Pre-trip Letter from Gabriel

Dear friends,
We are already in March 2018, but I hope it is not too late to wish all of you a good start to both the New Years. We are grateful for the year behind us, which provided much opportunity for learning, and greater development for many. Thank you all again for helping us create hope and opportunity for so many families here in the Tana Delta.We are now at the onset of the short rains, and as while we look forward to the expected showers, we are also taking precautions to mitigate any problems that may arise from flash floods and roads being cut off.

Mitumba Project
I will be in Singapore by 18th April to start the Mitumba Project collections, details of which are attached here and in our blog at www.tanariverlife.wordpress.com. Over 60 needy families benefited from the sale of used clothes, shoes and bags, enabling them earn extra household income to cater for their children’s school fees and other needs.


1st from Right: Mama Ade from Dumi Village has two orphaned grandchildren under her care studying at DEMSA

School Furniture from Singapore for Tana Delta 
The used school furniture donated by Singapore schools last year was refurbished by TRLF youth and distributed to over ten schools in Tana Delta, bringing a huge change to the quality of learning for many students. We are grateful to all at PIL Singapore Pte Ltd and PIL (Kenya) Ltd. Mombasa for arranging the freight forwarding and clearance of the shipments in 2017.



TRLF staff and youth help deliver refurbished classroom furniture using the TRLF school bus..

..enabling a more conducive learning environment for the most marginalized communities across the Tana Delta

Plans for more Infrastructural Development Support for Tana Delta schools
Many schools in villages along the only tarmac road in the Tana Delta have developed over the years with input from the various education stakeholders, including Tana River Life Foundation.
There is however, still a great need in villages off the tarmac road and in the most interior locations. In 2018, we hope to continue assisting in the infrastructural development of these remote schools in the Tana Delta.

Fabrication and Welding Workshop at Emmaus Community Centre
In 2017, we employed a mechanic-cum-welder and started fabricating most of our furniture and fittings, e.g. security grills for windows and library shelves. Beds fabricated in our workshop were donated to the students’ dormitory in Idsowe Primary and Sane Girls Secondary schools in 2017.
We also built the dormitory roof at Idsowe Primary School and a twin-chamber toilet for the girls at Buyani Secondary School.

Lighting up children’s future with solar lanterns
In 2017, we provided 50 children from three remote primary schools with solar reading lights. This has enabled them to read and write at night as well as allowed their parents to continue with income generating activities such as weaving mats, carpentry, and tailoring, even after nightfall.


Bubesa Primary School candidates emerged top in their zone with all but one girl going on to secondary school in 2018

Children from Bubesa Primary School are mostly children of subsistence farmers, who sometimes have to miss school to help their parents in their farms especially during the harvest period. The students themselves organized study groups and met to revise and do their homework under the light of a solar lantern hanging from a tree. It was most gratifying to note that for the first time in history, Bubesa Primary emerged top school in their zone in the national examination. We hope to be able to assist more students this year.

Improving access to a better quality education

Students sponsored by TRLF 2017 Partial 2018 Partial 2017 Full 2018 Full
Primary 0 0 8 6
Secondary 800 600 30 54
Youth 0 0 22 22
College 5 5 24 20
University 0 0 4 4
Total Beneficiaries 805 605 88 106

Integral Formation of Youth and Students
The TRLF formation programmes at different levels help youth beneficiaries discover themselves in a deeper way, so that they mature and develop not only intellectually but also physically, psychologically and conscientiously.
A large number of the fully sponsored students live in our community homes and assist in TRLF development programmes. This arrangement, while preparing future community leaders, also helps sustain TRLF programmes as it greatly reduces administration and project running costs.


Youth under formation learn many other skills, e.g. mechanical, electronic, IT, administration, agriculture, bookkeeping. In addition, youth are trained to carry out complex technical work, e.g. solar lamp posts installation, providing them with useful new knowledge while enabling TRLF to keep overheads and external contractors’ fees at a minimum.

Delta Mustard Seed Academy – Nurturing Knowledge with Integrity
We made huge strides at The Delta Mustard Seed Academy (DEMSA) – the nursery and primary school owned and managed by TRLF – after moving to the new premises that were completed in 2016. The premises were funded equally between Jonaron Foundation of Malaysia and our many donor friends and partners. We have improved record keeping at the school through a computerization exercise and also started to operate library facilities, and provide IT training for teachers as well as Grade 4 students.

We have continued to emphasize a more human and integral formation of the children, breaking barriers of tribe, religion and economic background. Our teachers are also constantly reminded to narrow gaps in terms of academic performance, and to ensure that no child is neglected. We have today an enrollment of 260 children, comprising 133 boys and 127 girls and expect this number to reach 400 by January 2022.



DEMSA children who are needy receive subsidised uniforms and bursaries while all children share two common meals

TRLF Youth – Giving Back


Multi storey farming saves on space, water & time and produces succulent kales

Evans Chikanda and Manase Maro were sponsored to study sustainable agriculture. During their holidays, they helped us start a vegetable plot and fruit orchard at the TRLF Emmaus Community Centre. With their help, we now implement sustainable techniques more suited for semi-arid areas, including planting in deep pits, multi storey vegetable plots, and composting of kitchen waste, among others.


During the 2017 elections break, Oscar trained TRLF staff and youth
volunteers at the Emmaus Computer Lab

We opened the Computer Lab at the Emmaus Community Centre in 2017. The lab was set up entirely by TRLF staff and youth under direction by Oscar Raha, who was the first TRLF-sponsored student to do degree studies at Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) in Malaysia. This saved us a lot in terms of contract and consultancy fees. Oscar completed his degree in Business Information Technology in 2015 and is now the Tana River County ICT officer. Nevertheless, he continues to volunteer his time and expertise willingly.


Alice introduced research, discussion and presentation methodology to our students
to change their midset towards learning, placing their progress in their own hands

Alice Shauri is in her fourth year of medical studies and on her way to becoming the first lady medical doctor from Idsowe. She is also our organizer and resident tutor for all secondary remedial tuition programmes during school holidays.

Conclusion

As mentioned at the start of this letter, it has been a full year, but not only in terms of activities and progress, but also in terms of a deeper appreciation for God and his blessings. We thank each one of you for journeying with us and making so much possible for so many.
I will be back in Malaysia and Singapore from 15th April to 19th June 2018 with two of our youth, Solomon Makwola and Kingstone Madyera, and look forward to meeting up with you once again.

God bless.

Idsowe, Tana Delta, Kenya
15th March 2018

 

If you would like to download a PDF copy of the report. Please click here.

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