Updates – February 24 – 29

Improved Diet

‘Tayarisha tumbo’ which means ‘get your tummies ready’ has been the new slogan for the learners after the catering team decided to take things a notch higher. Post-mid-term has been an exciting experience for the kids and staff in matters meals. We made changes to the menu and introduced new dishes. 

Fish and Ugali will be served for lunch on Tuesdays and Chapati every Thursday. Teachers were also not left behind in this. In addition to their 10 o’clock tea, they’ll each be having a piece of cake. Feedback from children and teachers is that preparation of the Meals has been excellent. To make the food more healthy vegetables such as eggplants and zucchini are used to make the food more nutritious.

Music Festival

The Kenya Music Festivals are around the corner, and preparations for the same have already kicked off. Peterson Abuga, who was the trainer last year, will be taking the participants through this year as well. Teachers Lucy and Justus will assist him. This year, the school will register to participate in Class 100 – Nursery Solo Boy/Girl (3-5 yrs) Baa, Baa, Black Sheep, Class 236 – set piece for lower primary’ Give me a Kite’ and own compositions under classes 238, 267 and 268.

Teacher’s Assessment 

On Wednesday the 26th of February, we received two assessors Kenya Institute of Special Education. They assessed special needs learners in our school gave suggestions to their teachers’ on strategies they can use to improve learners’ performance. They also commented positively on the pupils’ discipline and learning environment that is the availability of learning resources and modern classrooms.

On Thursday the 27th, the PP1 teachers were assessed as well. 

“I thank all the people who came in to support and help us during the assessment to ensure it was a success. There was a lot of teamwork and support witnessed, and I am personally so very grateful and humbled by the kind gesture,” intimated Teacher Linda Opiche, a PP1 Class teacher.

Updates – January 27 – 31

January has been a good month thus far with week four being the best week. All expected learners have reported back to school and learning is running smoothly. Cases of absenteeism have drastically gone down making it easier for the teachers to achieve their set objectives on time. We may be having quite a challenge with the pre-primary 1 in matters absenteeism, but we are hopeful that come February we will have a better report.

One of our main goals this year is to make learning as fun as it can. It makes mastering of concepts easy and memorable for the kids. Tr. Justus and Tr. Lucy devised a way of making their Environmental lessons more interesting. They combined their classes Grade 1 (A) and 1(B) in teaching about SOIL as a sub-strand of ENVIRONMENT AND ITS RESOURCES. Learners seemed to enjoy the lessons as well as playing with soil at the parking lot. They wrote their names on the soil, drew themselves, drew shapes and much more on the soil as required by the syllabus. On the other hand, Tr. Linda Opiche and Tr. Monica Njeri made their Environmental studies fun by having the learners walk around the school naming the different structures like kitchen, classes, offices while also learning about the people found within those places and what they do. A couple of parents kept sending in positive feedback; mostly being impressed with how fast their children are learning.

The pre-primary 1 students enhanced their critical thinking and problem-solving skills through mastering the concept of grouping similar bottle tops and separating the ones that do not look similar. They do such activities in groups which enhances their socializing skills, working in teams and also being outspoken since working in groups entails taking in suggestions from different members to get a unified result in the end. They also learnt how to write sounds and numbers. According to Tr. Linda, the very first step in this is pencil-holding and eye-hand co-ordination of which a good number of the new learners are showing good progress.

The scout movement is doing so well. The passion and work that Tr. Justus puts into this is commendable.  The members have already memorized the scout motto, the scout oath and the Sungura Scout Law and Promise within three weeks. One can easily tell that they have familiarized with the idea, therefore, enabling them to recite lines and answer most scouting questions with ease

We experienced a minor water shortage on Wednesday, but the matter was attended to and we are hopeful that we will not have a repeat of the same.

Our environment may not always be the best for liberal existence of the kids. Especially when it comes to free socialization, interaction and playing with kids in the neighbourhood. On Friday 31St, Jonnel Macharia, a learner in Grade 2B, got into a serious accident while playing with some friends after school. His mother reported that he is suffering from very severe injuries which include: a huge lump on his head, a sore eye and severe pains in his abdomen area which make eating uncomfortable and painful for him. It is said that he may have been pushed and hit against rocks by some older boys while they were playing in the area playground. Kariobangi can be a quite ‘rough’ area sometimes. This forces most guardians to bring up their children in a hardcore manner while teaching them self-defence and how to toughen up because it is deemed necessary. The problem usually comes in where they are engaging as children or playing and they fail to know where to draw the line between what is acceptable or civil and what is on the extreme hence dangerous. Jonnel is still receiving medication and we pray that he will recover sooner.

