As many of you know, Anne and I visited our program in Kiang’ombe in late January. Our objectives for the trip were to do more in depth community needs assessment, review program operations, and complete annual planning for the coming year. We spent a lot of time with our staff, with the kids, and in the community all of which was incredibly encouraging and inspiring. You can view some pictures and notes from the trip if you scroll down to previous updates or take a look on the A.P. Facebook page. In spite of the real and somewhat overwhelming need in Kiang’ombe, there is a tangible sense of hope and appreciation everywhere surrounding what the community now calls Ameena Centre. As more kids and families get involved, as they see the great impact our staff’s efforts are producing in their children’s lives, positive change is sprouting up – often in unexpected places.
One great story is about a boy named Kenedy who was with us all last year. Our staff got him healthy, prepared for school, he passed his exam, and as of January this year he is enrolled in the local public school for the first time. His teacher called to follow up and reported that he is top of the class, a voracious learner, and a joy to have in class. This is exactly what we’re shooting for with every child in the program. Kenedy is one of 16 children who completed our program this past year and are now enrolled in local public schools. His mom has finally understood the value of education, having seen the transformation in her son she is doing everything she can to support her other children’s success.
After much discussion with the community and our staff, we all agreed on the most pressing needs for 2013. First of all, we planned this project for 50 kids and have been running at 75-80 all year, not an easy job but we pulled it off. We had to hire a reliever to cover extra security needs and to assist in the kitchen. We also decided to sponsor the 16 children who graduated our program so they can get established in local schools. Investing in them just seems like the right thing to do, especially when it cost under $70 per child per year. To cover these basic program increases we need to raise an additional $260 a month right away. It’s really easy to make a one time donation or sign up for a recurring donation here on the web site. Right over there 🙂 —->
In 2012 we were able to build a new classroom so that we can separate kids by age and ability to really maximize the learning they receive. However, we do not have the funds to hire the teacher and teacher’s assistant needed to staff the second classroom. $3000 a year, or $250 a month would accomplish that goal. Imagine the impact of hiring two new teaching staff, dramatically improving the learning environment, and being able to help even more kids have a chance like Kenedy. We’ve been working hard to raise those funds, here’s one example how.
On February 15th, our dear friend’s, Craig and Natalie Prins, held a benefit concert at a Coffee shop in Salem. The Portland crew headed down on a chilly Friday evening to attend their event, it was an amazing night. Craig said it was like all of his people, his passions, and his various worlds coming together. Now when Craig said he wanted to do this back in September I have to admit it did cross my mind that organization and sustained focus (important parts of event planning) are not what I would think of as his signature strengths. However, this evening proved to me once again that when we step out of our comfort zone and courageously follow the inspiration of our spirit it usually works out just right. So much more was accomplished during this event than the funds that were raised, it was a truly inspired evening. In the end, they brought in enough for us to serve 15,000 more meals in Kiang’ombe, what a gift. Here’s a short peek inside the coffee shop that night. Thank you everyone who participated in any way, together we are accomplishing something very special. You are Ameena Project!