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Donations are used to pay the wages for two full-time teachers for six months at Olives Rehabilitation Centre’s primary department , months November – April and towards six full time teachers in Nyota(Precious Vision Care Centre’s kindergarten and primary departments) for the months of Jan through March
The schools GVI support in Mombasa are informal or ‘slum’ schools, which means that they cannot afford to pay their teachers the standard Kenyan minimum wage. Despite this fact, the teachers employed by the schools remain dedicated to the students’ education throughout the school terms and even into the holiday periods. They generally live in the same communities in which the schools are based, where unemployment levels reach up to 80%. Although their wage is low, they are hugely grateful to have a guaranteed monthly income, no matter how modest.
The dedicated and tireless local teachers are one of the school’s greatest resources and are invaluable in terms of the schools ongoing success. They provide stability and continuity for the children, and have a deep understanding of the backgrounds of the students, and often the individual family backgrounds. The local teachers are a key source of support to GVI volunteers taking classes in the field, and are often called on for their language, discipline and teaching skills and knowledge with other local teachers. This is also a condition of the schools becoming formally recognized institutions, part of the centre’s strategy to achieve self-autonomy in the long-term.
To read more about this project, please have a look at our page for Education and Support for Disadvantaged Children in Kenya
Creative play is an important part of our programme at Ikhayalethemba Village. The great thing about creative play is that children develop their social skills; interacting, talking and sharing. This play is also so essential to the development of children’s physical skills, language and problem solving. One of our key goals at Ikhayalethemba is for the children to develop strong English skills and through Creative play children have many opportunities to develop their English language.
When we had some financial donations for Ikhayalethemba just prior to Christmas, we decided to put it toward a playhouse for the children. A playhouse provides an opportunity for children to role play and to interact with each other in a positive way. It is a wonderful opportunity for children to engage in Creative play. We decided that the playhouse would be a Christmas present from Father Christmas.
There was great excitement at Ikhayalethemba when Father Christmas’ present arrived early. The children looked on with anticipation as a van drove up and in the back were large wooden shapes. They sat as a group to watch their gift unfold. It wasn’t long before the children could recognise that the shapes were going to make a playhouse. As the workers put the playhouse together the children sat attentively. Once they realised what it was going to be, they started planning what they could put in it. The carers were joking that they would put their own beds in there to sleep, much to the amusement of the children.
Once the house was erected, the workers stained it and so the children had to wait to explore for an hour and a half whilst it dried. They did this well and managed to line up an array of things that they thought would be suitable to use inside the house. Already the children’s creativity was kicking in!
Since that first day the children have loved their playhouse. They have developed all sorts of role play situations and it’s lovely to see them play so cooperatively. It made a great stable for our Christmas Nativity and many of our class lessons have been done inside the playhouse.
If you would like to support this project, please see our project page for ways to make a donation. You can also subscribe to the GVI Charitable Trust blog to get regular updates, or follow us on twitter.
In 2006, three communities bordering Tsavo West national park who were well renowned for their reliance on illegal bush meat, made the courageous decision to give up poaching for the protection of wildlife. Their move away from poaching, was initiated with an intervention from the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) trying to extirpate inhumane ways of killing animals. WSPA has strongly supported the formation of several officially registered community based organisations. In 2006 GVI started assisting these groups in partnership with the WSPA. At the end of 2012 GVI was up in Tsavo supporting the community group in Kaasani a village of not more than 100 people. The group in Kaasani for instance, has a classic set-up and consists out of key players within the community, mostly former poachers themselves who are well able to be factors of change.
Most former poachers and their families have never been involved in activities other than poaching or farming. They have little knowledge or skills relevant to other income generating activities and are aware of few other economic opportunities besides poaching. With a high level of poverty, the development of alternative livelihoods is the only resilient way to protect and conserve local wildlife. From this realisation in 2006 there came an economic development strategy which now includes alternative livelihoods that vary from bee keeping to an eco-tourism centre. From 2007 until now, GVI volunteers have helped the Kaasani community group to teach basic English, write proposals, develop business skills, promote organic farming methods, beekeeping, sunflower farming chicken farming. Those initiatives have had varying success; the level of English and basic trading has improved much, but the bee-hives were destroyed by a herd of over 150 elephants in 2010 and the chicken farming stopped as chicken feed prices climbed with the recent world food crisis in 2011. Candle making, perhaps one of the more out-of-place initiatives, is however becoming a big success.
Recently the Kasaani group had a large order for candles. The handmade candles are sold in tourist gift shops along the coast of Kenya. The candles have a distinct natural feel and look and once finished they are packed in a small cardboard box made out of a mixture of elephant dung and old paper. The flattened out and dried elephant dung mixture is cut it into labels and then attached to the candles as well. The materials are costing next to nothing but the cards and boxes – and quite likely the explanation on the flip-side of the label – seem to add crucial value to the finished product.
“The money we have raised through this order will be divided amongst the families of Kasaani and will provide us with food and water for some time to come. Thank you to GVI for showing us how to make these products in a much more effective way. Next time we will complete such an order in two days!”- John Mandu village chairman
The Kasaani group is already beginning to receive more orders, and the market for such handicrafts seems sustainable enough, for now at least, to keep the bush meat trade at bay.
GVI works in partnership with Tsavo pride (http://www.tsavopride.com) in this area and more updates and goings on from the field are available on our blog site (http://gvikenya.blogspot.com). To support this project, please see out project page!