Would you want your kids using these school toilets?

Imagine this. You are a single mother of three children living in Kenya.  You desperately want your children to get an education, hoping that will boost their chances of living more comfortably than you do now.  You can barely afford food.  The local school is about three kilometres away and has crowded classrooms.

The toilets at the school look like this.Twiga Girls Latrine

Twiga Boys Latrine 3

Your kids are often sick with diarrhea and vomiting. Your thirteen year old daughter is in class seven. She as just stared menstruating.  These toilets, with broken doors, are the only place she can tend to her monthly needs.  So she stays home from school four or five days a month and subsequently gets behind with her studies.

At CanAssist we hear stories like this all the time.  We see these deplorable sanitation facilities at schools. It startles us  to find that in busy village markets there are no sanitation facilities at all. Adjacent fields and gutters turn into raw sewage minefields.

With the support of our donors, we try to help.

In the past couple of months we have been gratified to follow the construction of latrines at the Twiga school in Ruriru district of Kenya.  For a cost of about $7500 we have been able to provide rainwater catchment, new latrines for students and teachers and hand-washing stations for the school.  Hand washing has been shown to reduce the spread of many diseases but without the proper facilities this becomes impossible.

This week we received this report from Michael Gichia who works with the Murera Community Empowerment and Support Organization (MCESO) . It reads, in part:

Benefits realised from the project.

Inscription on the latrine wall reads " Twiga Primary School water & Sanitation enhancement project. This project has been funded by CanAssist African Relief Trust in conjunction with the Grey Gates Foundation /Vancouver and the family of Ruth and Donald Redmond."

Inscription on the latrine wall reads ” Twiga Primary School water & Sanitation enhancement project. This project has been funded by CanAssist African Relief Trust in conjunction with the Grey Gates Foundation /Vancouver and the family of Ruth and Donald Redmond.”

“The project has brought about the following benefits to the school children in TWIGA PRIMARY SCHOOL;

o 555 school children and 15 teachers at TWIGA PRIMARY SCHOOL in Ruiru district have
safe sanitation and drinking water facilities.
o The school enrolment ahs gone up by 20 more children by the beginning of second term
thanks to the water and sanitation enhancement project
Hand washing station

Hand washing station

o The project has improved access to water supply at TWIGA PRIMARY SCHOOL in Ruiru District

o The project has brought positive perception among the school children on sanitation and personal hygiene e.g. hand washing practices, proper disposal of wastes and economical use of water as well as improved knowledge about hygiene and environmental sanitation;

New CanAssist-funded teachers' latrine at Twiga School.

New CanAssist-funded teachers’ latrine at Twiga School.

o The project has brought about reduction in water shortages at TWIGA PRIMARY SCHOOL
and therefore more time for learning for the children.
o The project has reduced diseases associated with drinking dirty water and observing unclean hygienic behaviour among the school children.
o The school has functional hand wash facilities for the promotion of health and hygiene
o Preliminary training on sanitation and cleanliness has been conducted.”

Now, imagine again, as that poor African mother, how pleased you would be that your children had decent sanitation facilities at their school.

CanAssist has been happy to be able to improve the sanitation facilities for these 550 Kenyan pupils.  We have had specific support for much if the cost of this project from the Grey Gates Foundation in Vancouver and from friends and family of Ruth and Don Redmond in celebration of their 65th wedding anniversary last year.

CanAssist has just taken on similar projects in other schools in Kenya and Uganda.  If you or your family would like to help to bring smiles to the faces of African students and their teachers, you can give a tax-deductible donation to CanAssist by mail or online. Details about how to support a project like this a re available on our website www.canassistafrica.ca

 

 

 

A surprise at the Stewart Geddes School

My father, Stewart Geddes, has been generously supporting the development of a small rural school in Kenya for the past couple of years through the CanAssist African Relief Trust. Today I headed back across to the mainland on the ferry to visit the community and the school which has about 75 students from age 3 to 8. Without this small school these little kids would have to walk several kilometers every day to receive education … or not get any at all. Girls, in particular were at a disadvantage and only two girls in the community of 500 people, have gotten beyond grade 4 until now.

I was enthusiastically welcomed and treated to demonstrations of counting and identifying animals in English (remember this is a seoond or maybe third language for these young pupils.) The name S P GEDDES EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT CENTRE is emblazoned on the school gate and the children were happy to chant a Thank you message that they wanted me to take back to my Dad.

Me and little  Stewart Geddes at Osiri Village, Kenya.

Me and little Stewart Geddes at Osiri Village, Kenya.

But the big surprise for me was when the head teacher showed me her six month old Grandson. “We have named him Stewart Geddes”, she said. “At home he goes by Geddes.” I found this both amusing and touching. When I got back to Mbita, I called Dad to share with him the deep appreciation that this community has for his gift to them. I plan to visit a few CanAssist project sites in the next several days and I know that this is just the beginning of the wonderful expressions of gratitude to Canadian Donors through CanAssist that I will receive. I wish that this was something that I could bottle and send back to share with all of you who have supported what we do through CanAssist. Perhaps this little video clip will give you a taste.

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