Updates January 7 – 18, 2020

Enrollment

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.

Staffing 

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.

New Partnerships

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. 

 Welfare

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.

Renovations

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.

Kariobangi News

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. 

Weekly Report – Sept 30 – Oct 5

This week was very hectic for institutions like Hands of Love that are registered as informal schools. A directive by the Ministry of Education to close down all schools that have not complied with safety guidelines meant that we were on the spotlight. This following a tragedy in which eight children died after their school building collapsed.

Hands of Love exceeds the minimum requirements form informal schools. but we face a safety concern emanating from the coffee factory on the ground floor of our building which poses a serious fire hazard. We got a visit by an inspection team led by the area chief which was impressed by the infrastructure we have in place and gave us more time to address the fire risk. There are many ways in which this visit could have gone wrong. But we are grateful to the chief for his intervention and for appreciating the work that we are doing in Kariobangi.

Images from playgroup class this week

Weekly Report – September 23 – 28

Teaching and learning activities continued apace. There were no major health incidents and the food program went on as planned. The highlights for the week was our school joining the scout movement and the launch of conservation club.

Scout Movement

We registered as a member of the Kenya Scouts Association. This is an educational movement for young people with the purpose of engaging schools and youth groups in community service and teaching them social and leadership skills. The aim is to mold these young people into responsible citizens and members of the community.

We joined Sungura (Hare) Scout Group, which is for children aged between six and eleven. Twenty children (10 boys & 10 girls) started their scouts training. For scouts at this age, excitement and adventure are key. They will be introduced to exciting outdoor skills and take part in adventurous activities such as camping and inter-scouts competitions. They will lead in hoisting the flag and singing the national anthem during school assembly.

These boys and girls need your help in acquiring the scouts uniforms. The cost of one set of uniform is Ksh2,700 (US$27). We need twenty sets which will cost a total of Ksh54,000 (US$540).

Conservation Club

Teacher Lilian led in launching the conservation which by the end of this week boasted 43 members. The club is allied with Wild Clubs of Kenya and is aimed at engendering environment conservation and awareness from an early age.

Among the things that the club want to do is start a tree nursery and plant trees around Kariobangi and visit national parks to learn more about nature and conservation

Weekly Report – September 16 – 21

The theme for this week was recycling and re-use. Teachers and children utilized recycled material and reused things in all their teaching and learning activities.

PP2 children were learning about modes of transport . They made toy cars and buses using carton boxes and bottle caps
Grade one children made different kinds of houses using waste paper and discarded cardboard boxes
Piggy banks from discarded cans
PP1 children made paper boats from waste paper

Weekly Report – September 9 – 14

All children have now reported back and settled down for the third and final term of this school year (2019). So the week was busy and exciting.  

Teaching & learning

Teaching and learning went on well in all classes. Pre- Primary 1 children (4 year olds) were learning parts of their bodies and they traced and coloured their hands. 

All classes engaged in gardening as part of their extra-curricular activity. This enhances their awareness of the environment, creates a nice break from their normal class routine as well as encourages the students to be active in taking care of the environment. 

This term we have revived our school garden. Water supply has been a big problem since mid 2018 and therefore the garden suffered. This problem has now been resolved with the purchase of 2000 litres water tank thanks to Direttamente. This term we are very ambitious with the garden and are planning to grow enough vegetables to complement our food program. Some of the vegetables that grade 1 and grade 2 children planted this week are onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, pole beans and snow peas and red pepper.

Health and Welfare

There were no major health incidents this week. The children that were sick last term are now well.

Emma Nyambura is continuing to recover well. She is now able to stand on her own. 

The children were happy with food this week we introduced a new meal on thursday – peas, potatoes and carrot soup served with rice and the children loved it.

Weekly Report – September 2 – 7

We were delighted to see so many faces returning to Hands of Love on Monday after a one month school break. Turn out was a bit low on Monday and Tuesday but by Wednesday almost children had reported back.  

Health & Welfare

A few children were reported sick. Leon, Jewel, and Samuel in playgroup, pre-primary and grade 1 respectively were coming down with pneumonia. They were taken to hospital and are feeling better now. 

Joseph Lola joined HoL on Monday. His mother fell sick in August and was admitted at Kenyatta National Hospital’s high dependency unit. They live in Kayole (7 kilometres from Kariobangi). He is currently living with his aunt in Kariobangi and attending school at HoL temporarily as his mum continues to receive treatment.

