We hope that you are all enjoying the summer season. This is a short update on Akili activities work and some early notification of events that will be happening in the autumn.
Shipment of books
One weekend in April a team of volunteers sorted and packed 3,500 donated books to send to the libraries in Kenya. It was a great team effort and really exciting to see all the wonderful books that have been donated and think about how they will be used in Kenya. As well as to our regular libraries, we also sorted books for the island school, Kirepwe, which is linked to Dabaso Primary; for Kakuyuni Boys School where we are supporting the setting up of a new library; and for Watamu Primary, the school with almost no books where we are also helping to set up a library. The books arrived one month later to much joy. Fred, the librarian from Dabaso, will be helping the Watamu School on a regular basis.
Communications with Kenya
As I mentioned in my last newsletter and as you know from the press, FCO travel restrictions were applied to the coast in Kenya and as a result we had to postpone our planned summer programme with Debate Mate. This was very saddening particularly as we know that the local situation remains calm. In the current circumstances it is important that we keep in close touch with the library staff and this has all become much easier now that the main staff are able to use both Skype and other free software on the new phones we have provided. It is so good to have regular chats with the librarians; on Friday morning Fred was telling me how excited the whole country was for the visit of Barack Obama.
All of our bursary students are well and making good progress, despite the fact that sadly there has been considerable unrest in the secondary sector. A number of secondary schools have had long-term strike action and four of students have been affected by dormitory fires in their schools. This has resulted in extra costs where we have had to pay for them to replace lost belongings and for the additional damage levy made by the schools for rebuilding costs. This is a troubling situation and one which the librarians are monitoring closely.
We have now set up a system for annual reports from the bursary students so that we can hear from them how they are getting on. We wanted to hear their voice as well as to hear the librarians’ update on their progress. You can read the first of these reports on our website.
We are very grateful to those of you who provide money on an annual basis to support this programme, as well as to the Sir Ernest Cassel Trust and the Hutton Dabaso Twinning Association who both provide for multiple bursaries.
One of our star students, Celestina, has just graduated from a prestigious national school with a B- grade. This is sufficient for her to attend University. She can apply through the Joint Admission Board towards the end of 2015 and her grade means that she is eligible to receive some financial assistance from the Government. Celestina says she ‘jumped up and down’ when she received her results and ‘I thought I had done wonderful as a girl’. She hopes to study law at University as, in her words, ‘there are various opportunities that come with law… I will grab the chance that comes my way’.
Annual report to the Charity Commission
Our annual report and financial return have recently been completed and are available on our website. This gives a good overview of our work. We also provide annual returns to the NGO office in Kenya which detail local expenditure.
In addition to the Akili events that we organise a number of you run regular local events.
Peter Hodgson, one of regular fundraisers, has been selling tomato and other plants from his house and allotment. He’s sold many and donated £100.
Garden Suburb Infants School Reception year have again baked biscuits and sold them with coffee to the parents and raised £350. They have spent £600 on an excellent range of books to send in the next shipment and also donated a further £158 to spend on chairs for the new library at Watamu. Akili Trustees Ruth and Pam went to an assembly to receive the books.
Early notices of forthcoming events, so look out for further publicity after the summer
- The Annual Akili Quiz will be again be held in St Mark’s Church in Camden in November
- Man Overboard will be returning for another gig at the end of the year
- A second African music event will also be happening in the autumn
We look forward to seeing you at some or all of these events. And of course, if you want to organise something then we are very happy to help.
Many thanks again from the Akili trustees for all the support you give us and for everything that you do. Thanks to those of you who donate so generously – and if you don’t, please can you consider making a donation or organising a fundraising event. All of your money goes directly to support the work in Kenya.