Mar 062018
 
New Benina building

New Benina building

Dear friends,

We founded Rafiki Ya Maisha to provide vocational training to unemployed young people & women in need, who have no secondary education nor access to trade schools in rural Western Kenya. This forgotten group of youths can now acquire life skills through our college and Institute in Chepkanga and Koshin. These village empowerment institutions have components in IT, agribusiness, conservation, health, culture and various technical skills leading to manufacturing jobs. Our schools have become game changers.

After almost 18 years of perseverance and ownership through friendship with our Kenyan friends and government partners, we launched our new Intitution! February 20, 2018 was a proud day for all: Official opening of Koshin Technical Training Institute (KTTI), inauguration of the brand new school hall/multipurpose room with our sponsors from France and completion of the central school quadangle. The latest building is magnificent by all standards with it’s stage, bright hall and wood panneled finishings. The generosity of the BENINA foundation made this possible.

50 new students, dancers, community leaders and a dynamic principal welcomed us to KTTI. The eventful day was attended by many local representatives, two governors, an ambassador, a senior government planner for technical education, a senator and others who came from Nairobi and from the area to celebrate with us. Uasin Gishu Gov. Jackson M. was our chief guest and project leader Claire M. gave the key note speech. There were 600+ happy guests and a national TV coverage.

The road passing in front of the school is in the process of being tarmacked thus enhancing accessibility to this institute in the middle of the rural fields around Eldoret.

In Chepkanga, a celebratory day complete with dances and political representatives got a huge new boost on the following day. The promise of two extra acres of land will allow the school to grow from 1 to 3 acres. We are now hoping to sponsor a new kitchen for the vocational training center. Many youths are feeling encouraged by the testimonies of those who have succeeded thanks to their training. Mission well accomplished!

Thank you all for participating in this worthwhile and uplifting cause. As Theresia, leader of the Koshin women’s group proudly said: ” from nowhere to somewhere”. You can be proud too!

Claire Mathijsen

 

Multipurpose Hall 450 people

Multipurpose Hall 450 people

Sponsors and Governor inaugurate

Sponsors and Governor inaugurate

Student dancers celebrate event

Student dancers celebrate event

Officials and guests at opening ceremony

Officials and guests at opening ceremony

Red carpet for all please!

Red carpet for all please!

Dec 072017
 
Youth leaders Ivy & Oliver

Youth leaders Ivy & Oliver

Dear friends,

The dynamic coming to life this year of the RAFIKI YOUTH GROUP in Chepkanga location is our main pride & joy. It’s two leaders, Ivy and Oliver, have managed to register 30-40 motivated friends. They outlined their mission, their goals in an offfical Charter and registered as a non-profit with the Eldoret municipality. They intent to bring environemental awareness to the chldren of the area. They were given a small road side plot by the area chief to start a nursery. They are being advised in irrigation and marketing techniques by last year’s star graduate. Their seedling sales will bring the neeed cash flow for their Club activities.

Our two schools, the vocational training center in Chepkanga and the Technical Training Institute in Koshin have both reached new heights. We close the year after a shortened academic year due to an unusually extended electoral process. This did not stop our school Boards from meeting nor did it prevent the governments, both local and national, to endow the schools with new equipment.

Chepkanga is a vocational training center with Catering as it’s flagship course; Koshin stands out with a state of the art Electrical and Electronic course. Both schools have active headmasters, fully motivated to have their school reach the best levels for their students. They have chat groups with peer centers to share ideas and best practices.

We are very encouraged by what we have seen during our trips this year. We are also setting our sights on February 2018 with the official opening of Koshin TTI and the inauguration the newest BENINA builiding.

Thanks a million to all of you who encourage the rural youth to seek a more productive life. Best wishes for the New Year.

Claire

Youth Group meeting with Elizabeth & Claire

Mandasi doughnuts prepared by students

Mandasi doughnuts prepared by students

Claire, Principal & staff – Koshin school

Mentor Edwin & Claire - Chepkanga school

Mentor Edwin & Claire – Chepkanga school

Koshin site visit with Architect & foreman

Koshin site visit with Architect & foreman

Sep 112017
 

Sergoek graduates with Diplomas

Dear Rafiki, dear friends,

Our first vocational school, the SERGOEK campus, has been rising to new heights:

– The school was selected to become an examination center for the district thus increasing it’s visibility and role in the area – New equipment was provided by the local governement bringing stores, closets & computer desks to the classrooms         – The catering students proudly displayed their culinary know how to the delight of the community on graduation day

The school will be expanding soon and we are presently raising funds for the women’s dorm and bathrooms.

