Update from Kitui, Kenya.
7 April 2020
January 2020 saw four students returning to Mulango Training Institute to complete their final year in Skills Training. Two are studying Masonry and two others Electrical Wiring. Two new girls also joined to undertake a one-year course in Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy. The new students settled in very well and the second years were very helpful in mentoring them. The teacher’s reports for all students was very positive and encouraging and the students were delighted with their progress.
February brought a very new experience for both the students and their parents. Two Claremorris artists, Norah Brennan and Anna Dixon came all the way to Kitui to do a two-week Art and Crafts workshop. They brought with them lots of art materials donated by fellow artists from Claremorris which were so much appreciated by all of us. It was a wonderful two weeks experienced by everyone and the work produced was simply amazing. Experiences were described as “I’m not afraid to try new things and draw from my mind”; “I’m really delighted with my drawings”; “It really bonded our group together”; “It helped to increase my self-confidence”. Both the students and the parents have set up their separate Art Clubs so that they can continue their art and the PROTECT staff will assist them with their efforts.
Unfortunately, the COVID19 virus hit Kenya and it has changed the lives of our students, post-trained youths and parents together with the whole community. All schools, training institutions and colleges were closed on 23 March. Our students are now at home and are continuing with their studies at home. The PROTECT staff are making tremendous efforts to assist them with their studies and are continuously encouraging them to abide by the restrictions imposed by the Government.
The post-trained youths are finding life difficult right now being without work and not being able to earn money but thankfully they feel good about the fact that they have saved some money to help them to get by. Those who are away from home are missing their families and friends and recent regulations prohibits people moving in or out of Nairobi city and some of the counties. The PROTECT staff are there continuously encouraging and supporting them.
The Kenyan Government and the authorities both in the town of Kitui and in the rural areas are very serious about seeing that all people are compliant. Let us hope that the crisis soon comes to an end and that the lives of people, including our wonderful students, gets back to normal.
Unfortunately, due to restrictions here at home The Good Friday Walk has been cancelled. We will miss your presence, involvement and donations, however, it is possible for you make your contribution in assisting the underprivileged children that we support through providing educational opportunities for them and giving them the chance of having a dignified life out of the poverty trap. You can make your donation through iDonate on this website and every donation no matter how small will be very much appreciated and spent wisely by us on the children we support.
This Easter will be a different kind of one for people and it is our wish that everyone will be safe and care for each other as best as possible, even at a distance. Happy Easter.
CHILD RESCUE AND HOLISTIC DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME
The students reported back to school on 6th May and school fees were paid for this 2nd term amounting to €352. All their school reports were very satisfactory and on following up with the Class Teachers their reports were very positive about the school progress and the personal development of all the students, particularly the girl who is in her final year of study. Next week we will be paying the Examination Fee and Materials costs to the school and she will sit for her exam in November/December 2019.
Consequences of breaking school rules
In early June, a student reported that some items of clothing had been stolen from him in the school, he reported the issue to the teacher in charge, as it the correct procedure, but unfortunately the teacher was unable to resolve the issue and the student acted immaturely and went home without permission. Fortunately, the when the father accompanied the student back to the school, the matter was addressed within the school, and a fine of €10 for such behaviour did not have to paid by the father. I don’t know how he would have afforded that kind of money.
There were further complaints regarding theft and when the cases were investigated the correct procedure of complaint was not followed and the students and parents will have to suffer the loss.
Life Skills Trainings and One to One Sessions
The issue of reporting stolen property was once again revisited and understood by the students.
Some students raised the issue of the parents not providing adequately for them when returning to school and that this was a source of stress and embarrassment for them, so we followed up with Parental Training reinforcing the conditions of both their contracts regarding for providing adequately for their children relating to personal shopping and transportation to and from school.
It was agreed that a provision of supplies system by the parents would be put in place and administered by Roselyn and Wycliffe (PROTECT staff) to avoid this unnecessary worry for the students and also to assist the parents in making the necessary provisions on a regular basis thus relieving the stress of trying to provide everything at the last minute before the reopening of school after mid-term and school holidays. The idea was embraced very warmly and the process in now in place.
The Parental Trainings are working very well, resulting in unity and co-operation within the group, e.g. parents are assisting one another in sourcing casual labour for one another and also providing casual labour opportunities when they find a need to do so in their own farming enterprises.
POST-TRAINED YOUTHS ATTACHMENT PROGRAMME
To further assist the Post-Trained Youths, we are introducing a six months attachment to take place in the town of Kitui where we will be able to provide further Life Skills Training, Personal Development and Business Management Skills and have the adequately prepared to enter the World of Work. This will cost us money because the youths will need to be assisted with rent and food. The cost is estimated at €300 per youth for the six months but it will be well worth it for the youths.
Kitui County Health Insurance Scheme.
Kitui County has introduced a Health Insurance Scheme and we have included the parents of the children in the scheme, in that way the student is covered together with all the other family members. We will also do the same for one of the Post -Trained youths because he is living and working in Kitui County. Unfortunately, the other two youths are residing outside the county and they will have to come under the NHIF (National) scheme, which is much more expensive, €10 compared to €60 per year.
Preparations for the Tom Waldron 5k are underway and it will take place on the evening of Tuesday 13th August. Further information will be available on the website and facebook and we hope that you will be able to be there on the evening.
We will always appreciate your financial help in assisting with the education of children who have been removed from child labour in Kitui, Kenya. Every euro is spent very wisely.
You can donate through our website.
