Monday, March 30, 2009

Mercy Home girls are on t'internet

We're all totally buzzing here over receiving an email from Leonidah Ayuma, one of the talented, gorgeous girls living at the Mercy Home in Maseno, Kenya, our main hosts.

Our fabulous 2007 volunteers who set up the Home's Foundation have only just got over the shock of receiving our first "Report" from Edward Mbenda Buyengo, director and "father" at the home. The report finally puts us in touch with the other supporters of the home; Trinity Reformed United Church & Dr Rev Della Fahnestock of Pennsylvania, US. Della also runs the Alliance Education Fund providing scholarships to girls and women in developing countries.

2007 Volunteer Nick states "When i think about how much of my university degrees have been about accessing info from the internet, i honestly think that just having ACCESS to this information can make an absolutely massive different to education and knowledge-building in rural areas - its amazing."

Zoe reminds us all that "each one of the (Mercy Home girls) can hopefully use their amazing opportunities to energise and empower others in the community."

We'd all like to thank Marie so much for bringing a laptop, and taking the girls to the internet cafe.

Zoe describes "when we took Phanice and Rosebellah to use the internet last time we were there they were so amazed at all the things you could do on the internet, and they were super speedy typers – very impressive!"

Leo's letter reminded Nancy "how the Mercy Girls are actually so advanced socially (due to their communal living conditions) and also have such advanced "worldly" experiences ... the outside influence, the self esteem/confidence one sees in them and ... their influence on others in Kenya. What a group of girls!!!"

I want to thank everyone involved, you're all stars!

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Kipepeo Butterfly Projects and card-making

Tomorrow I attend a meeting with Nidderdale High School, my childrens school, about a cross cultural project we're part of. Local primary schools, Glasshouses and St Cuthberts, along with 3 primary schools on the Kenyan Coast are taking part in a DFID funded exchange program initiating curriculum activities promoting Global Dimensions education between the two cultures.

Arabuko-Sokoke forest (41,600 hectares) is the largest single block of natural coastal forest remaining in East Africa and ranks second in bird conservation value, after the Congo rain forest. It lies inbetween Malindi and Kilifi, north of Mombasa on the Indian Ocean coastline.

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Of the 52 mammal species found in the forest 5 are globally threatened but 250 recorded species of butterfly also live in the area. These are farmed and sent worldwide to various zoos via the Kipepeo Project

A Rocha Kenya are responsible for the Arabuko-Sokoke Schools and EcoTourism Scheme (ASSETS), working in practical biodiversity conservation from Watamu near Malindi.
ASSETS is a sustainable development programme which promotes such cross cultural exchange programmes between school children, "encouraging community support for the protection of the area."
They also importantly "distribute funding from Eco-tourism throughout the community and especially in the form of bursaries(scholarships) for secondary school children who would otherwise be unable to afford the school."

Already the pupils of Nidderdale and Arabuko-Sokoke are corresponding, learning about each others lives and promoting enterprise via a paper and card-making business, tutored by the Kisumu Ladies Community Hand-Made Paper Project and by Nidderdale High Schools Science and Art Specialist Award-winning teaching. Exchange of information will also cover horticulture, natural environment management, and farming techniques.

June 20th 2009 the Nidderdale area welcomes the Headteachers from the Mida, Mbarackachembe & Mzizima Primary Schools for a 10 day visit. Teachers from our local schools will visit Kenya in October half term.