God’s countless blessings

God’s ways are not a man’s. He exists for all, believers and non-believers alike. He also touches every heart in a special way. A Rocha Kenya gives thanks for God has been merciful and faithful. We have been praying for funds for bursaries and God did it again. The Christ church came through and we managed to allocate and disburse bursaries for 27 new students. God surely is working in our lives.

IMG_3657

” Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”- Luke 6: 38

IMG_3653

Teachers training at Bamba

Day one of the Bamba work shop was marked by the arrival of the facilitator’s team; Mr. Tsofa (wildlife club of Kenya), Mr. Stanley Baya and Mr. Brown all two from A Rocha Kenya and 19 guests out of the invited 20 guests. The turn up was really not expected but quite encouraging.
The trainees were enthusiastic about the workshop and they were really ready to learn…They expressed their expectations by the end of the Workshop: “I want to gain more knowledge on environmental issues by the end of the workshop,” “I want to learn what the workshop is all about”, to mention but a few.

P1020214

They learn’t what the term environment meant and the components of environment, that is; physical, social and economic environment, the effects of environmental degradation and their mitigation measures. They later had a transect walk through Bamba township noting down environmental issues that need to be addressed to improve the welfare of the town, discuss them in groups and finally make group presentation thereafter. Day two was marked by as video watch on environmental issues.

P1020283

 Day 3 and the last day of the workshop was marked with a talk on climate change and their mitigation measures, Wild life Clubs and why have wildlife in our schools by Mr. Baya and Mr. Tsofa respectively. The teachers, in turn, promised to form Wildlife Clubs by the end of the term. A closing ceremony was in place, by Nicky Karisa. Wrapped in envelops were certificates that were issued to nonspecific persons who were to stand one after the other, open envelop, read the name silently, point whom it belong to come forward to receive. Amazingly some did not know others, it was such an amazing moments.

Tree planting at Kenya Forest Service

Plant a Tree, plant a new life….

P1020579

Of all the wonders of nature, a tree is perhaps the most remarkable. God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from those who destroy not knowing it will cost them in future. The planting of trees means planting hope: ever green forests, fresh air to breath, improved water quality, and safe habitat for the wild.

P1020609
A Rocha Kenya joined hands with Kenya Forest Service  staff and interns, Community Forest Association chairman and the community at large. We transported nurseries from Gede office to Kenya Forest Service and into the forest where we planted over 600 trees. Everybody was enthusiastic about the exercise since to many it was their first tree planting activity and their first time in the forest. I believe the planting exercise was a complete success.

P1020510

Later on after the exercise the Community Forest Association chairman gave a brief speech on the importance of conserving the environment and planting trees even in our homes. It is a very important to plant trees and to take care of them every step of the way till they are all fully grown.

P1020526

Plant a tree today… plant hope…the true meaning of life!

27 new students join the ASSETS scheme!

We do thank the Lord for providing for us in countless astonishing ways! Secondly you; each one of you for your noble contribution in sustaining and rescuing the ASSETS project, restoring hope for the community and for nature!
Recently the ASSETS committee held the final assessment meeting and 27 new students were admitted into the scheme. As it stands now, 501 students have received bursaries through the ASSETS scheme, 378 students successfully cleared their secondary school while current beneficiaries add up to 123. It is indeed quite encouraging to us that the number of our “ambassadors” out there is increasing!

 

blog 1

We were privileged to meet these new kids during the beneficiary days and happy is an understatement! They gained a lot from the inspirational talks, information about the concept of ASSETS, the environment around them, climate change and what they can do to help. J

We do hope and pray that the Lord will continue providing for us so that we can reach out to even more members of the community here impacting their lives in as many ways possible. Long live ASSETS!

In and around Arabuko Sokoke forest for Education and Conservation…Adventurous!

On this bright Tuesday morning, the ASSETS team boards Kiboko; the truck all packed and ready for the ASSETS beneficiary camp. The beautiful scenery of the forested landscape coupled with the sweet scent of budding flowers made the ‘cruise’ to Bogamachuko; our first stop quite short and exciting! It was fun identifying different species of trees and birds as the road closely meandered along the forest edge offering just a glimpse of the treasurer encompassed within the 420km2 of dry coastal forest!

JJ

ASSETS beneficiaries from Kahingoni and Bogamachuko were all seated and waiting for us as we drove into Bogamachuko school compound. We then proceeded to Malanga then Nyari, Mijomboni and finally Mida where we able to meet all beneficiaries from the nine schools.

