Global Sites: Kenya
Kenya Recent Updates: Sympathy
Full-Circle Learning sends sympathy and empathy to all the teachers, students and international contacts who worked with Wajuhi Kamau, of Plan International. As our first global partner country, Kenya holds a special place in our hearts. Wajuhi served as liaison to the Kivaa School in Kenya for many years, taking projects back and forth to the school, intercepting emails and ensuring that the wisdom would pass from one group of future leaders to the other. We will sorely miss her and appreciate her contributions.
The longest running global collaborator, the Kivaa School, began when students from Los Angeles wrote a letter to a Plan International foster child in a rural village. The boy took the letter to his school. Soon the two student groups began exchanging challenges to influence community development through their exchange projects. Over the years, the Kenyan students studied agriculture, tested solar cookers, improved their environment and exemplified strong character traits. They have created gifts of cultural exchange, including carved gourds used in Masai wedding ceremonies, which their American counterparts incorporated into performances to teach younger students about international culture and character concepts.
The pinnacle of the Kivaa students’ growth came when they received a packet with a CD from Full-Circle Learning with an invitation to participate in an international museum project. They used sand and straw to create lions on cardboard as they created artwork for the exhibit, showing what they found precious in their environment. Next, they cleared the local watering hole of donkey manure. They taught the community about terraced farming and planted new cassava trees. They discussed ways to enhance community life by reminding their people that “Beauty is what you do,” as the theme song on the CD reminded them.
For their final action, they responded to the honor of performing as the only youth in attendance at a ceremony to honor the outgoing Director of the World Environment Programme. They traveled by bus to the event in Nairobi, where collaborator Deanne LaRue met them and ushered them into the event. Singing inside an art exhibit that looked like a tree on life support, they delighted 1,200 guests, including Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai. Their teachers described this as the most memorable day of their lives, while explaining to their global partners, “We would have done more, but we only had two weeks.” Jaws dropped when reading this inspiring but humbling letter.
Two years later, younger Americans at a new school reached out to the youth, but water buffalo had trampled the garden, civil war had touched the countryside and even postage stamps were hard to come by, delaying the response. Funding to assist the project would ensure that incoming students receive the same opportunities their siblings have had to learn the art of leadership through personal and community transformation.
The Meg Deamer Academy, a private school in Eldoret, Kenya, provides scholarships for elementary students who would not otherwise attend school. The curriculum focuses on beginning academics and character development. The school defines its vision as “ to bring up children who will benefit society in the future as part of a community building process."
The school was founded in January 2007 by Barnabas and Florence Bett with minimal personal financial assistance from members of the Deamer/Hough family - and was thus named in honor of Meg Deamer, who passed away in Oct. 2006 in Port Vila Vanuatu shortly before the school was founded.
In the same year, relatives Sherna and Bryn Deamer had learned of Full-Circle Learning and attended a professional development session hosted by a FCL collaborator, Meridian Health Foundation, in the San Francisco, California area. The Deamers traveled to El Doret in 2008 and trained the teachers in use of the Full-Circle Learning strategies. FCL alumni club volunteers hope to serve the site in 2010 and to visit the Kivaa School as well.