reduce the cost of educating children with disability. Currently the cost of educating a child with special need is over 76,000 a year. This price could not be met by the large number of poor families with needy children. Once adopted, the fee charged in schools taking care of disabled children could come down to Kes 38,000, half of what is currently paid.
Campaign against discriminating children with disability
Good media coverage has of late fallen on the people living with disability. Of interest to most journalists is how the children with such conditions are looked after. Different conditions have been highlighted with parents to such children encouraged to look after them like any other child. Such actions have encouraged most parents to take their children to school, a complete reverse as most of them used to hide them from public. The result of this has been noted with Gede Special School receiving a number of pupils at the beginning of the year.
Better Performance posting from last year’s exams
This time round, good performance was posted by the school in regard to the students that were admitted into secondary school. Nearly 50% of the students who sat their Kenya certificate for Primary education exams were admitted into high school with three hearing impaired students from the school joining national school.
This performance was a reflection of improvements noted from March of last year. Attribution was given to new teaching technical and adoption of storytelling as a way of reaching to the students. This method was introduced by people and places volunteer Mrs. Coulson .
Our local partners in Swaziland, All Out Africa, have sent us their annual report for 2014, which includes information about the Neighbourhood Care Points where some of our volunteers have worked. This year they have focused on improving the infrastructure of the care points through their ‘Build a Future’ programme, and on sports development for the children. The following is an extract from their report:
. . . our sports development programs continue to impact the children of Swaziland in a positive and meaningful way. Through play and games at our local Neighbourhood Care points, more than 300 children are exposed to basic fundamental movement skills such as running, jumping throwing while learning valuable life skills at the same time. Our passionate coaches and international volunteers play a critical role in facilitating these daily morning activities with the children. Concepts such as teamwork, communication and increased self-confidence have all been identified as a result of our programs with the pre-schools. Moreover, in 2014, we continued to expose our children to a variety of sporting codes including swimming lessons, cycling, and horseback vaulting with nearby facilities and support from our community partners.
Build a Future Program
Through immense collaboration between our international volunteers, local staff and local community members, 2014 has proven to be a productive year in our building program. New buildings were constructed, classrooms and kitchens restored, gardens cultivated and much more. Working primarily out of six Neighbourhood Care Points our Foundation team seeks the need for building improvements, whether they are classrooms or homes to support our sponsored children and families. As a result of this year’s build-a-future program we can attest to safer, cleaner learning environments, healthier and sustainable livelihoods through our food security and gardening initiatives. We have sourced funding support from the Swaziland Charitable Trust and can give immense gratitude to our volunteers for their hands-on and financial support.
We give our congratulations to two teachers from Chitardai School, Mr Mukesh Paliya and Mrs Laxmi Tanwer, who have been promoted to secondary school level. All our volunteers at Chitardai have worked with these teachers, especially Mukesh who taught English. In a personal email to me Mukesh expressed his thanks to all these volunteers for helping him improve his English and for showing him different ways of teaching; he tells us he is using all these methods in his new school and is very popular among the students.
Bad news from Emmanuel Care Centre, where many of our volunteers have worked in the past:
“Some bad news – our office was broken into last night and lots of things are missing. The cash for the creche children’s food and for buying the compost for our kitchen garden, the laminator, computer, coffee, salt and all sorts. We are all very sad. We have contacted the newspaper. Whoever is doing this needs to know what damage they cause us and this community.”
We give our best wishes to everyone who does such amazing work at Emmanuel, and to Calabash our local partners there.
In Cambodia our volunteers work at Grace House Community Centre, and they have also sent us their latest newsletter. The extracts below tell us some of their latest news:
“As part of our commitment to ensuring Grace House Community Centre is locally lead Bridget stepped down from the role of Project Manager on 1st January and Rith took over this position. Rith has been studying a MA in Project Management and will be mentored by Bridget over the next few months. Bridget continues at GH in the role of Technical Adviser committed to building the disability services, fundraising, donor reporting and assisting the local staff.
We said sad farewells to 2 staff members teacher Preyrom and social worker Sarann, both left for family reasons and we wish them all the best. We are still looking for a new social worker to assist Dani but welcome teacher Rongla to the GH team. We also welcome Curriculum Developer – Devona from USA who will develop the older students curriculum and support the volunteers across the education programme. With Rith’s promotion the position of head teacher has been given to Loung.
We are very proud to announce that Samnang and Srey Lis have been accepted to study medicine at the University of Health Science in Phnom Penh.
All the students who completed their studies at Grace House in November have now found work. Most are working in the hospitality trade. Two have gone to university in Siem Reap, one is learning to repair mobile phones and one is learning air conditioning.”
One of our projects in Saint Lucia is to work with the Saint Lucia National Trust. The report below is taken from one of the local papers:
“The Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) successfully excavated 4 cannons at the Apostles Battery located at the Morne Fortuné Historic Area on Friday, March 6, 2015.
The Apostles Battery, along with the batteries at La Toc and Vigie, was an important part of the defenses of the Castries Harbor and Saint Lucia generally during the battles between the British and French.
The cannons which are 9” rifled muzzle loading guns, were commissioned in 1892 and decommissioned in 1905 after hostilities between the British and French ended.
This particular site is one of notoriety and the re-mounting of the guns is part of the overall development plans for the Morne Historic Area. Mr. Godfrey Weir, a British civil engineer, seconded to SLNT as a Volunteer from ‘People and Places’ developed and executed the restoration plan.
With the help of a 50 ton crane supplied by Philgence Transport the four guns, each 4 meters long and weighing 12.2 tonnes were lifted from their buried locations and placed onto the emplacements originally constructed to accommodate them.
The guns will next be de-rusted and protective coatings applied to preserve them.
This site will be further developed and public access created to allow for the enjoyment of present and future generations.
Remember – if you have news from the projects you have worked with that you haven’t yet shared with us, please do – we would love to share it with other volunteers.