All schools were meant to open doors today 7th, March, 2013 so the children could continue with their education. However, last night the government directed again that all schools should remain closed until the 11th of March 2013. This is because of the unclear presidential online wired results. It has forced a recount through our normal manual counting, which you can imagine takes time.
Apart from schools, most major businesses and normal transportation systems in the country have not not returned to normal as yet. I personally have been directly participating and am engaged in the current election and I would like to assure you that I believe it will be peaceful. There are no signs of chaos or the same tensions there were in the last election.
We are also happy that the government of Kenya is doing good work to beef up security in the countryside during this election. Many Kenyans attitude this time around is very positive, which is good for our feeling of personal security. We are sure it will remain okay, even after presidential results are announced on schedule tomorrow morning.
Our CBSM school, like many other in Kenya, had no other choice than to comply and remain closed. It was our duty to play a part in a peaceful mission. This morning I received a call from a board member, who assured me, that CBSM teachers strongly believe the situation has normalised. They have made arrangements to go beyond their duty to cover for the lost days.
This is for general information.
po box 2099-00200,city square
December 7th 2012 marked 18 months in Kenya for me. While my experience has been overall amazing I have to admit it has been a rollercoaster ride. Joining Peace Corps I was always told that I would take away so much more than I would give. I didn’t think this could possibly be true, but it is. Kenya has made me a stronger woman in every aspect of my life. I know what it is like to walk an hour to town just to get electricity, lift 10 liters of water out of a well when I need it, wash my clothes by hand, use a pit latrine and be judged or harassed just because of my skin color. Life is simple, but it is not easy.
I have tried to make my projects over the past year and a half as sustainable as possible. I have taught women how to make reusable sanitary towels, held cooking classes, and started a school library and garden at CBSM. I have also taught life skills at two secondary schools on a weekly basis and have had nutrition classes at the hospitals in Kimilili. I have had women’s and men’s health/sports days encouraging physical activity and health awareness which have been extremely successful. have applied for solar cookers and lamps for the women’s groups and orphans of CBSM but I have yet to hear back. Perhaps my best week in Kenya was Camp GLOW sponsored by PEPFAR. This was a weeklong camp to empower and teach high school girls about HIV/AIDS/STIs/STDs, pregnancy, career opportunities, income generating projects, etc. I realize my projects are small scale but I want to stray Kenyans away from the “every white person has money” donor mentally. Just giving them money but never teaching them the importance of capacity building and sustainability is (in my opinion) not the right way to go about development work.
For future projects I would like to build a rain capacity storage tank for CBSM. Sometimes the tapped water is turned off or just doesn’t work and I think it is important to have another clean and readily available source of water for the students. I would also like to have a jiggers outreach and treat all of the CBSM children infected with jiggers. I hope to also paint a world map mural in one of the new classrooms if possible and will help Racheal Singley wherever needed in her efforts with the children’s home.
I honestly think my most rewarding projects are not projects at all but the everyday conversations I have with Kenyans sharing my culture and learning more about theirs. This cross-cultural exchange has made me a much more open-minded, tolerant and patient person. On the flip side, I have been told from many Kenyans that they have learned a lot from me as well. These conversations and experiences are the things I will miss the most when I leave in August. Well, that and the beautiful simplicity of life here.
Community Breakthrough Support Mission is excited to announce Margaret Biketi as the new Project Manager within our Woman and Youth Empowerment Program! Margaret has been with CBSM since 2008 as Head Mistress in our school and will now be taking on an exciting new role in our Empowerment Program.
“When I started at CBSM we only had 30 children and a lot of hope to impact the lives of the hundreds of needy children in the area,” explains Margaret. Since then CBSM is proud to support and teach more than 350 students at our school. “Because of the great success of our school project I hope that our Woman and Youth Empowerment Program will grow to help the lives of others within the community just like our school has.”
Margaret has been working closely with Zaida our accountant and leader of our Woman’s Table Banking Group to communicate with the woman involved in these projects to understand their needs, ideas and short and long term goals.
CBSM has 10 active groups of woman in our table banking program that meet weekly and pool together funds that a member or members may borrow for a fixed amount of time with interest to invest as each group sees fit. Some women use this money for short term projects and/or to invest in various tools/materials etc. to boost their personal businesses. Businesses vary from agriculture, selling second hand clothing and farm products, brick making, shops and a food hotel.
These businesses have been a lifeline for many woman and their families as it is their primary and sometimes only source of income. Margaret will be working closely with the table banking groups to provide materials, education and other tools to help them expand and improve their businesses.
Margaret is excited to dive into her new role, “I am really looking forward to helping the groups and understand how to improve our programs for them so they can experience success.”
CBSM is so thankful for Margaret’s determination, passion and positive energy and believes that she is the perfect person to lead our program to long term sustainable success!
Please check back for updates of the woman involved in these programs and how you can support them!
The last few weeks now have brought about great changes to CBSM. We were able to buy some further lots of land and begin building the foundations for our new CBSM Education Center.
These great strides forward towards building permanent facilities have occurred through the amazing efforts of volunteers from far away and near to home. The project management and funding is realised through our partnership with CBSM-Kimilili in Switzerland. We tip our hats to all of you who have offered your emotional, financial, and practical assistance. It is inspiring for all of us to witness your dedication in supporting us in our endeavours in creating a safe and rich learning environment for our children.We also have to, of course, mention all the members of the CBSM community who have given us so much of their time, skills, resourcefulness, strong backs, and their unending willingness to help where ever help is needed. We are truly grateful.
