Education is something that we take for granted in the UK. Unfortunately, in Kenya many children do not have the same opportunity to receive free and compulsory basic education. (Article 53 of the Kenyan constitution give children the right to free and compulsory basic education – so they have a constitutional right but in reality, they simply do not have the opportunity).
The Bouncing Ball Trust was founded in 2014 to support the Ngong Hillside Academy in Kenya. One of our pupils, Daniel, is 8 and attended the school for 4 years.
This is Daniel’s description of a school day.
He got up at 5 in the morning to help his Mum, his brothers and his sister get ready for school. They left home at 6 o’clock for the walk to school. lt took two hours as they often stopped as Daniel’s brothers and sister got tired. During the rain seasons the path and roads were very muddy, and it took much longer.
The children arrived at school around 8 o’clock and had porridge before starting class. Classes ran from 8.30 until 3.30 but Daniel and his brothers and sister stayed in school to do their homework before leaving for home at 4.30. They did their homework at school because they would not arrive home until after dark and they have no electricity, so they would have needed to do their homework in dim gas light. Daniel sometimes carried his brothers or sister part of the way home because they were so tired.
The children arrived home by 7, told their Mum about their day over warm milk and a snack and got ready for bed. They needed to be up at 5 the next morning to do it again.
In March 2018, a sudden and disproportionately high rent increase forced the Academy to close suddenly. For the 80 pupils and their families, this closure was catastrophic. Most children could no longer go to school, although a few pupils started travelling 3 hours each way each day to even more distant schools.
There is an urgent need to build a new primary school for 4 - 11 year-olds to meet the considerable educational need that now exists in the area. The Bouncing Ball Trust has already bought a quarter acre plot and is ready to start building a two-storey school that will cater for up to 120 children. The Trust’s focus now is on raising the funds to build the school. The total budget for the project is £126,600 but the immediate need is for £52,000 which would enable the foundations and ground floor construction to commence. Completion of this phase would enable the school to open using only the ground floor classrooms which would still have capacity to educate around 70 children. The total budget includes second floor construction and the purchase of a school bus which would increase the range of children who could potentially attend the primary school. It would also provide students with a better school/life balance allowing the school to make an even greater difference to the local community.
Outside school hours the building would also be used as a local community education centre offering classes to local residents to improve the literacy levels in the community.
The Bouncing Ball Trust will use local contractors to carry out the construction work, providing much needed employment during time of high unemployment throughout Kenya.
To help the school continue to thrive year after year it will receive income from school fees where families can afford to pay. We anticipate that around 80% of the pupils will be funded by their families and the other 20% will be funded by scholarships.
We will also rent out the classrooms to other community groups who want to use them out-of-hours and sell produce that we grow on-site.
Please help us to help Daniel and his brothers and sisters by donating to The Bouncing Ball Trust and enabling us to build the primary school.
- Lynn Hall
Fundraising team (3)
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