TEACHING-EMPOWERING-MENTORING-BUILDING OPPORTUNITY Mission: to partner with individuals and communities in Western Kenya to support entrepreneurial activities, education and health through training programmes, scholarships, water and sanitation projects

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The demand for Virtues training is non-stop

I have been asked to give a Virtues presentation to a small group of lawyers. This will be our first truly 'corporate' workshop. They will be able to fund themselves, but other groups cannot. Remember a Tembo memebership (at $25 or $100 with a tax receipt) makes a great birthday (or un birthday!) gift.
Learning to set boundaries at Borstal school

Doing a Virtues Pick in rural Kenya
Yesterday we did the presentation to 40 staff workers (some police and prison service people, some civilians) at the ‘Borstal’ for 15-18 yr boys. There are 330 young offenders. Our work was so well received (although we never really have enough time). The Superintendent was there throughout and they want more training for their remaining 90 staff. Thank s to everyone for their good thoughts and prayers ahead of time.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Empowering youth

Continued with Virtues Empowerment for Youth on Wednesday with about thirty young adults. We sat under shade trees and shifted as the sun moved. Several of the young people are interested in becoming 'Ambassadors' in their community and we plan to have them join us in further training.

Next week we will work with warders and guards from the remand school in the prison and with more teaching staffs.On Monday we complete the distribution of books for Read for the Top. Because of the chaotic political situation and many disruptions to schools, some of the contests will be deferred until later in the year.

Story books for a primary school
The last of the re-usable sanitary pads were delivered to the Secondary School running the pilot. They will be taking in their first year students in about two weeks. The teacher in charge tells me that the feedback from the girls is good. Both she and the principal said they have already noticed an improvement in attendance of the girls.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

More teachers vow to put away the cane...

The lead up to the elections is proving tempestuous. Schools were closed on Thursday to allow for the primaries in the different parties (reduced to 50 from nearly 200) Things were so chaotic and disorganized that the nomination vote continued into Friday, closing some schools yet again. We were able to hold our planned Virtues training on Friday and Saturday thanks to the commitment of the school staff. We had a wonderful group to work with and received good feedback with promises to put away the cane and use strategies of positive discipline!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

When you have no toilet facilities....

Board of governors, primary Principal and Salvation Army rep

Handing over the keys to the Pricipal

Explaining how it works

Visiting Shichinji
...joy is a new composting toilet next to your new school building.We did the training and the handover of the toilets on Wednesday. We took three girls to see the functioning toilets at Shichinji where they met the agriculture teacher and three sanitary prefects. These prefects returned with us to Eshikomere where members of the Board Of Governors and the SA sponsor were waiting. The contractor was also with us. We explained the functioning and the group asked many questions. They are excited about the protection of the environment and also the use of the by-products for growing crops.The principal took the keys and as soon as they have the necessary containers for collecting urine & feces, they will be in operation.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sanitation projects continue

Tomorrow we plan to finish the re-usable sanitary pad distribution and also hand over a new composting toilet in a girls' secondary school. The design for the boys is done, including an urinal

Sunday, January 13, 2013

One cup of coffee a week

That's all it takes. We have offered the Read for the Top programme in English and Swahili in about 22 elementary schools over the past 3 years and results in exams have shot up. The problem now is that the top students can't afford even the $150 for a year in secondary school. A top boy or girl can go to school for about $3-$4 a week (and this gives them a midday meal.) Because of some community interventions the average income in rural areas has increased from 800/- ($10) per month to about 1250/- ($15) But still no hope of sending a child to school. Proceeding on faith to select some high achievers from the Read for the Top elementary schools for secondary.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Assertiveness for girls

Nearly two hundred girls took the assertiveness training yesterday in a girls' secondary school.  They had such a good time reading and making role plays. Things grow very serious when we talk about teen pregnancy and abuse by teachers and family members. We fear there will be some 'hot line' calls.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Began the distribution of re-usable sanitary pads yesterday at a secondary school. Last year attendance of girls averaged 82% which means they miss a lot of school. We have asked for statistics on this year's attendance as well as that of the boys. Many thanks to Maureen and her friend who supplied the funding.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Job training

Although there are agencies who provide academic scholarships and micro-finance organisations who give small business loans, there are still many hundreds of people who find it impossible to carry on a trade because they lack the means to acquire the skills. This year we received close to 100 applications from people anxious to study at the polytechnic level. We shortlisted twenty and interviewed them on Saturday with help from our Kenyan Advisory and Support group.
Ten men will acquire a licence to drive (heavy commercial, passenger and motorbike) and will no longer be on the road illegally.
We chose one carpenter and one masonry student. With all the building going on, they should find work.
Two women will do hairdressing and we know they will work in their community with friends and neighbours.
Three women will do tailoring and garment making.
One young man will do motor mechanics and one young woman food processing technology.
Interviewing eager candidates for job training

Irene is twenty six years old and has four children. She never went to secondary school. Her only source of income is digging and taking in laundry. She will study garment making and take national exams. 

Damary is in her forties and has five children. Although she did complete secondary school she has never been able to train for a job

Dominic did well at secondary school and could have gone to university if his father had had fees. He will study motor mechanics for two years. 
Our outreach is limited only by our funds and we thank all our supporters who are making a difference in a very real way by their donations.