The SCLS has made remarkable progress in its mission of providing a safe home, an education and nourishment for the bodies and souls of these distressed children. This has all occurred because of the organizational abilities of Br Kennedy, supporters at home in Kenya and many international supporters from, Holland, UK, Puerto Rico, Vermont, USA and Nova Scotia, Canada.
Recently the SCLS has undergone several major improvements. This month a rainwater collection system and cistern has been completed. This project, funded by the ‘Living Water Africa’ (http://www.livingwaterafrica.org.uk/) foundation based in Southampton, UK, was constructed in cooperation with the Kisoboka Trust of Southampton, UK (http://www.kisoboka.org.uk/) and the Kenya Rainwater Association of Kenya. This project built a 50,000 liter cistern into which rainwater will flow, collected by gutters installed on the roofs of the SCLS buildings. This will provide water for irrigation and personal use and give the school the opportunity to raise hens and rabbits for meat and eggs. The residents of Boornbergum, Holland are currently preparing to ship a container filled with pre fab components of a 64 person dormitory for the Kenyan students. This project will provide comfortable and safe sleeping arrangements for 64 students, sleeping one to each bed, as opposed to the present cramped conditions of 3 students per single bed.
Inverness County Cares (ICC) has provided the school with a multi purpose hall. This structure will serve as classroom, cafeteria, assembly area, and examination hall. The building is in use but needs windows, doors and a cement floor to complete the structure. ICC hopes to have this work complete by the beginning of the new term in January.
The Sisters of St Martha of Bethany, Antigonish, NS have provided the school with a safe and efficient kitchen where the staff prepare and cook meals on the two energy efficient stoves provided by local Dalbrae Academy students. It is a welcome change from pots on an open fire method, formerly used to prepare meals for the student population.
SCLS has recently come to the attention of individuals, schools and organizations in the Burlington Vermont area. School children are planning fund raising projects, and individuals are in the planning stages of further improvements for the SCLS. Ted and Hermina van Zutphen and Colleen MacLeod of ICC recently traveled to Vermont (expenses paid personally) for a Green Across The Pacific (GATP) conference and 7 Dalbrae students participated as well (virtually). Dalbrae is in the beginning stages of a cultural/environmental exchange relationship with the Vermont GATP organization.
ICC continues to advocate for the SCLS and our local food bank. Presently we have a horse trailer parked at the end of Ted and Hermina van Zutphen’s lane. We are now accepting recyclables for the local food bank. When this is filled we will begin to accept recyclables for the SCLS in Kenya.
These students often come to SCLS with mostly just the clothes on their back. Their most urgent need is of course, food. ICC is proud to be able to supply the students with food each month. Our monthly $800 donation provides the basics of their food needs. That would be $3.33 per student per month. This provides basic foods, beans, maize, rice, tomatoes, kale and other vegetables. Their menu is the same everyday except on Sunday, some meat is added for flavor.
Each child has a school uniform and a set of work clothes. They all have very little personal belongings or personal hygiene items. There is the risk of Malaria in their area, but the school cannot afford sleeping bed nets, which offer protection, from the mosquitoes carrying malaria.
The school has three pit latrines, each with 2 compartments, this provides service for the 240 students plus 15 teachers and administration. Wash up areas are a space enclosed by corrugated metal sheets where each student does their morning wash-up from a bucket, standing on rocky or muddy ground each day. You can see hygiene and sanitation are a critical area of concern.
The needs of the SCLS and whole geographic area are so great it is mindboggling. Keeping in mind this quote, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”, all the supporters of SCLS feel confident the children are being prepared to be productive members of society. They are given the ‘fish’ each day but are also being ‘taught to fish’. Education is their key to success.