Patiently Progressing By Oscar Raha – Former beneficiary and current staff of TRLF

Dear Friends & Donors,

Thank you for your donations. Last year Tana River Life Foundation completed the construction of 2 classrooms and furnished one with chairs and lockers at Buyani Secondary School. We launched a debate competition in the region where 6 secondary schools in the Delta District participated. This was the first time students in the area participated in an inter-school competition, and experienced the extra curricula activities that many students from other parts of the world take for granted. The students were really excited and we discovered  excellent debaters. The competition will be held annually to encourage students to attain a good command of the English language and self-confidence as we prepare them for life after secondary school.

Buyani Secondary School qualified for the provincial level drama competition, where they competed with the best schools in the province. This provided the students with a glimpse of life outside Tana River. This helped correct the notion that students from remote areas are not able to compete with their peers from more developed areas. I chatted with Omar and Aisha, both Form 2 students and beneficiaries of our program. They were very excited. According to Omar , “The drama festival at provincial level was very beneficial to me as I got the opportunity to interact with students from other schools as well as make new friends. After returning home, I shared my experiences with my fellow students.” Aisha wrote a letter to express her appreciation. Here’s an excerpt, “We went to the sub-county and we participated in the drama competition. We Buyani Secondary School were the champions. I was the Best Actress. The certificate will help me when I finish my studies. I aspire to be a drama teacher.”

The school started a project to plant maize for students’ school lunch. Three hectares of land was cultivated. This will ensure that students will enough food for at least 6 months during the school year. The project was received favourably  by both the community and students. The students weed and water the crops after class.

There is still a very urgent need for funds to construct  toilets in the school.. Currently there is cholera outbreak in the district. We hope to raise sufficeient funds to provide a safer and more hygenic learning environment for the students.

Be blessed.

Regards,

Oscar Raha

Cancellation of Jumble Sale 2016

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Tana River Life Foundation 2016 Jumble Sale has been cancelled. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused.

If you would like to support a good cause and thank Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary for their unwavering support to the foundation, please join us at their Bazaar.

4 pm – 8 pm Saturday 4th  June 2016

8 am – 8 pm Sunday 5th June 2016

St Joseph’s Pavilion (outside Casa Maria Hall)

Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Entrance to carpark via : 98 Hougang Avenue 8,
Singapore 538791

 

Once again thank you for your generous support, and we hope to see you at the Bazaar.

If you have any questions or comments, please send them to gabriel@tanariverlifefoundation.org

TRLF Jumble Sale – May 21st & 22nd 2016, Nativity Church

Thank you for your support once again during the Mitumba collection drive in March. For the past 11 years, Tana River Life Foundation has been running theMitumba (or “recycled goods” in Kiswahili) Project where lightly used items that are in good saleable condition are collected and sorted by TRLF staff and volunteers over a period of a month. These items are sent to the Tana Delta to assist over 80 households earn additional income through the sale of these recycled goods, enabling marginalized families to continue educating their children.

Some of the high value items will not be shipped to Kenya. These include designer bags and shoes, almost new clothes, household goods, books and jewellery which will be available at a jumble sale. Funds raised will pay for the shipment of the goods to Kenya. Our aim is to make the Mitumba Project a self sustaining one.

Please join us on 21st & 22nd May 2016 at the Nativity Church, the collection venue.

Venue : Nativity Church Kindergarten

Date and Time :  
Saturday       21st May 2016         : 1pm to 7pm
Sunday         22nd May 2016        : 8am to 7pm

Once again thank you for your generous support, and we hope to see you on the 21st and 22nd of May.

Amit sorting through the Mitumba collections and getting ready for the Jumble Sale

Amin sorting through the Mitumba collections and getting ready for the Jumble Sale

 

Happy Jumble Sale Customers

Happy Jumble Sale Customers

DSC_0004 DSC_0005

 

TRLF Mitumba 2016

Dear friends

I hope this note finds you and your families well.

