Newsletter - January 2014

Dear Supporters and Sponsors,

Happy New Year to you, and a heartfelt thank you for continuing to support us in 2013.

Both Magnet School in Kenya and the MAPED project in Tanzania have continued to develop and grow, and through regular donations and fundraising events have received over £10,000 from Worldwide Silver Lining in the past year.

Our big news story this year was our visit. Six of us went out in July for two weeks to visit both projects, and found that they had both developed significantly since our last trip in 2010.

The Magnet compound was a more attractive and well managed site, and now in its second decade has managed to establish itself as a good school in the area. We were shown the new kitchen which was built with money raised by St Catherine’s school in Bramley, and the new eating hall – a tin classroom not currently in use! The Primary school has been further established with day pupils and full time orphans in attendance. It was heartening to see that one of the teachers, Esther, used to be a Magnet student and has now qualified to teach. She wanted to give something back to the Magnet community, and now works with Kibobi and Judy in helping to run the Primary school.

Number of students had been down, however the number is picking up again as parents and guardians realise the hidden costs of the ‘free’ state education. Kibobi told us he has 108 students on role, with the able ones being asked to pay £142 a year for their education. He is fully supporting 36 children, and his aim is to continue to support these children beyond their school years until they are self-reliant. Our regular donations help keep these children.

We saw the computers which we paid £400 to Computers 4 Africa for the school to acquire, and Kibobi is taking steps to develop the technology in his school.

Moving to MAPED, we again found that this project was much more developed than the last time we visited. The church which Royal Russell students helped to build in 2008 is now functioning and a centre for the community. The school which was still being built in 2010 now has two classes with Maasai day children learning English and the Primary curriculum.

Another interesting development was that of onion farming! Traditionally Maasai are pastoralists and so herd cattle. Recently however the Tanzanian government has been giving grants to get local Maasai into growing and selling onions along the Ruvu river. This seems to have been very successful.
As we left the leaders in the nearest town, they were going to buy a motorbike from funds we have raised. This will help the leaders access the villages, which are all very remote.

Future Developments
Magnet school are currently building a dormitory for the orphaned boys. This is very much needed, as the current living accommodation for the boys is rather poor. So far, Kibobi has raised enough money to set the foundations. Our donations continue to help him with this enterprise.

At MAPED, they are now wanting to raise money to set up a Cow Project for the older teenage boys who have not had the opportunity of the formal education now being offered to the younger members, and therefore have little or no job prospects.

Your donations continue therefore to have a great impact on the people involved in these two projects, and we do thank you so much for being part of their story. As we look to 2014, we hope to bring Bishop Kibobi and his wife Susan over to the UK again, in order to strengthen links and establish new ones, and some boys at Dulwich College will be fundraising themselves towards a trip to both projects in 2015.

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