All through we strengthened their understanding of the ASSETS project whilst assessing progress of the different clusters of Muvera wa ASSETS; the beneficiaries association. The level of enthusiasm was extremely encouraging as some of the attendees were not even beneficiaries! We seized the opportunity to urge them to conserve the local natural resources around them; Mida creek and Arabuko Sokoke forest for their own sake. Mzee Suleiman a resident of Mida also an ASSETS committee member took to the stage with his rib-cracking but quite educational narratives to instill the conservation message in the best way possible. We also had separate sessions with the students challenging them to make the best out of this opportunity. Led by Daniel and Patience who were both successful beneficiaries of the project and now on further studies; we inspired them that regardless of all the difficulties, nothing that could stop them from achieving their dreams!

J J

At the end of it all, parents vowed to adopt all the alternative technologies taught to them through Muvera wa ASSETS as well as working together to protect the forest by reporting to us of any illegal activities. The students on the other hand promised to be our ambassadors in their respective schools apart from making the best out of the scholarship opportunity!

Assesement of new ASSETS beneficiaries 2014

Assessment of new ASSETS beneficiaries is underway with Festus taking a center stage in this. We glorify the Lord that 33 new students from the school that participate in the ASSETS project were able to reach the cut-off mark!! It is tough as we have to visit all the 33 families in such a short span of time but we thank the Lord for the motivation and hard work in the ASSETS team.

Fortunately though, some of our guests at Mwamba who happen to strongly support the ASSETS project offered to join in one of the field trips. The day started early with a trip to Mijomboni primary school where assessment for that day was to be done.

Jonathan 3

The couple had an eventful day practically experiencing how it takes to be the ASSETS coordinator! They were able to see the tree nurseries that ASSETS beneficiaries keep, and the new farming technique “farming God’s way” in their farms.

jonathan 2

They also seized the opportunity to remind the locals on the need to protect the natural resources around them, adopt the new alternative technologies that are taught to them through Muvera Wa ASSETS and finally to lay their hopes in the Lord regardless. The trip was relatively rewarding and at the end of the day, they were blessed with madafu to cool off from the scorching hot sun!

jona

We hope and pray that the exercise will go smoothly and be a blessing to all those we will be able to reach out to…

 

A Story beyond Amazing…!

Mother Teresa once said that, ‘We cannot do great things on this earth, only small things with great love’…
These words may seem to be just another piece of those philosophical compositions but not until you hear Signe’s story…
She is a Swedish girl who; together with her parents have visited Watamu’s Turtle Bay Hotel a few times where they got to learn about our work at A Rocha Kenya.

She vowed to start baking cakes for sale all so that she could help more children to go school through the ASSETS project. It has been over one year now and she has stayed strong!!
Her case got me thinking of how much love this young girl has in her heart that she keeps tiring herself to help kids she barely knows to go to school!!
She is definitely not employed neither does she have an income but she uses the little skills she has to help where she can. It inspired me from that day that I do not need millions to make an everlasting change in someone’s life.
After reading her letter, I could not help but write back to her so she knows how amazing her contribution towards the ASSETS project is…

“My name is Signe wiklund I’m 14 years old and I have two brothers Axel 15 and Einar 12 years old. My mom is Kikki and my dad is Daniel. We live in kungsbacka Sweden!
We have visited Kenya, Watamu, twice and the last time my mum and dad helped to clean the beach and met a lady who talked to them about A Rocha. When my parents came back to the hotel after visiting A Rocha center they told me about it and I liked that you help family’s to farm, children to school and the whole environment! So when someone came from A Rocha to our hotel Turtle bay beach club that evening I decided that when I get back home to Sweden I wanted to do something to help! So because I love to bake, that is what I do, I will bake and then sell the cakes at my school cafe and the money I get I give to A Rocha! I love to do something to help and I also love to bake! So that’s great! Thank you A Rocha for helping me to help!
/ Signe Wiklund”

 

Signe blog

Signe and her family…

“Hallo Signe

Greetings from the warm beaches of Watamu…
My name is Daniel Kheri and I live in Watamu close to Turtle bay hotel where you stayed during your holiday.
A Rocha Kenya helped me pay my secondary school fees through the help of good people like you who raise money and donate to them.
A Rocha Kenya helps children that live close to Arabuko sokoke forest and Mida creek to pay secondary school fees.
This helps their parents to stop destroying the forest and creek to raise money for school fees.
These two places are home to thousands of beautiful birds and young turtles and if people continue destroying them, then the birds and the turtles will not have a place to call home anymore.
More than 500 students have benefitted so far and they are helping A Rocha Kenya to conserve these two habitats. A good number of them have been lucky enough to join University and get good jobs after they graduate so that they won’t have to depend on the forest and creek anymore for their livelihood.
Through the help of A Rocha Kenya I completed my secondary school and am now lucky to be in university; currently am on my school holidays helping A Rocha to raise more money so that other children can also go to school.
I would like to thank you on behalf of all the other students for your kindness and baking cakes to raise money for our school fees.
I can now use a computer and do many other cool things; I have also learnt to care for the environment, all this because I go to school!! There are other really cool kids out there who still need our help so that they can also go to school!
You are a great person and God will bless you for what you are doing!
Pass my regards to your brothers Axel and Einar.

