Every new year, as we say goodbye to some of the kids, we welcome new ones. This year was a bit different in that we were not admitting a new 3-year-olds class. But we still welcomed a few new faces. 18 new students joined hands of love as 52 left to bring the total number of children enrolled to 163. All the children who joined were as a result of a partnership with ACAKORO FOOTBALL that also saw 16 Hands of Love children leave after receiving a sports scholarship. Eighteen of the children leaving were grade 2 children leaving to join grade 3 in other schools. About ten children left for various reasons, most moved out of Kariobangi and there are a few that we have not established reasons as to why they left.
One teacher and two volunteers left hands of love at the beginning of the year. Geraldine Kerandi who has been volunteering with us since May last year did not come back and Mama Nacho a parent who has been volunteering for a couple of years has also left.
Mauline Kemunto, one of our best teachers left after getting hired by the government. She taught grade 2 children and was a really hardworking and committed teacher. This was evident in how well her students performed and they still speak highly of her. She loved art and last year together with Geraldine she taught the kids a Kisii folk song which they presented at the Kenya Music Festival and also to our visitors. She also taught her class embroidery and they really made beautiful ornaments. We will miss her.
As already mentioned we started a partnership with ACAKORO that saw 16 of our children receive a scholarship and two children with special needs receive support join their program for children with disabilities.
Hands of Love started hosting Special Needs Education workshops which are offered by the Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE). This initiative by KISE is aimed at improving access to special needs education in slum areas.
We received Ksh67,400 from the government as part of the government’s support to informal schools through a program funded by UNICEF. In addition to funds, we are expecting to receive classroom resources and sports equipment through this program.
The report on Emma Nyambura is that she is catching up real first despite being away for two terms. I am grateful to her teacher for following up on her in academics and making sure to plan for visits at their home which is not so far from the school. They went out of their way to make sure that Emma was up to date with her studies. For this very reason, Emma will not have to repeat her former class.
During the holidays, one of our children lost her elder brother who died just before the new year. This has had a very big impact on her and the teachers are doing the best they can to help her overcome this loss.
One of the eighteen grade two children (Yahya Bariso) who left hands of love is yet to join another school because of a lack of funds. We are doing the best we can to help him with placement but this effort is hampered by limited funding on our part.
During the holidays, a couple of renovations were underway in the school. We are glad to report that we now have whiteboards installed and some of the classrooms repainted. Teachers are glad because this has brightened up the class environment and the kids love it. Our stairs were also upgraded from the former wooden ones to a more stable concrete make. Movement has been made easier and safer.
In the last two months, the roads, drainage and sewer lines have been rehabilitated. The street leading to our school is now fully tarmacked with a pedestrian walk. This is a welcome development which has been long overdue. The street was a mess with pools of raw sewage collecting in some areas and posing a serious health risk to the residents.