Category Archives: Beneficiaries

Assesement of new ASSETS beneficiaries 2104

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’

 

 

A Prayer Well Answered!

Eco-tourism has been the main source of funding especially for our community and conservation work. Funds collected from our Eco -facilities have been pivotal in the sustainability of our projects. However breaking down of the Gede Ruins Tree platform was one problem that wrecked our minds in the last quarter of 2013.

Coming down the tree platform

Coming down the tree platform

 

We desperately tried to have it fixed soonest possible so as to beat the December deadline when tourism would be at its peak but that was to be in vain! Repair operations started but on a rather small scale due to the lack of a steady source of funds to sustain that.We closed the year with a prospect of funding from the Watamu Rotary Club but the facility was still closed.

During the first Monday morning meeting of the year, we sat together as a team to share our joys, success and aspirations.We then joined hands in prayer but the most common “phrase” in every one’s prayer was that of  the tree platform repairs.

Gede Ruins Tree Platform

Gede Ruins Tree Platform

Later that same day our staff members Stanley and Daniel set out to meet a couple, adamant supporters of our work, Bill of the Watamu Rotary Club and his wife Cassandra. “Fingers crossed” we waited hoping for the best as they had shown some interest in funding the repair operations.

We could all read the glee in the faces of Stanley and Dan as they drove back into the Mwamba compound (where we are located). Finally The good Lord had answered our prayers and the repair operations had been fully funded by this couple. The tree platform should now be operational by the end of this month.

A big thank you to Bill and Cassandra for standing by us in our time of need. May you find favor in the Lord

 

Gede Tree Platform Repairs

 

 

 

tree platform

Eco-tourism has been the main source of funding for the ASSETS project as we seek to ensure that the project is as sustainable as possible.

Funds collected from the amazing Mida creek boardwalk and bird hide together with the Gede Ruins tree platform have been providing more than half of the money used to pay the school fees.

At the platform

At the platform

However breaking down of the tree platform among other factors such as increase in school fees and decline in the tourism sector,

financial stability of the project has been seriously compromised.

 

As we continue raising money for next year’s school fees, we are also really keen on having the Gede Ruins tree platform getting repaired because that is the right way towards restoring the project’s sustainability.

The Watamu Rotary Club has shown some interest in helping to raise funds for the repairs but no progress has been made so far and we are still ears open and trust in the Lord that we shall be able to find funds to complete the repairs and have the platform functional

again.

Your ideological, financial and material support will always be highly appreciated!!

Voice of the ASSETS child!

The ASSETS project has so far been the most reliable scholarship program in the north Coast of Kenya. It’s uniqueness knows no limit as it was tactically set to satisfy two needs at the same time. Apart from providing educational opportunities to some of the brightest minds in this region, It has successfully transformed the attitudes of  the locals regarding the protection of Mida Creek and Arabuko Sokoke Forest which are two extremely precious habitats threatened by human activities here.

ASSETS has been enjoying a great deal of both financial and material support from well wishers: Turtle Bay Beach Club,  Ocean Sports Resort, and guests who have been visiting our Eco-facilities; the Gede tree platform and the Mida Creek boardwalk and bird hide. Funds from these sources have been comfortably sustaining the project for the period it has been operational.

OceanSportsLogo530144_355772421177419_808597742_n

However there has been lots of economic uncertainties over the recent past that has weakened our financial sustainability as a project. School fees in Kenya have extremely risen leading to a subsequent increase in our budget. The tourism sector which we significantly relied on has deteriorated leading to consequent decrease in the number of visitors to our two Eco-tourism facilities at Gede and Mida, this has seriously compromised our financial sustainability.The number of  eligible students has also been rising leading to an expansion in our budget.This has been as  a result of the consistent campaigns among the communities on the importance of formal education .

 

ASSETS beneficiaries

ASSETS beneficiaries

As efforts are being put in place to deal with the situation,   we really need to stand up for next year’s beneficiaries  to ensure that we retain them at school.This project has been providing hope not only to the benefiting  families but to the society as a whole, it is a perfect manifestation that restoration of the lost beauty of nature is achievable! It is such a beautiful thing to see the enthusiasm and initiative taken by the be

neficiaries including their parents in spearheading the conservation efforts at the local levels. We want to heed to God’s call of caring for creation and empowering the communities we work with in the process. The ASSETS project represents hope to the African child, it is the ‘logo’ of opportunity and the symbol of empowerment.

 

Johnstone's graduation at AKAM

The ASSETS children have great potential if given the chance, they have a way of getting to the top and that is all thanks to your esteemed support!

