Non-Profit in Kenya: The Elewana Education Project Pt. 1
Per request by Jane Hamsher via Twitter, I am now doing the first part of my blog regarding the Elewana Education Project in Western Kenya. As I sit here now, I am in the confines of the Katakwa Mission House in Amagoro, Kenya. This initial blog may be fairly small but the second part which will be issued in the coming weeks will be more detailed.
Before I begin I must tell the folks back home a bit about Kenya, the first rule of Kenya anyway. The first rule is that there is only one road rule. The larger vehicle has the right of way. You will try to drive on the left side of the road when it is convenient, but that is not necessarily what always happens. Potholes are a pain, and will cause large semi-trucks to flip and crash in the middle of the night. The corruption is staggering and Kenya itself is going through a rough political time due to a referendum on a much needed new constitution.
The crux of the project is to provide sponsorship through scholarships to students in the western Kenyan area in order to help foster their educational growth and advancement through the Kenyan school system. Although this is the idea of the project, it has grown into much more. Much of my time here has been spent getting the children of the schools we visit familiar with computers and helping them establish their own g-mail accounts to email each other. The computer labs were started and financed by people who donate to the non-profit education project, so its a wonderful thing to see the children’s eyes widen as they see their e-mail address pop up on the screen. Their very own e-mail. Something we in the states take for granted, but to the children (and adults) in Kenya it is amazing and incredibly new and exciting to them.
A lot of the schools computer labs are powered by solar panels, also provided by the Elewana Education Project. I’ll try to post pictures of the units as soon as I can but they are quite impressive to have in the rural African schools we visit. The large batteries that the units power slowly evaporate distilled water. As long as the water exists inside the batteries, and general mainteneance is upheld, then the units will last quite a long time.
The Elewana Education Project was started by Rev. Zachary Drennen and was initially only sponsoring a small amount of students. Today it sponsors roughly 130 (i believe) with scholarships that pay for the costs of their schooling. Most sponsored students are in Western Kenya, but some go to schools in Uganda as well. Crossing the border there is a pain in the rear for a white person (Mzungu in Swahili).
I am off to teach an English class today to girls hoping to become teachers. I will try to give a more detailed blog later on. For now, however, I strongly encourage you to check out the website (www.elewana.org) and see all of the great things this project is accomplishing.