Our second vocational school, the KOSHIN campus, has become very active:

– The principal started registering the first students for the recently opened electrical department

– The school held an official ceremony to celebrate the opening of the new computer center

– The latest bulding under construction with a Multipurpose Hall is raising it’s roof on large trusses at the present time.

We expect that this higher level institution will be taking off very fast as the novelty has a large appeal.

We are moving. We are active! Students have school uniforms and Tshirts, they are playing sports and graduating with new skills. Our brand new equiment and the improvements look amazing.

There is still a lot to be done. Thank you for so much for your support that means so much to us all, in France and in rural Kenya! We wouldn’t be where we are today without you. Kweli! (really!)

Claire

Sergoek

Sergoek’s new computer desks

Sergoek - young caterers display goods

Sergoek – young caterers display goods

Koshin principal & guests testing new equipment

Koshin principal & guests testing new equipment

Koshin

Koshin’s happy government sponsor

Koshin: a roof for Wing IV in quadrangle

Koshin: a roof for Wing IV in quadrangle

Jun 122017
 

Container arriving in Koshin

 

Dear Friends,

These last days & months have been busier than ever on the ground in Koshin:

– A huge generator, the size of a room, was delivered to the school on March 28, 2017

– 2 huge trucks with containers with electrical equipment have arrived from the port of Mombasa on May 15, 2017

– Power and lighting has been connected to the institution for the very first time on June 4, 2017 !

– The equipment for the elctrical workshop took 5 days last week to assemble & install

– The teacher’s desk is now installed, complete with projector, desktop computer and accessories

– Seedilings were delivered and planting along the hedges of the compound was done earlier this month too

– The last building of the quadrangle with 2 classrooms & a multipurpose hall has now reached the ringbeam level

– The stage of the multipurpose hall is already built

– Recruitment of teachers is being conducted by the principal

 

We are overjoyed to see our school become a reality. Our combined efforts, energy and generosity has borne it’s fruits. Students will now be able to access this learning institution soon.

We are grateful to the Kenyan Goverment for furnishing and running the school; we admire the ceaseless energy of the Rafiki Ya maisha community and our friends in Kenya for pulling it all together; we thank all of our donors for beliving in our project and for their generosity. It is all flourishing in full view now! We couldn’t have done this without anyone of you!

Team work is our strength and daily joy. You encourage us to pursue this until every workshp is equiped and the school is brimming with students. Come and visit soon!

Claire Mathijsen

Rafiki team & school staff with arrivals

 

Training desks in electrical workshop

A fully equipped desk

 

New generator being unloaded

Mar 162017
 
Rafiki tournament T-shirts in French colors

Rafiki tournament T-shirts in French colors

Dear Friends,

There is much going on this spring in Chepkanga.

A Rafiki Ya Maisha Youth Group emerged from a handful of highly motivated university students who want to bring change to their community. Encouraged by the energetic presence of Agatha F., our young volunteer from France, a youth charter was drawn up and a Board nominated. These young people decided to call a meeting with the village elders, the community leaders and the school principals of the Vocational Training schools that Rafiki Ya Maisha has been sponsoring. They read their charter, discussed their action plan and sollicited the goodwill from the older members. All present pledged to help these youths intent on convincing their peers to lead creative and productive lives. The top ambition of the group is to create a Talent Center for the Youth in Chepkanga.

The reason for this awareness grew from an observation and a growing concern. Twenty years ago, there was ONE bar in Chepkanga. Over the past five years, that number has exploded to 12 and as a result, the number of young alcooholics has risen drastically.

A volley ball and football tournament was organized and presented a great occasion to meet and promote ideas. Rafiki Ya Maisha T-shirts were designed and drinks offered to a large gathering of 250-300 young people from the area. The principals of both schools announced that registration was open and that government loans were accessible.

At KTTI, the Benina building foundations were dry and sofar, the construction looks like a promising new addition to the campus. Several meetings took place with the architect, the contractor and an officer from the Ministry of Works. The new Board of Governors gathered for meetings during my February visit. We spend 2 days in a seminar learning about our new duties and responsibilities as members of the BOG of the fledgling Institute.

We are very excited about this dynamic Youth Group in Rafiki Ya Maisha’s heart – aren’t you proud of them too?

THANK YOU ALL for your support in this adventure,

Claire Mathijsen

Youth group writing their charter with Agathe

Town Hall meeting - Youth and Community

Town Hall meeting – Youth and Community

 

Happy Youth Group with Agatha, French volunteer