The short list of 5 Schools that applied to Classrooms for Kenya (C4K) for buildings in the last 2 years. Some of these are primary schools and a couple of Secondary schools. Our remit is to find 2 schools to build at this summer for my trip and a School for Will to build at next year with Christ's Hospital.
The application process for the schools starts with the completion of an application form that gets read and shortlisted by the local trustees of C4K. They then get a visit during one of the trips to ascertain the schools' needs and ensure their application is genuine and to make sure that there is a need for the building work.
So today we started looking at the 5 schools that were shortlisted last year and ensure there is still the need and that nothing has changed. The first school Mosoriot Primary School has 8 brick classrooms and 4 mud huts. The mud huts are falling down, dark and awful. The Headteacher thinks that these will last another 4 years but looking at the condition of these we felt these were a risk to staff and students.
The Second school of the day was a beautiful primary school AIC Kibagenge Primary School. This school was much larger and had over 1000 students in it. They had 7 mud huts there but about 16 brick built classrooms too. David the head teacher took us around and showed us the state of these mud huts and the need for them to have additional classrooms to fit the needs of their students. 65 students were crammed into one of these tiny, dark and dangerous classrooms and they were still keen to learn. Will got the kids here to hold the CH banner and I think he is keen to use it as their first school next year.
The Third school was our first disappointment. Milele Secondary school was a beautiful school with 5 brick built classrooms and about 120 students. They have had significant investment since their application a couple of years ago and this meant that their needs were now aimed at providing a richer curriculum rather than the basic provisions that C4K is designed to facilitate. The school and teachers were lovely and we were amused to see the photo of Mr. Peter on the wall next to the President of Kenya’s. The school appeared to be doing well with well-mannered students and lovely facilities but they didn’t need our help to provide for their current students or the need for the short term either.
Although every school in Kenya could always do with additional help and resources, the mission of C4K is definitely to provide the basic provision of education to schools and students in communities where they need it most.
The applications for schools are really clear that education needs help to keep the kids away from a life of crime, deprivation and illicit activities and the students really would like to have a future of prosperity and have ambitions far beyond their parent's achievements. I really hope and pray that education in Kenya and also the rest of the world is able to free children from the past of early marriage, illicit activities and to a life of prosperity.
I was really humbled today by the students that were desperate to meet us and say hello as though we were some sort of superstar or saviour that was coming to make their world better. I wish that it was possible for us to remove the need for mud huts in all schools that we build in and provide the safe environments for students and teachers to learn in. I was horrified by seeing 65 kids in a mud hut that was unfit but the kids were so polite and well spoken.
Tomorrow will bring more schools and a couple of opening ceremonies that will do nothing to dispel the idea of white man brings money and prosperity but will give us an opportunity to make the students feel their world has got better in some way.