I am now tying up matters over here in Tana as I prepare to make my trip to Asia at the end of March. It has been extra hectic because of the on-going construction of the new school ( Emmaus Centre Project Phase 1) which restarted late last year and also because we expanded our bursary programme to assist students from Term 1, especially those who performed well in the primary school leaving exams and were not able to continue to secondary school because of financial limitations. Thank you very much once again for your support for our work here in Tana Delta.

Classroom North Elevation

I expect to be at my mum’s place in JB by 1st April and in Singapore by the evening of 3rd April. I hope we can meet up sometime in April or May. I will be in Singapore the whole of April and again in the last two weeks of May. I will be in Malaysia during the first two weeks of May as well as the first two weeks of June before returning to Kenya by mid-June.

We will have our Mitumba Project collections again this year from 8 – 16 April at Nativity Church Kindergarten, the same venue as last year. Collection details and wishlist are available for download here.

In the last year, together with a few volunteer friends from Singapore and Malaysia, we registered Tana River Life Foundation Pte Ltd. One of its activities is the sale of Kenyan handicrafts in Singapore & Malaysia, with all profits going to support TRLF projects in Kenya. Soapstone carvings featuring safari animals and Christmas figurines have been the first products. If you would like to view or find out more, please contact Iris Tay at tanariverlifefoundation@gmail.com.

When in Asia, I will be contactable at +65-98338401 (Singapore) / +6012-6237040 (Malaysia) or Whatsapp to +254723521774. I look forward to meeting you during our time in Asia.

Until then, may God bless you and your families.


5th March 2016
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Happy New Year from the Tana Delta – a note from Gabriel

Dear Friends

I pray that you and your loved ones are well, and wish all of you a belated Christmas and a very Happy New Year 2016. May God bless you with grace, joy, peace and inner strength in the year ahead.

It has been really hot over here in Tana for the entire month of December, despite the heavy rains. Thankfully the weather has cooled down this week and we are hoping that the hottest period has passed. The river broke its banks as a result of the heavy rains upcountry and some villages along the Tana River were flooded. Our village was not affected though our farm and many others along the river were flooded causing some loss of crops. Nevertheless, it was not as bad as we were expecting with all the dire predictions of El Nino in the press since September.

We continued extending our reach to the most interior villages this year, giving a lot of students opportunities they would otherwise not have. We managed to organize the first Tana Delta Secondary School Debate sanctioned by the Ministry of Education. We held it at Kitere Secondary School, the most remote school in the Delta. The entire school comprises a single building with 3 classrooms, one of which is used as staff room cum principal’s room cum store.


Kitere Secondary School is situated in Ndera Location. It is the most remote secondary school in the Tana Delta

It takes two hours to get there during the dry season and even longer during the rains, if at all the roads are passable. Normally such events are held in schools situated closer to the tarmac road, and at most just a few student representatives from the interior schools are able to travel to attend such functions due to lack of means.

Every debate participant received a dictionary donated by St. Theresa’s Convent in Singapore
Every debate participant received a dictionary donated by St. Theresa’s Convent in Singapore

Holding the event at Kitere Secondary School gave that entire school population a truly unforgettable experience. It also enabled students from the less remote areas who participated in the debate to appreciate the challenges students in the remote areas face.

TRLF – improving Child Literacy Skills in the Tana Delta
TRLF – improving Literacy Skills in the Tana Delta

Our school, Delta Mustard Seed Academy had an enrolment of over 150 students this year. Our children are able to read from the time they are 5 years old, whereas the norm in the Delta has always been that kids even as old as 9 struggle to read simple words. We would like to assist more children develop in this way and have identified 6 primary schools in the most outlying locations for special assistance. We are developing a program together with the school teachers from these schools for implementation in 2016.

 School Building under construction; Community Centre in the background
School Building under construction; Community Centre in the background

Work restarted on construction of the school building of the Emmaus Centre Project (ECP) in late November. The delay was because the contractor Mr. Li was tying up another project in Ethiopia and was unable to release his site manager until mid-November. The site manager Mr Yang is a very skilled and dedicated builder and his service is worth the wait. He undertook the community centre construction and completed that with utmost professionalism and much passion. The school is expected to be completed by May 2016.

The community centre building is complete with the exception of the internet connection. We are working on getting the external works completed, i.e. waste disposal, water supply and storage etc. All such works are expected to be completed by mid-2016.