With a new year now upon us, CBSM has been quite busy in and around Kimilili, Kenya.
We recently said goodbye to 10 volunteers from Europe who have been quite involved in fundraising and the building of a new CBSM school. The school is in its early development stages, but will be made out of concrete materials as opposed to cow dug and sticks which the current school is made out of.
Breezie, our Peace Corps volunteer has been very busy in Kimilili. She has started a health club which she teaches to CBSM’s students in classes 4-7, which she is really enjoying. She teaches them a variety of topics and most recently she has been teaching them about self-esteem, an important aspect of adolescence.
The children really look forward to seeing her every week and enjoy the activities she has been getting them involved in!
At the CBSM school Breezie has been planting gardens with nutritious vegetables and is trying to create sack gardens, which is soil in sack bags with sukuma seedlings (resembles kale). Sukuma seedlings are somewhat out of season and Breezie has been hunting for them in and around the city.
We can’t wait to see how they turn out!
We hope everyone is enjoy their 2012 as much as we are!
From all of us at Community Breakthrough Support Mission (CBSM) we would like to thank everyone for their donations and support throughout 2011.
We were able to accomplish so much and we all look forward to the year to come.
We have many projects and ideas on the go along with many wonderful and passionate volunteers.
From everyone at CBSM we wish you a happy and healthy 2012!
Taxi Fleet CBSM is happy to announce that we have been working along side two local youth groups to create our very own 'Taxi Fleet'!
After four years of teaching best business practices, a pilot project has begun with a vocational training program. Youth from the CBSM community will take part n a nine-month vocational and leadership program and upon graduation they will own their own personal bicycle taxis.
The program will teach these youths bicycle maintenance, repair and will include a one week apprenticeship at a local Kimilili repair shop.
Our main aim in building up a CBSM Taxi Fleet is to provide male youths with a new prospective on how they can achieve self-sufficiency through collaborative effort. The vocational and leadership training program will provide them with the knowledge they need to run a successful bicycle taxi business.
Everyone is very excited and many ideas, suggestions and support has been generated! Please continue to check our blog to receive more information and updates about our exciting new project!
The strike, which is estimated to have affected more that 12 million students has finally ended. The nation wide school strike affected government run schools across Kenya by the Kenyan National Union of Teachers (KNUT).
According to a local Nairobi newspaper report, teachers were handling a teacher to student ration of 1 to 80 and demanded that this be lowered by a large number of additional teachers hired for the country.
Luckily, CBSM's school, as well as other community and private schools continued to operate, but they have been encouraged by the KNUT to close. CBSM held a emergency meeting and decided to close for a few days to ensure the safety of all students.
Yesterday, September 12th, the strike was called off after four days by the KNUT. The KNUT's Secretary General David Okuta made a statement today saying “for the sake of our children, and for the sake of stability in the Nation, the strike has been called off.”
CBSM is happy that the school has been able to run and that other Kenyan students will be able to resume their learning once again.
Zaida, Phylis, and Breezie (left to right)
(written by Mandie)
As some of you may know, we have a Peace Corps Volunteer, Breezie, who will be staying in Kimilili for two years. She has only been in Kimilili for three and a half weeks, but has really gotten down to work!
With a degree in nutrition, Beezie has been conducting nutrition talks to a local hospital's VCT clinic, to newly HIV diagnosed individuals. She will continue to educate others about proper food choices on a weekly basis at the hospital every Wednesday and Thursday morning. During her first talk she spoke about three types of food that can be helpful during an infection and/or illness like HIV/AIDS. Bodybuilding foods to repair the body during illness, protective foods to fight infections and energy foods are essential to maintain immune function. This information is very helpful to those who are newly diagnosed and who may not understand the importance diet can be.
Breezie has also been doing many other things, which has kept her quite busy. Recently, she attended a Community Health Workers meeting in Kamasielo and has been communicating with various group within the community, assessing their needs. Many have given great ideas that the community would like to see established or created.
Breezie has really enjoyed her time in Kenya thus far and looks forward to what lies ahead in the coming months.
by Phylis (Mrs. Wasike)
Much has happened over the last weeks. So much so, that we have not had time to sit down and write you all about the various developments. Firstly, we would like to introduce you to Zaida Emali Namukhosi.
Zaida has kindly committed herself to work at the CBSM offices in Kimilili to improve our financial infrastructures and do our accounting for our various women co-ops and youth groups, as well as the running of our school. Admittedly, our finical accounting has not been functioning the way it should be and therefore we are very excited about having Zaida on-board. It was a long journey to find someone with her qualifications and strong commitment for social change.
We started by doing a campaign in Nairobi in various churches looking for a volunteer accountant. About six applicants offered themselves but their conditions and terms of contract requested were unattainable as per current situation in CBSM does not able us to offer a fixed salary. Unknowingly, in my church, there was an accountant well-trained and certified by government of Kenya, but not currently employed. This person was Zaida Emali Namukhosi.
Over a two-week period, we had several meetings with the couple, whose husband works in Nairobi. I am happy mention the people who helped us in these meetings:
At the conclusion of these meetings, Zaida agreed to come to Kimilili with her children and work for us for one year. The CBSM community will provide her with room and board, a two-acre piece of land for her household garden, ability for her children to attend our school. Palm Security Services will provide building material and the CBSM community member the labour for building proper office facilities for Zaida to carryout her work.
- Palm Security Services Director, who is a leader in our church too
- CBSM board members
- Samuel Namihinda- businessman in Kimilili