The best Christmas gift you can ever give out this Christmas season is a donation to the ASSETS project to ensure that the it stays operational next year. We need to raise 2 million Shillings  by the mid of January 2014 to be able able to keep our students in school next year.

You can make a donation through www.arocha.org/donateassets

No amount is too small to make a difference!

Like us on Facebook at ASSETS_Caring for Children & Creation

Follow us on twitter at @ARK_assets

 

 

 

It’s PATIENCE yet again!

 

 Following the departure of Patience Malombo, Our ASSETS Volunteer on completion of her volunteer period with us, Patience Nyevu joins the team for a three month volunteer period to take up the position

Outgoing Patience

Outgoing Patience

 

Incoming Patience

Incoming Patience

 

Patience Nyevu was a student at Nyari primary school and then to Kombeni Girls secondary school between the years 2007-2011 and this is where she benefitted from the ASSETS scholarships.

After completing high school, she volunteered as a teacher at Nyari Primary School (her former school) for about one and a half years. In the course of this period, she applied for a teaching course where she secured admission at Kitui Teachers Training College. She however could not take the opportunity due to some financial constraints.

She joins the team as a general volunteer, but specifically stationed at the Kitchen learning how to prepare the delicious meals that we serve at Mwamba!

We wish the “Outgoing Patience” the best of luck in all her future plans, and thank God for the wonderful time we shared with her.

We also welcome the “incoming Patience” and look forward to having a great time with her as she takes this opportunity to learn and meet people from all corners of the world at Mwamba!

Follow us on twitter @ARK_assets

Like us on Facebook: ASSETS_Caring for Children & Creation

 

 

A unique Program, Great Results!

“A Pound, A Dream!” Campaign

 

It is our responsibility to care for God’s creation in whatever ways suitable. The well fare of the generations to come will significantly be affected by our activities today and how much effort we put into conserving and restoring nature. It is in relation to this call that A Rocha Kenya; a Christian Conservation Organization based in Watamu, felt the need to help in conserving the neighboring ecological hotspots. Here is a story by one of A Rocha Kenya staff showing how his association with the Organization has enabled him respond to God’s call and made Him feel really good about it.

Stanley Baya

My interest in nature led to my appointment as the wildlife club’s patron for the school where I was teaching. I had recently graduated from a teacher training college and just started working at Sawa-Sawa Academy in Watamu before I was promoted to be the head teacher of the school. This position reunited me with a long-time friend who was then working as Environmental Education Officer for Arabuko-Sokoke Forest. Mr Tsofa Mweni introduced me to A Rocha Kenya and to Colin Jackson, the founder.

In 2001, I took up an appointment as the Co-coordinator of the Arabuko-Sokoke Schools and Eco-tourism scheme (ASSETS). This new challenge was both exciting and overwhelming. It exposed me to the very high poverty levels in the area, which led to a very high school drop-out rate. In our first meeting with the project stakeholders, it was revealed by the District Education Officer that more than 90% of the students who graduated from primary school the previous year did not join secondary school. After conducting a rapid survey to get some baseline information, we found that many students did not even pick up their results and admission forms from the school, as they felt there was no hope of them joining secondary school anyway. This put a lot of pressure on the parents to exploit the natural resources around them, like cutting trees to sell as timber. The result has been the degradation of the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest and Mida Creek.

Today, however, with over 450 students having been supported by the ASSETS eco-bursary scheme, it is evident that the trends are changing. The transition rate of children taking up secondary school places has very visibly improved and hope for the future almost restored. This renewed hope has influenced a change of attitude and behaviour among the students and parents who benefit from the program. An independent survey established that there is quite a significant improvement in understanding about the role of the forest and the creek in sustaining the livelihoods of the local people.

I am really proud of this program that has made it possible for over 200 students to attend universities and diploma colleges. It makes me feel that ASSETS was a step in the right direction towards redeeming the local people and creation.

This is just some of the many stories that A Rocha Kenya staff and associates have to say about the ASSETS project and its effect to the community. Currently we are on a 3 month fund drive dubbed “A Pound, A Dream!” campaign, aimed at raising funds to sustain the ASSETS projects.

Look at it, just by saving one pound a day you will be able to pay for a child’s school fees for a whole school term, better still you will have played your part in caring for God’s creation. (The writer is actually a successful graduate of this project currently in University)

You could be part of this noble mission and give a child an opportunity to achieve their dreams by making a donation online see:

http://www.arocha.org/int-en/you/donatespecific.html?d=KE-ASSETS. Make sure to choose “Kenya; ASSETS bursaries.

To donate to our bank Account please emails us on: mwamba@arocha.org for our details.