SISIT PRE-SCHOOL, KENYA - OUR NEW PROJECT FOR 2020!
THE STORY OF SISIT PRIMARY SCHOOL:
In 2005 the elders of the Sisit community in West Pokot met with our partner in Kenya, Africa Exchange, to request assistance with the construction of a building to house their pre-school program.
For the previous two years a volunteer teacher had operated a pre-school outside with makeshift benches and a chalkboard nailed to a tree. (See gallery above).
With the community contributing the land, roofing sheets, sand, gravel and labor and with Africa Exchange contributing the steel and cement the main structure was completed. Over the next two years the community was able to gather materials for the slab and for the bricks which they fired and used in wall construction.
By 2007 the pre-school was completed beginning with 20 children and growing to 50.
Over the past 10 years a water system project was implemented in partnership with Africa Exchange enabling the community to pump water from the river in the valley. First they used a gravity fed turbine system then replaced it with a solar pumping unit.
Today there is enough water for the entire community plus sufficient supply for a tree nursery (added in 2018) which assists in environmental preservation efforts in the area.
PROJECT DETAILS - THE NEED FOR ADDITIONAL CLASSROOMS:
As is the case in some of our other school communities, new village schools often start with a pre-school classroom because the children under 7 years of age are not able to make the long walks to the nearest primary schools. (These schools are often at least 5 miles away). In highly motivated communities sometimes a dedicated individual will step forward and begin working as a volunteer with the pre-school aged children in an effort to provide them with an early childhood education, preparing them for primary school.
When communities are able to build a classroom for these pre-school children and the young students advance to upper grades, the families want them to stay nearby. Thus, the original pre-school building fills with older students leaving no space for the youngest "up and coming" children to start.
The scenario just described above has occurred in Sisit over the past decade. As the need grew for additional classrooms they made a small expansion of the school.
Today Sisit has grown to include students up to 8th grade. There is a critical need to build a three classroom block to house the pre-school/kindergarten children in an Early Childhood Development Center which will free up the existing classroom space for the primary school and school hall.
Gary's Fund has been in discussion for some time with Africa Exchange about a new project in Kenya. After extensive discussion we have agreed on this project and feel that it is a perfect match with our goals and mission. The adults of Sisit are highly movtivated and committed to providing an education for their children. While impoverished and in a remote location they have made significant contributions every step of the way. Gary's Fund will be making a $30,000 contribution to fund the construction of a three classroom building to complete this school, creating an Early Childhood Development Center for the youngest chidlren and allowing for the completion of the primary school.
All photos provided by Africa Exchange.