Thank your parents for me too for allowing you to help us”

 

 

Muvera wa ASSETS-True Environmental ambassadors!

Coordinating a project as great as ASSETS can get a little scary sometime going by the amount of hope laid on us by thirsty young minds yearning for school apart from nature itself that we view to conserve in the long run!I must however thank the different stakeholders involved since things would be impossible were it not for them. Muvera wa ASSETS categorically, has been pivotal in effecting fruitful conservation initiatives at the local level.

Recently I visited the association members from Malanga and the site of their beautiful casuarinas seedlings; healthily dancing to the rhythm of the wind truly moved me.In this part of the world, this is certainly the driest period of the year and it must have taken them immense efforts to accomplish this. It got me thinking about how transformed their attitude towards the environment is; truly encouraging…! In less time than it takes to tell undoubtedly, we will have a completely ‘green community’ bordering the ‘greenest’ forest in the whole of Eastern Africa.

Malanga

I leave Malanga and head towards the south-western end of the Arabuko sokoke forest, a village called Nyari. A peculiar site welcomes me though; a very clear path into the forest despite the electric fence!! Maybe or maybe not, someone uses this opening to smuggle timber out of the forest.

Nyari

Normally, I would be extremely disturbed by such a site, having had to get hold of the Kenya Forest Services guards to report this; but then on second thought…! I stop my relatively old but rather responsive Yamaha DT motorcycle to call the chairman Muvera wa ASSETS Nyari branch, I explain what I had seen and speed off to my office in Gede to attend to other offices matters; am all glad though because undoubtedly my laments are in the right hands.

 

 

Wings to fly…

Wednesday 29th of January 1130hrs near Arabuko sokoke forest and Mida Creek:

What would be the most valuable form of wealth would you wish to leave to your child?

Looking at it in a local perspective, many Kenyan parents would go for higher education.

Most families here fraught below the dollar mark thus physical wealth would automatically be out of the question.

Higher education therefore stands out to be the only opportunity towards a ‘break out’ from the poverty cycle,as one is likely to find decent employment upon graduation.Unavailability of these educational opportunities could be quite frustrating with dreams shuttered and futures uncertain.

Providing school fees through secondary school, the ASSETS project is an inspiration to even greater personal development in addition to the primary goal of instigating community participation in conservation.Congratulations to two ASSETS beneficiaries Lennox Kirao and Grace Neema who despite all the odds are set to graduate from Pwani University later this year.

391311_10101721330371967_1538040933_n

Lennox Kirao

Kirao pursuing B.S.C Environmental Science has kept close ties with A Rocha Kenya volunteering with our Research & Monitoring programme.
Kirao went to Malindi High School where he received the ASSETS bursary.

Grace Neema who went to St. Johns Girls Secondary School Kaloleni will be graduating with a B.A in English Literature.

Your kind donations towards the ASSETS project have not only given them a prospect to excel in life but also  set them as role models in their villages.

All the best to these two young scholars!!

Turtle Bay Christmas Charity Auction

Turtle Bay Hotel has been one of the most consistent supporters of our work as A Rocha Kenya. True to what it is popularly referred to “Kenya’s responsible resort”, the hotel works commendably well in improving standards of living of its neighboring communities.

Tbbc magic

An annual event referred to as The Turtle Bay Christmas Charity Auction is normally organized by the hotel with the sole aim of raising funds to cater for various needs that face the Watamu community. Responding to our call for funds to sustain the ASSETS project, the 2013 version was dedicated towards our ASSETS fundraising campaign. On the 28th of  December 2013, different commodities  ranging from tour trips  to sports kits were up for grabs as the hotel guests went to battle with the highest bidders carrying the day.

 

tbbc charity auction

 

A total of 258 000 ksh was raised by the end of the day all dedicated towards the ASSETS project. Sincere gratitude to the management and Turtle Bay guests for this amazing gift to the ASSETS child.

A big thank you to everyone of you also for your kind donations so far. As we wrap-up our fundraising campaign you can still ‘touch a child’s heart’ by making a donation. See:www.arocha.org/donateassets 

Remember to Choose ‘Kenya, ASSETS bursaries’