Kisumu, Kenya

This year, we are going to concentrate our efforts in two main areas:

  • The new primary school building at Alara
  • A community college at Alara for school leavers

We first became involved with Alara School when we made a visit there early in 2006. Tom Sabwa, who was the leading figure in organising our building project at Dago Kokore School, was transferred to Alara School, where he took up the position as Deputy Head Teacher.

The school is a happy place. That became very evident in our visit in 2006, when we met the teachers and many of the children. Despite the poor school buildings, it is a successful school. Like most others, it has a very large proportion of orphaned children due to parents dying of AIDS.

An administration block for Alara school was completed in December 2007, and work started in December on the foundations of the new primary school. Things became really difficult in January 2008 when there was serious civil unrest after the elections, and the project came to a halt. We had intended to make a visit in January, but it was very unsafe at the time, and for several weeks afterwards.

Admin block at Alara School Kisumu Kenya

Above: The new administration block that we paid for last year. Verandah, reception hall, large staff room, large store, and three offices and two toilets. Total cost was about £6,000.00 ($12,000.00 US). Yes, compare that with the cost of a house back home!

Below: The staff room. This year we are going to do something about that furniture! That's a promise!

Below: The primary school at Alara, built in the 1930s, it has seen better days.

Alara School in 2006

The staff at Alara School (2006)

Plans for the new primary school (drawn up by our son Paul)

Plans for new Alara Primary school Kisumu Kenya
(Click image for larger view - opens in a new window)

8 Classrooms and a store room housing a water tank.

Just up the road from the school is the equator! Rod Neep poses with a foot in each hemisphere. In the background are Zadok and Tom.

Alara Primary School

Some basic statistics:

  • 420 primary children (aged 7 to 14)
  • 87 nursery children
  • 10 children with special needs
  • 9 class rooms (8 in the primary school)
  • 14 teachers and assistant staff.

After the troubles in Kenya had started to subside a little, work began on the new school.

Below: View from the admin block, as the foundations are built.

The first brick is laid by head teacher Perez.

And the second brick by deputy head teacher Tom

By April 2008 one wing was up to roof height, and the others growing fast.

Above, composite photos from the front.
Below, composite photo of the side and rear.

So... and onwards to our next visit!

We are returning to Kenya in May 2008.

Life there is still a little "tense", and there is probably some degree of danger, but it is much better than it was earlier in the year. As you read this, please spare a little moment to pray for us.

Our main aims for this trip:

  • To give encouragement to those involved in building the new school
  • To see the administration block painted inside and out, and gutters added to the roof (We just sent over another £1,000 for this, with the remainder going to the building funds)
  • To go shopping to buy tables and chairs for the staff room
  • To discuss with the Chief Education Officer, Tribal Chief, Head teacher, Deputy head teacher, and the school committee about plans for the old school buildings. We would like to see them used as a community college for orphan school leavers to learn sewing and dressmaking, hairdressing, building trades and furniture making. A self sustaining project. This will include developing the project of them making school uniforms for the children.
  • To check on the local individuals to whom we gave "starter money" last year for self employment projects, and give them more support if needed. We already know that the seamstress and her orphan apprentice girls have made lots of school uniforms.
  • To discuss equipping the new school with desks and chairs.

And we hope, of course, to see more work being done on the new school.

A total of £20,000 has been sent over to them already for the new school building project. We have about £5,000 left in our "pot", but since the project was started (and because of the civil unrest in Kenya earlier this year) prices of materials has increased by about 33%. So we are going to need more funds for it to reach completion. The money will come! It always does. But if you would like to help, even with just a very small amount, you can donate here using PayPal. Every little bit counts!

Next: Sept 2008 Visit - The New School

Click to go to Ancestry.co.uk
£5,000 was very generously donated to the Alara School building fund by Ancestry.co.uk
This is THE site for genealogy on the internet.


Our Kenya Children Sponsorship

Rod & Gay Neep
51 St. Whites Road, Cinderford, Gloucestershire GL14 3DF, England

email: info@helpkenyakids.org

Phone: +44 (0)1594 826633