Ambitious plans to open five new kindergartens!
It is hard to describe how desperate mothers in Darfur are to ensure that their children go to school. Only 2% of women in villages can read and write. Even when they do have a chance to go to school, their education is limited at best. It is heartbreaking when mothers say they don’t want their children to grow up like them. We were therefore determined to do something to help. The success of our first Kindergarten, which was opened in October 2013, has inspired us to open a Kindergarten in all of our villages. Can you help? If children have an early start on the road to education they will have a real chance of succeeding.
We choose villages where we have active committees who will take over the school, once it is completed. They set up PTAs (Parent, Teacher Associations) and work together to provide small bursaries for the poorest families. Before we start to build however we ensure we have agreement from the State Ministry of Education in Darfur to provide teachers. Each Kindergarten has two classrooms, an office for the teacher and assistant, a veranda for shade (and a third classroom) and latrines – often the first in the villages. We teach sanitation that will make a difference for the whole village. Diarrhoea and stomach infections are endemic in some regions. Where we have built our current four schools, they are oversubscribed by 400%!
In some of our villages, following a family’s success with the goat loan project, we have heard of our first scholarships. Consider this, those who used to be the very poorest have in some cases been able to help pay the tuition fees for a neighbour. What an extreme kindness from the families who had nothing. And what a success for the Kids for Kids basic goal of self-sufficiency. In Abu Nahla, where we built our first Kindergarten, the PTA (yes they are forming them in Darfur too!) decided not only to provide bursaries so even the children of the poorest families could start school, but they contribute to a meal for the little ones each day.
Our current four Kids for Kids Kindergartens are providing a model in Darfur. They are fully equipped with educational aids and toys, indoor and outdoor activity equipment and of course desks and chairs, blackboards, books and exercise books. The favourite toys we are told are musical instruments and, of course, footballs!
We plan to open between five and eight Kindergartens this year. We are gathering the money for the bricks and books now, so we can start building as soon as possible. Would you consider sending a few bricks so we can get underway the minute we have the teachers assigned? £20 will buy 30 bricks. Would you be able to send the tuition £90 for a year’s schooling or, even better, do you know anyone who would adopt a whole Kindergarten – it could be named after your school, your church, your company, or you!
You most likely will never meet the child whose life you change with the gift of reading and writing, but you will be their hero today.