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  • Writer's pictureThe Nobelity Project

Kenya: July 2018

Another amazing, whirlwind trip to Kenya! We made 18 school visits, reviewing newly completed projects, connecting with school partners and meeting with our college bound scholars and Nobelity Project staffers. Here is a quick a recap of our journey and the positive change you've made possible through your support.

First stop: Partakilat Preschool, Masaai Mara.

In partnership with the Angama Foundation and with the support of our dear friend Barb Horan (above), we opened a new 2-classroom preschool, and worked with StoryMoja to fill library shelves. We are committed to seeing this school expand to a full 8 year primary so these bright, curious, eager learners continue to have a school to call their own. And if you EVER get a chance to stay at Angama Mara it is not to be missed. Nikki, Tyler and Shannon not only run an impeccable lodge, they are engaged with the community. Thank you Angama for being such a good partner.

Then on to Mt. Kenya, where our partners at the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club helped us lay the first stones for a Vocational Training Workshop at River Likii, an educational facility devoted to empowering students with special needs. Special thanks to Todd and Stephanie Routh, John Paul DeJoria's Peace, Love, and Happiness Foundation, and Fairmont Mt. Kenya for the support that will continue to help these students thrive.

Next we visited Monica Munyaka, an all girls secondary boarding school, home to intelligent and motivated young women grades 9-12. As well as academic achievement, the students are encouraged to explore their passions. Our support here refurbished and outfitted the library with Kenyan partner StoryMoja. The Nobelity Project has also completed the computer lab to include the ARES offline internet system, upgraded the Home Sciences classroom with sewing machines and cook tops to a testable lab level. AND, thanks to Tito and Lori Beveridge and their Foundation, we finally broke ground on a basketball court where these young women will continue to cultivate their value of teamwork and competition. Watch this fun video of the groundbreaking and library opening. These girls are awesome!

We continued our journey to Muthini Primary, home to the Watertank Library which we opened in 2017. The school kids are loving their library class time, and together we are working with the school librarian and StoryMoja to increase community involvement. The McCollum Family (along with Treana Winery) funded the kitchen and dining hall, and Linda and Howard were there once again to cut the ribbon. Now these kids and staff have a safe, comfortable, and dry place to take their meals at school. Something so simple can make a huge difference in a child's life.

Then it was back to our roots at Mahiga, the school where The Nobelity Project was born. After interviewing Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai in 2005, Turk went to plant trees with the Green Belt Movement, ending up in the Aberdare Mountains. It was the first visit Turk made to a Kenyan school and the opportunity to help make much needed change was clear. Because of motivated parents, school officials, and donors, we were able to go from concept to construction of Mahiga Hope High School in just a few short years. Stay tuned for news on the Dick Clark Legacy Library to be built in honor of our dear friend, funder, and board member the late Dick Clark III.

Early the next morning just a few of our group made the long drive to Nyambugichi Primary to open the new classrooms funded by a grant from the Beebe Family and the Louisiana Charitable Trust. The kids had a great time entertaining us with a couple of traditional "old men" getting the laughs. Great grades at this school, even with very rudimentary facilities, and we hope to partner with them again in 2019.

Next up: Laburra, a large campus with both a primary and secondary school. Thanks to John and Amy McCall for supplying the high school on the hill with a kitchen and dining hall of their own and Barb Horan and the Beebe Family for completing the shared computer lab and library. And the new 2-classroom block was JUST finished for the primary students, thanks to the McCollums, Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves, and Bryan and Cheryl Jessee!

Simbara Secondary: With the support of the Dobson Family a new high school library and computer lab will open here in early 2019. The kids at Simbara are always full of questions about the US and are very excited about the new resources that will be available to them in these new buildings. This school is great mix of cultures from the area and kids are finding their connections through academics, athletics and the arts. Also a Jumpstart Scholars location with 3 graduates from 2017 starting college next month. And of course Liz fit right in.

It was departure day for some of our group but we made a quick stop at Mwangaza Primary, a school with 534 students. The library project there has been a huge success, with reading contests and book reports overflowing the librarian's desk. In a great stateside program with the Paramount and Texan Theaters, we have the chance to deepen the connections between kids at Mwangaza and their US peers through live video calls. This is a highlight for everyone involved, and thanks to teachers and parents who possible for these kids to see each other face to face, despite the time difference.

The Nobelity Project's Jumpstart college scholarship program rewards top-scoring pupils from our five partner high schools in Kenya with up to a $2,500 tuition grant. Thanks to a big team effort, we hosted an orientation day for more than thirty of our "Jumpstart Scholars" this visit - read about the fun day Liz spent with them here! Interested in sponsoring a student or investing in higher education? Email to find out how to give the gift of Education For All.

Flying down to the coast, we visited Matandoni, a small fishing village in Manda Bay with 3 primary schools that will use this centralized library. Next step is to add some books for the local secondary school students, especially review materials for their KCSE exams that start in November.

Mirera Primary School in Naivasha County has the highest enrollment in all of Kenya with over 3200 students from K-8... and no library. They do have a building available for conversion, so along with our partners at Enashipia Resort & Spa and Storymoja we will be installing a big reading and lending library to serve these kids. Thanks to all the Birthday Book donors for making that happen!

Welcome to the dormitory at Ol Moran Secondary! This building will house 100 girls full-time on the school campus, making high school attendance safer and highly impactful. This school has made great strides in the last few years and this dorm will give these girls better opportunities for college and beyond. Want to see inside? Click here!

And this gorgeous library is at the new Sauti Kuu Resource Center in Kogelo. Lots of hands (!) came together for this one, but we are proud to support Auma Obama in her work in youth empowerment programs in the region. It was great to have her little brother Barack giving the dedication and shooting a few hoops with the kids alongside Giants of Africa. Sauti Kuu means "Powerful Voices"!

Finally, congratulations to our Kenya Operations Manager Gibson Githaiga and his wife Mary on their new baby! Tecla joins siblings Joe and Rahab in this wonderful family. So happy for you all!

Every day we are in Kenya community members, teachers, parents, and students ask us to say thank you to the Nobelity Project supporters. Your commitment to education around the globe is working to open doors and give wings to thousands of kids.

Asante Sana!!

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