This has been a really exciting few months as you will read below – so much has been going on and so many students have, through your support, seen their hopes and dreams of an education realised. We and they cannot thank you enough. If you haven’t already, look up (and like!) our Facebook page where, besides posting news updates, we regularly receive notes from the students we are supporting – it’s incredible how the reach of the web is drawing us all ever closer together, and hearing first hand from those directly affected refreshes every time the sense of worth in the work Rafiki Thabo is doing. From us all, thank you.
Kenya - Nicholas' story
We are excited to see some of the students we have supported in Kenya graduate and are keen to keep in touch with them as they start their working lives. One such student is Nicholas Ayiesa who graduated from the Kenyan College of Accounting in November 2013. Nicholas is the only member of his family ever to have achieved a degree. Nicholas is also leading a group of Rafiki alumni students called 'Blessed to Bless' (B2B) to help others in local communities, as they were helped by Rafiki Thabo.
Nicholas on his graduation day
Nicholas recently wrote to Rafiki to share his life story and tell us the difference our support has made to his life.
He writes: “my graduation.... was a shock to many. This has made me gain my respect. I am no longer the fatherless boy the community used to see. My family members, including but not limited to, my uncles, cousins and aunties, now consult me on various family issues.”
Read Nicholas' amazing story here. Read more about our work in Kenya here.
All change in Uganda
The Uganda committee continue to fantastic job of managing the paperwork and student follow-up in Kabale district, South West Uganda. The programme has taken on new students, so they have had a busy few months. Chairman Benon writes: “Rafiki has surely touched and changed lives of many students here in Uganda and hopefully in other countries where you help students.”
As is the case in Kenya, we are delighted to see some of the students we have supported in Uganda graduate from university, including Chris and Gemma who one of our Trustees, Zanna, met during her last visit to Uganda. 7 Rafiki students are also graduating from secondary school and are awaiting results to see if they will continue to university. Another 7 have completed S4 (equivalent to GCSE): some have chosen to continue their education at A-level while others have opted for more vocational courses. Well done to all our students! We also welcome the new students we are supporting this year: one student Rafiki have recently started supporting cried when handed a bank slip to show that her fees had been paid. For her, the pressure of school fees had been taken away and she was free to study.
It’s so encouraging to receive emails directly from Rafiki students, whose gratitude for our work spur us on to continue and increase our work. Recently we received an email from Sarah Akampurira who Rafiki supported to complete her MA. Here she explains how Rafiki’s support inspired her to help others:
“I have always wanted to do something to help the community I participated in years ago and I noticed it .... had a big problem of orphans, orphaned by HIV/AIDS. I felt that something needed to be done to .... support their family income through small family based projects, education support, HIV/AIDS etc. This is my dream ....and.... was inspired by the helping hand Rafiki Foundation ... rendered to me. I wanted to help some one else.”
It is so exciting for us to see two of the students we have supported, Nicholas and Sarah, feel inspired to help others as they have been helped by Rafiki!
Read more about our work in Uganda here.
Sarah Akampurira, 32, completed MA in Leadership and Human Relations at Makerere University, Kampala
Copyrite: 2011 Jane Baker/ Greensnapper Photography
Lesotho - Full marks for Fusi!
January saw the start of another academic year at Fusi secondary school with a good intake of students. The school was awarded a merit for the second year running in the 2013 end-of-year results and was the only secondary school in the Berea district to achieve 100% pass rate in the public examination: a brilliant achievement! One of the seven students Rafiki Thabo is now supporting at high school, Tankiso Mokhachane, got a merit in his Junior Certificate.
The school also now has a working electricity supply which means that the new ICT suite can now be used by the students. As regular newsletter readers will know, ever since the school was registered in 2009 Rafiki Thabo has been ensuring that the teachers at Fusi school were paid a reasonable wage on time. The Lesotho government has gradually been taking responsibility for paying the teachers and finally in December 2013, all teachers' salaries are being paid by the government. This is a milestone for the school as it is now financially self-sufficient and Rafiki Thabo can concentrate on supporting students, both at Fusi and in their future studies at high school and, hopefully, at university.
Cokethorpe students on a previous visit to Fusi school
A group of sixth form students from Cokethorpe School will be travelling to Lesotho in July with Rafiki trustee Andrew Uglow. They are going to spend a week living in the Teyteyaneng region, visiting and working at Fusi school. They will be building and stocking a chicken coop, providing the school with additional nutrition to offer pupils as well as a possible additional revenue source.
Read more about our work in Lesotho here.
Updates from Rafiki HQ
Introducing Rafiki's Director
In January 2014, Rafiki's trustees appointed a Director, Janet Hayes, to support their work. Up to then, the Foundation had been run by a dedicated group of voluntary trustees but they felt that it was time for Rafiki Thabo to move to the next stage of growth and development. There is so much exciting potential for the Foundation to support even more students and their communities and we can only do this through finding extra support for the trustees. Janet is working on several areas, including fundraising, working with the Trustees to develop a strategic plan for the foundation's work
for the next 5 years and capturing the impact of our work. Read more about Janet's background here.
The trustees, Janet and other Rafiki supporters have had a busy few months raising funds for Rafiki's work. Events have included a clothes swap in Churchill, Oxfordshire, a home clothes day and cake sale at Cokethorpe school, and a team from Landell Mills running the Bath half marathon. We would like to thank all those who have organised and supported those events.
'Spring into Style' clothes swap evening
We have lots of fundraising events planned over the coming months. These include:
8 June: children's activities at the vintage car show in Churchill, Oxfordshire
14 June: a clothes swap and children's clothes and toy sale in Stirchley, Birmingham
7 September: a team will be doing the London to Brighton bike ride - we are still looking for others to join our team so please get in touch if you are interested!
Thank you for your interest in Rafiki - so you've read our updates and seen the difference we are making to people's lives - but we'd now like to challenge you to raise funds for us - and it won't cost you a penny! Would you consider doing all your online shopping, for the next month, via Give as you Live? It brings together thousands of online stores that have signed up to donate a percentage of whatever you buy online, but without putting a penny on the price of the shopping.
Simply by installing Give as you Live, online stores from Amazon to Expedia will donate to us when you shop. Please sign up now!
To see more regular updates of our work, please 'like' us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and ask your friends to do the same!