Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Building the Kasimani School!

All the stars aligned and yes, we have broken ground to build the Kasimani School (formerly Che Shale Kasimani of the CSKCP project). The structure the community built in 2008 when the original structure we built with Justin in 2004 fell apart a few weeks ago, and we were worried about the kids learning under trees in the rains. With some funds coming from the old CSKCP, Terre Solidali and Marzia's brother Marco Chierichetti, we decided to build.

The school and the community have been heavily involved, parents have worked hard, ferrying the materials to the site through the sand dunes (it would have been expensive to transport the materials in these conditions with cars or tractors), are providing the water for the site from the local well, some building labour and are ensuring the materials are safe, taking shifts to guard them. Excellent commitment from the community will ensure that the school works well. We've discussed this project for years and everyone is fully committed. The school is already well attended, with at least 270 children at the moment studying under trees! There is a real commitment to education in this area due possibly in part to the previous work done by the CSKCP, Terre Solidali and CISP and this made the decision to assist with the permanent structures that much easier. Two permanent classrooms and a store/office will be built in this phase hopefully by the end of March.

In meetings with parents, we decided that we wanted the community members as involved as possible so that they could say that they in some way built the school with their own hands and that it wasn't built by some "outsider" who in the future will always run to their aid. Teachers have been trained throughout the years by the CSKCP and by CISP and the school is monitored regularly through the CISP education programme sponsored by the Malindi for Education campaign. Thanks to the efforts made by these two programmes, the school was officially taken on as a government school last year. The Kenyan Ministry of Education has placed three teachers there ensuring effective management.

The idea in the long term is to build a community centre, and Marco is interested in putting in a community library. More innovative design is planned for future projects which will be environmentally/eco friendly and hopefully more efficient given the conditions, but a decision was made to build a "classic" structure quickly to ensure that the school has a solid foundation to work with. More pictures can be found here. Please contact me if you'd like to contribute!

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