Category Archives: Beneficiaries

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!

 

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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”

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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!

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