Do you own your local public school?
I’m not sure it’s a thought that most of you have if you are back in Canada or the States. Especially if you don’t have kids or send yours to a private school. Have you walked past a public school in your neighborhood recently and thought “Gosh, I wonder how well kids in this school are doing. After all, I have a stake in this school!”
In Kenya, however, it is a different matter entirely. Here the difference between the poverty a parent faces now and a future without poverty rests almost entirely on school. And since the vast majority of Kenyans cannot afford private school, the public school is very important to them. They know they have a stake in their local public school.
A good example of this dedication to their local school can be found in Lemolo, where WTA has funded a new primary school that is still under construction. The primary school walls are barely up, but it already has formal recognition and a headmaster. Students are already learning in nearby houses or in makeshift structures. It is already an important public institution in this young community’s life.
Our intrepid field rep Sam has been at Lemolo often in the past few months and has seen how the school grows by leaps and bounds. Because of the advocacy from the local community, teachers are already present. And most recently, they’ve started their own feeding program for their 400 students: Every parent in the community contributes food and water to the program. That’s how invested they are in making this school work in Lemolo.
When Sam shared with me all the community was doing on their own with the little they had to spare, I couldn’t help but feel humbled. I’m glad to be supporting these people to get a good school there.
The community members in Lemolo are fully invested in their local public school’s well-being; they own this school. They are making this school happen; we are just building the walls around it. Sam calls this a “self starting” group of people, and they are using our support extremely effectively already.
Our support shouldn’t end once the walls go up though. We need to support their investment in this school as it grows. This young school will need textbooks and desks and supplies and more…
In Shalom, where we’ve helped the community nurture a thriving public school, our most recent investment there is the connection of the school to the electricity grid.
At Springs High School, our investments are all over the place: the textbooks, the laboratory, the desks, the walls…
We too have a stake in these schools. Let’s ensure they are a success.
This month, we will be one step closer to Kimugul Primary School in Lemolo being complete. The work has been moving quickly, but clearly not quickly enough for the parents there.
Now that Shalom is connected with electricity, this month, we’ll also be updating you on how that’s affecting student’s lives there. Not many places in the village of Shalom have electricity and now, hundreds of students can study for a few more hours a day.
And we will continue to be sharing the ways these strong communities we work with continue to surprise and inspire us.