TRLF youth, Nancy an Esther explaining the use of reusable sanitary napkins to students from Kitere
TRLF youth, Nancy and Esther explaining the use of reusable sanitary napkins to students from Kitere

We continue nurturing our youth, both at secondary school level as well as post-secondary level, helping them form and internalize moral values. We also involve them in all the community work we do so that they become more integrated in the real lives of their own communities and neighbours. Many of them mature to become more passionate and aware of the needs of others and of their responsibilities to assist.

TRLF donated desks, chairs and textbooks to Oda, Buyani and Kitere secondary schools in 2015
TRLF donated desks, chairs and textbooks to Oda, Buyani and Kitere secondary schools in 2015

As we leave the gift of 2015 behind, and look forward in wonder and faith to 2016, I thank you very much for journeying with us as we build individual lives, and thereby entire communities. You are remembered in our prayers today and I ask that you too keep us in yours. Once again, Happy New Year 2016, be blessed.


Idsowe Village – Tana Delta, Kenya
1st January 2016

Watch Our Latest Video

Watch a video of what the foundation has been up to lately. Gabriel Teo speaks about the work being done in Education, Sustainable Agriculture, Entrepreneuship, Youth Formation Program and the Emmaus Centre.

Thanks to Alen Nikolovski, Soh Lai Leng, and Sister Delphine for agreeing to be interviewed. Thank you Wally Tham and Esther Chan for producing this video !

Kenya through the eyes of a young Singaporean – by Lyanna Lim. Part 2 of 3

27 Sep 2014, Ndera, Tana Delta

The Road to Ndera - Traffic Jam Delta Style

The Road to Ndera -Traffic Jam Delta Style

Jam Delta Style 2

The Road to Ndera -Goat Jam in the Delta

Driving to the interior - The trail to Ndera

Driving to the interior – The trail to Ndera

The road to Ndera was bumpy and dusty. After one hour of travelling on mud roads and battling with the potholes, we finally reached Ndera village. Ndera is located in the interiors, north of Idsowe, where the Foundation is based.

Families from Ndera waiting for lunch at the PTA Meeting

Families from Ndera waiting for lunch at the PTA Meeting

Mothers at PTA Meeting

Mothers at PTA Meeting

We were visiting another village with the foundation to conduct a bursary meeting . Students in these schools had high aspirations, as they shared their ambitions to be politicians, lawyers, doctors, clinical officers, engineers and early childhood educators. It was most heartening to hear them speak about their future with such fervor.

Lyanna and Sarah with students at Ndera

Lyanna and Sarah with the students at Ndera

 

The toilet at the school in Ndera

The toilet at the school in Ndera

A tour of the school premises led us to the toilet. The pit toilet was supported by wooden branches and flanked by several corrugated steel sheets . As city dwellers this was a rude awakening to the privacy and hygiene issues these students faced.

Currently working in India, Lyanna Lim always had a soft spot for developing countries. Her trip to Nepal as part of her graduation trip motivated her to work in South Asia after she graduated. Inspired by her father who went to Kenya to lend his construction expertise to  TRLF’s Emmaus Centre Project in 2013, Lyanna decided that she wanted to volunteer for this organization. She spearheaded a Global Giving campaign in the beginning of 2014 to raise funds for a mobile library and subsequently visited the foundation for 2 weeks in September 2014 to implement a library software and to coach the youths on how to catalogue and maintain a proper bookkeeping system of the library using the software.

Together with two other volunteers, Iris and Sarah, they traveled to Kenya .  It was an hectic and exciting 2 weeks of implementing a library software system, speaking to student beneficiary and their parents, studying the feasibility of provide solar powered lighting to the students, exploring various reusable sanitary napkin solutions for schoolgirls  as well as sourcing for local soapstones and kitenge (African garment) for fundraising purposes

In her free time, Lyanna loves running, reading and experimenting with raw food recipes. She will be pursuing her MBA in Duke Fuqua School of Business in 2015 and hopes to leverage on her network and business skills and continue contributing meaningfully to TRLF.”