Innocent Mugao rejoined HoL after being away for seven months. He left in January after his mother got a Job in Kirinyaga (200 kilometres from Nairobi). They moved back to Kariobangi in August.

Other News 

We were a bit stretched this week  with three teachers calling in sick but we were able to manage with the help of volunteers Linda and Geraldine.

The start of this term was delayed for a week to allow conclusion of the national census, an exercise that is conducted every ten years.

Special Appeal for Emma Nyambura

Emma Nyambura at School

Meet Emma Nyambura – a four-year-old girl who has a history of rickets that has caused severe bowing leaving her with chronic pain in the spine, pelvis and legs that makes it difficult for her to learn. Emma has never received proper treatment for her condition. Her parents thought that the problem will resolve on its own as she grew. It is only recently that her condition has been properly diagnosed and she has started taking medication. In addition to the treatment she is receiving, doctors say that she will need a surgery to restore proper bone structure and correct bowlegs. This will cost ksh180,000. Her family is unable to raise these funds and we therefore making an appeal to friends and supporters to helps us get this beautiful girl the surgery she needs.

Emma lives with her dad, mum, and two-year-old sister a short distance from the school. Her dad sells second-hand shoes and her mum is currently unemployed.

Despite her illness Emma performs exceptionally well in academics. However due to her condition she is unable to interact normally with other children and at times looks withdrawn. Over the last five months she has been with us she has formed a very close bond with her class teacher Linda Opiche who helps her navigate her school day and comforts her when she is in pain.

Please Help us Help Emma by Donating

Week Four 2019 Report (January 20 – 26)

We had an amazing and productive week, learning and growing together. It was a week of many change and many firsts. Elizabeth, one of the two new teachers was on duty and she did an excellent job coordinating various activities and leading the assembly – during which she taught us new Kamba (one of the over 42 local languages) songs. The other new teacher Justus led our weekly staff meeting. It was the first time the meeting was led by a person other than the director. Justus did a wonderful job leading the meeting and shared with us his experiences as a teacher in Narok. His experiences led to an open discussion on the ways we can make Hands of Love a better schools and led us to be thankful for what we already have,

Some of the Highlights from the week are –

1. Terry and Neal’s Visit

On Tuesday January 22, Terry and Neal Visited the School. Neal is a strong supporter of Hands of Love through our Italian Friends Direttamente. Neal had the opportunity to see and learn how the school works and shared lunch with us. In the afternoon he was taken for a close to three tour of Kariobangi neighbourhood where he met and interacted with six HoL families as they went about their daily activities. The tour included a visit to a neighboring school and Kariobangi Trader’s Market.

Neal donated a computer to the school and a bag full of clothes for which we are very thankful.

2. New Students

Two new students admitted in october last year reported to school this week bringing the total student population to 169.

3. Health and Welfare

On wednesday 23 and Thursday 24, Eleven students presented with severe stomach ache and vomiting and were taken to hospital where they were treated for food poisoning. We suspect that the source of the infections was from our kitchen as we had taken delivery of vegetables on wednesday and the handling may not have been done well because we have new staff at the kitchen. Immediate action was taken to correct this mistake and I am happy to report that by Saturday all the affected children had recovered and there were no new cases.

It was noted in the staff meeting that many of the children did have good school shoes. Many wear flip flops and some had shoes that were worn out.

In a case of suspected domestic violence a grade 1 boy had a serious septic wound on their index finger and was taken to hospital. It was noted that a pre – primary 2 girl who sustained burns on her hand last year still needed treatment because the hand had not healed properly.

Lastly on health, we have a girl with severe case of rickets and her legs are in constant pain. We are looking into ways of making her stay in the school comfortable and safe.

Monicah Saida, the girl with cerebral palsy reported back to school after a two weeks absence. It is a continuous struggle for us to convince her parents that she need to be in school.  

4. Teaching and Learning  

Attendance in the the week was good averaging 164 students per day. Teachers reporting time in the morning has significantly improved since new incentives were put in place in the first week.

Pauline, grade one teacher attended a workshop on teaching mathematics in primary organised by St. Pauls University, Limuru.

A number of parents complained that the work their children are doing in school was not challenging enough. This comes from a lack of understanding by parents on what the new curriculum entails. We plan to hold parents meetings beginning next week so that we can discuss this issue with them.

We have started to benefit from the new skills teachers undergoing training in special education have acquired. During the week the teachers discussed with the director and formulated plans to help the four special needs students we currently have at HoL.