We have had a fantastic first term in the school year here in Isibania. We received a lot of praise and accolades from local school heads and the Education Ministry, but the praise that has meant the most has come from the students themselves. It is incredible to enter a classroom and have the children jump to their feet, clap and cheer. It is even more incredible that when a lesson ends, the children beg our team to stay, to read more, to teach them more. So many of these are children who truly love to learn, but are simply not afforded enough opportunity to do so, so when they see that opportunity come by, they show their appreciation and don’t take it for granted.
The students are now taking exams and we are working hard to use what we have learned through working with them over the past few months, identifying the key problem areas and the teaching techniques each group responds to best, so that we can deliver the best program possible after they return from their first short recess of the year. We are developing a comprehensive program manual which compiles our most effective lessons and teaching techniques. We are also developing new and innovative ways to monitor important details of each class’s progress. It is a really exciting time of development for our program!
Beyond all that, we are also gearing up for our first scale to a new area. Even though it is months away, we are already planning to expand our program to a new remote rural area called Mabera, which is in desperate need of quality education interventions. But before we are ready to scale to this new area, we are striving to perfect the incredible model we already have in place, as well as to adjust to major changes which have just been enacted in the Kenyan school year calendar . Previously, the school year in Kenya ran in a pretty steady cycle of three months of school followed by one month of break, which was then repeated twice more. Now, the Ministry has approved a proposal to have short breaks in April and August and then one substantial break in November and December each year. This changes our entire program schedule, but we are ready and excited to adapt our program to the changing times and needs of the students we serve.
In addition, we received a large and wonderful donation of books from the Kenyan National Library and Book Aid International, that has allowed us to continue to build our children’s library and has provided more excellent resources for us to use in our outreach program to schools. Only a week before we received the news, we were brainstorming and researching how to possibly acquire more books with limited time and funds to try to find them. It was a perfect case study in the idea of ‘ask and ye shall receive’, and the day the books arrived to our office, it was like Christmas all over again.
So, as you can tell, things with the Education team are in a great place and we anticipate more interesting and excellent development to update you on in the coming months. Just know that when the kids jump up and cheer, part of that cheering is dedicated to you, for all your interest and support in Nuru, in the Education program, and in supporting literacy development here in rural Kenya!