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.
On the morning of the 31st October, 18 members of a little known community in the Northwest of Ireland, woke to the beautiful sight of a clear, dry brisk October morning.
This was the start of a very good day indeed, a day these 18 people were going to walk some 10km to raise much needed money for a charity they had not heard of before until a member of their community, Vicki became a volunteer with in September of this year.
It was through the images and stories that Vicki sent home on a daily basis that this small openhearted community known as Enniscrone/Kilglass too became involved in the lives of CBSM. Although some 7,500 kms away from their reality, they could see and feel the need of these women and children. So, when asked by Vicki to help fundraise, there was no hesitation just willingness to do what they could to help.
At noon on the 31st October, all 18 people met at the starting point - the little village of Easkey to commence the sponsored walk back to Enniscrone. Through laughter and high spirits they blissfully made their way, knowing that no matter how little or large the sum raised it would all go directly to a very worthy cause.
At every passing car they rattled their collection buckets, smiled wholeheartedly and carried on their way. Some 2.5 hrs later some walked, others were dragged but eventually they all passed the finished line. It had been a wonderful day, the sun, smiles and laughter and the images imprinted in their minds of the beaming faces of the CBSM children made the 10km journey effortless.
It was a day where one small community in the far corners of Northwest Ireland reached out the hand of friendship to a small community in the far corner of Western Kenya. A friendship that over time will grow into one of respect and loyalty and a true understanding of the meaning of giving and receiving.P.S. Rev. Wasike would like to extend great thanks to all the wonderful people in Enniscrone/Kilglass, Ireland for their unquestionably grand efforts to help the children and women of CBSM. The land purchase is now secure! We will also be able to purchase a soil block press to help construct more classrooms, install dry toilet latrines, and hopefully also a school kitchen.
By Rev. Wasike
I wanted to write you a quick update from Kimilili. We are all fine and doing well. This is to inform you that the school is reopening by 7th Sept 2009. The tuition for those kids whose exam results were below average at the end term was forfeited these last weeks. This enabled the children to go to school for free for half days. We adopted this policy in the hope their scholastic level would improve with the extra school attendance. The school closed for all last Friday, so the pupils and teachers could rest like the others before we reopen on the 7th.
By Rev. Wasike
Here are a few isolated photos of the children wearing their new uniforms. These uniforms are being made for free from one of our sponsors, Palm Security Company. They promise to do uniforms for all the available children in the next weeks. If all goes well, the children will all have their uniforms when the new school term starts in May
Many thanks to the people of Palm Security.
Rev. Wasike is travelling today to Kimilili to attend the end of half term school celebrations.
He sent me the following about this event,
"I will be attending the end of term ceremony, which involves giving awards to the individual children. There are awards such as, who are best clean, best in class, best behaved, best disciplined, most improved. We try to reward our children by giving them some presents, or small sums of money (if available), to encourage them to continue their good work, or to motivate them to do better."
Rev. Wasike has promised to return with stories and many photos. He will take photos, not only of the ceremony, but also of the school garden and the children receiving the gifts Jennifer so kindly donated.
I can hardly wait to see them.
From Daniel Kasis
First, Rev wasike sends greetings to all of you from him and all the community members working on building the new facilities. They are building five classrooms and two latrine blocks.
On Tuesday, Rev. Wasike and the community members were able to erect the posts and roof 3 classes work. They finished this work very promptly. Rev. Wasike spent part of the day playing with the kids in our new compound and the kids were eager to start learning again.
Digging was also started on the latrines.
Friday, Rev. Wasike and the team were able to finish the roofing of the five classrooms and the latrine was dug 20ft for the day.
We are hopeful that the children will be back at the school reading and writing once again.
The Community Breakthrough Support Mission recently had some visitors to Kimilili. Can you guess who they were? Well, Esther and Judith from Our Song Circle - Wimbo Mviringo site. Isn’t that wonderful?
We had wonderful time. We took a tour of the CBSM facilities, met with our children, and discussed possible school exchange projects in the future. Esther came with Caleb, one of the children from her school. We all appreciated this opportunity to meet and get to know each other.
We talked about the role of technology nowadays. Judith has regular access to computers and the Internet. Esther is learning how this technology works. Even though we all have different levels of media competence, we are equally convinced of its importance. Technology is essential to facilitate connection, collaboration, and communication.
At the moment, we are in the process of exploring various possibilities ourselves. Eventually, we hope to be able to have the means to let our children have access to this technology and create projects with the support of this technology.
Well, we managed to complete our first school year in Kimilili. What a fine celebration we had.
I would like to extend a special thanks to all our teachers, school volunteers, and children guardians. Without your tremendous help, we would never be able to care for our children as we do. My gratitude is great.