Child Rescue & Holistic Development ProjectThe five students have completed the first term of the school year obtaining very good results and reports. All students achieved A’S and teachers reported that they were very well behaved, motivated and co-operative within the school system.
Two students are studying Masonry, two Electrical Technology and the final year student Fashion Design, Tailoring and Dressmaking.
Group Life Skills training with the students has been taking place every week which is proving very beneficial. This year we introduced individual counselling/mentoring sessions with the students, i.e. one student per week which uncovers challenges the child may be facing, in-depth family background, realistic ambitions of the child, increase in self-worth, self-esteem and self-confidence. It has proved to be very worthwhile and is of benefit when meeting individually with the parents of each child, in reflecting difficulties and challenges experienced within the family situation. In turn, many of the presenting issues can be addressed in the Parental Skills Training and are of significance to the parents.
Every family has been visited in their homestead and this has given us a very clear picture and understanding of the living conditions and circumstances of the families. Bi-weekly Parental Trainings take place with both the parents of the present students and also the parents of the former students where they act as mentors.
Prior to the school holidays both parents and students were trained and prepared for activities to be undertaken during the holiday period which include homework revision; family chores and community activities together with acceptable social behaviour. A joint meeting of the children and the parents took place last Thursday, April 4th, to ensure that the holiday time will be spent wisely and harmoniously. Roselyn reported that both parents and students were happy with the direction given to them and that there was a very good understanding between parents and children.
Prior to coming home, I did some Monitoring & Evaluation of the Parental Trainings and the finding were very encouraging.
Positive comments about trainings from parents included:
Positive effects as a result of the trainings:
Comments of parents
The other two lads are not doing as well. One, a carpenter, is now in Mombasa with his uncle and getting work when possible. He was also offered employment by the same employer as the electrician, but he did not take up the offer.
The other lad is now in Nairobi with his brother, who is a casual labourer, and finding work when it is available. His situation is not ideal, and we are working very hard to enable him to get employment locally and he himself is anxious to work nearer to home. We are also working closely with his mother. It is always better that they are close to PROTECT for the first year after qualifying so that we can guide and mentor them along. When they are at such distances it becomes difficult, practically impossible, for us to continue monitoring and evaluating them over the phone.
Before coming home, I had meetings with both youths and I’m hopeful that employment will be found for the boy who is presently in Nairobi. The other boy seems to have decided on Mombasa.
The bright lights of Mombasa and Nairobi are very attractive to the young people.
I feel that it is an area that requires much more attention in both the Student Life Skills Training and Parental Training, and we will incorporate this more effectively into our curriculum.
Family Sustainability ProjectThe young boy who is in residence in Nuymbani Village is making good progress in school and his health has improved. We visit him every month and take him some goodies that he can share with the other children in his house.
Unfortunately, his grandmother suffered a stroke some weeks ago, she has now been discharged from hospital but has paralysis on her right side. It has been obvious over the past number of months that her health has been failing.
Roselyn notified the team at Nuymbani Village about the condition of the grandmother because unfortunately the uncle or aunt of the young boy do not contact Nuymbani. The team were very appreciative and promised to take the boy to visit his grandmother and possibly allow him to stay for some time with her during the school holidays.
School Fee Assistance Project
Both young girls attending secondary school are doing well according to reports from their parents. They are now on school holidays, but I was unable to get their school reports before coming home. The parents are very appreciative of the assistance given to them by PROTECT.
The remaining SHG was dissolved during February because of mis-use of funds and non-adherence to the rules. The dissolution was carried out according to the SHG Constitution through the Chief of the area.
It was with regret that this action had to be taken but actions of the members were beyond our control and we could not tolerate their corruptive behaviour.
Appointment of Kenyan AccountantThere has been a delay in the appointment of a local accountant. On checking documentation, it was discovered that the first person selected was not a Certified Accountant. Documentation checks are now taking place with another person. Alex Muthoka (Kenyan Development Co-ordinator) is looking after this, and I will inform you as soon as he reports to me.
FinanceAll expenses have been provided for up to the end of May and the payments due are in the care of Alex Muthoka (Kenyan Development Co-ordinator). The KCB bank balance at end of May should be approx. €900 after all payments have been made unless there is some unforeseen incident requiring finance.
Office EquipmentA new lap-top is required in the office. Presently there are two in use, one which was given to us on loan by KDC and they have been requested to return it to US AID. The other lap-top I donated to the office. I feel that it is better to purchase a lap-top here and take it back with me on my return.
Media EquipmentA camera/video is also necessary during field trips. A supporter of PROTECT has promised to give us one but should this not materialize I suggest we purchase one here and that I also take it back with me.
MotorbikeThe deal on the motorbike did not materialize as expected. Unfortunately, due to time and work constraints I did not have time to procure a new one. Presently we are using, maintaining and insuring the one belonging to KDC. All accessories required for compliance with the Road Authorities Act have been purchased and always used by the staff.
That’s about all for now.
This young boy is now at the stage where he moves to another school which will be of better assistance to him with his education and personal development. My goodness, he is very excited about this and preparation are now underway for him to join the new school.
Required documentation needed for his new school included his Birth Certificate and the Death Certificates of both his parents and boy had we some challenge in getting them. Many children in Kenya do not have Birth Certificates and in the case of Kithenzi it was particularly difficult because his mother died when he was just a few months old and his elderly Grandmother did not realize the importance of having this document. This is a very common occurrence in Kenya and let me tell you there is a lot of bureaucracy involved not to mention time taken up with procuring these documents. Anyway, we are nearly there with just the Death Certificates to be written up.
Let us wish Kithenzi well in his new school and hope that he will be very happy there.