Posts Tagged ‘teachers’

A Year in Review: 2017

Written by margaret. Posted in Children, Education, Sponsorship, Stories, Village Project Africa

As we come to the close of each year, we take time to reflect on what the last year meant to us. We take stock of what we’ve lost and what we’ve gained, the pain and the joy we experienced over a twelve-month period that shaped us and formed us. We celebrate the growth we witnessed and the love that we shared. Through it all, we recognize God’s hand and the provisions He made. Faith, hope, and love were our constants in 2017.

Faith

Since Village Project Africa began, faith has been a driver in all that we do. Our prayer has always been that God would guide our work and give us the faith and strength to follow His plan for us.

When we started Heritage Academy, we began with faith that God would provide for the children we served, and He has. A record number of students in our school were sponsored in 2017. And as new students join both the primary and high schools, we have faith that this trend will continue. We recently admitted 10 new students to the high school: all received excellent scores on their eighth grade national exam, but would have been forced to leave school were it not for the opportunities presented at Heritage Academy through sponsorship. Many are the first in their families to attend high school. Each time we add a new student, we do so on the faith that a sponsor will step forward.

High school students listening to a teacher's lecture.

We also have faith that the teachers that are led to teach at our school will support and nurture the students in our school to help them reach high and achieve their dreams. We’ve been blessed to have a team of teachers assemble at our school who have become a stable part of our school. All but one teacher returned for the new school year, a very unusual rate for a rural school like ours. And these teachers are making huge strides with our students. Our school is ranked one of the highest in the region for performance, and three of our students earned a score over 400 on the national exam last year. This is a huge achievement considering the challenges our students have faced and had to overcome.

Hope

We have so much hope for the future as we see the commitment and dedication of our teachers and watch our students excel and grow.

All of this is thanks, in large part, to the terrific leadership we continue to have at both the primary and high schools. The new principal at the high school has been recognized as one of the top principals in the country. When we interviewed him, he wanted to pray about accepting the job. A few days later, he contacted Davis and said, “I want to be a part of your dream.”  He has already made such a difference since he joined the team, and we are hopeful as we look forward to what this leadership will do in the year to come.

Our hope for our students is that they will continue to grow and recognize their value, talents, and callings. In 2017, we had several opportunities for our students to explore who they are and who they hope to become. One of these opportunities was a GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) camp. Our girls had the opportunity to grow their confidence, think beyond traditional gender roles, and find encouragement to be leaders in the community. There was so much laughter and fun, and we are grateful our girls were able to participate in such an empowering experience.

Picture of the girls participating in GLOW camp.

We continue to have hope for the future of education in Kenya and the strides our kids can continue to make with well-prepared teachers who have a passion for their success. Teachers of Promise, founded by Dr. Lynn Staley, sponsors 10 young women to attend the Heritage International Early Childhood Development Education Teacher’s College at both the certificate and diploma levels for college. Students come from all over Kenya, but also from right here in Makutano, to receive top-quality education to prepare to enter the classroom. College is out of reach for most villagers, so our hope is that we can continue to add college sponsors and make a college education a possibility for more students.

Love

Love changing lives is not just a motto or tag line, it is a statement of what we see every day of the year. We see examples of God’s immeasurable love all around us as we walk through our classrooms, watch our kids skip to the cafeteria for lunch each day, hear the joyful voices of our students as they master new concepts and share their knowledge with others.

Love was an ever present part of our 2017. We saw it in Peter, an eleventh-grader who would have been forced to drop out of school were it not for his sponsor. Peter stays behind during school vacations to care for the pigs and acre of land we have set aside for farming and greenhouses, passing the love from his sponsor forward.

Peter reading a note from his sponsor.

Peter reads a letter from his sponsor.

We saw love in a family reunited after the mother found a job at Heritage Academy. When her husband died, Brenda had to send some of her children to live with other relatives because she did not have the means to support them, and it broke her heart. With a steady job, she is finally able to better provide for her children. And we saw love in the way that so many of our friends and partners stepped in to support us, answering needs we may or may not have recognized. Each one of you was generous in your prayers, in your support, and in your giving. Because of you, we are able to meet the needs of the people of Makutano and the surrounding area more than ever before. All these efforts are building a community that will continue to grow and sustain long into the future. The impact of your love will continue to reverberate and ripple here.

We look ahead to 2018 filled with more faith, hope, and love and a dedication to continue to run the race set before us. We know that love will continue to change lives in so many ways in 2018 because of you and all our supporters and volunteers. In you, we see that love never fails. Thank you.

Staff Spotlight: Nashon

Written by Village Project Africa. Posted in Education

Today’s spotlight is on one of our group of amazing teachers: Nashon.

Nashon

 

Nashon (pronounced like nation) started out as a student at Heritage Teacher’s College, an experience he says was a really good one. He said he felt like the certificate program really helped prepare him for the classroom, and he was grateful to be sponsored to complete the program. He officially joined the staff at Heritage in 2012.

Before coming to Heritage, Nashon taught grades 4 through 8 in the local public schools. In the public schools, he said he struggled with a lack of material and time to teach the kids in his classroom. At Heritage, Nashon is pleased to have more material and more time to teach his students. Because his eighth graders all live on campus, he can do remediation and further learning opportunities in the evening, meaning he can bring his students’ performance levels even further up. He says that his greatest challenge at Heritage is engaging students and getting them interested in math. But he seems to be overcoming that challenge with many of his students. He has an easy way of connecting with the kids, and many say he is one of their favorite teachers at the school. Nashon says he feels such pride when he sees some of his students out in the shops with their parents applying some of the principles they’ve learned in his classroom. He hopes that what starts in his classroom benefits his students beyond the classroom, not just in the shops, but on their exams and future efforts in high school and university. When we asked if there was anything he needed to help achieve this, he said he’d like more implements and manipulatives to use in the classroom to help students further understand mathematics principles.

Nashon in the classroom

In addition to being an excellent math teacher, Nashon is also an excellent spiritual leader in our school. He was raised in a Christian home, one of seven kids, and he became more involved in faith exploration when he was in high school. As he’s gotten older, serving the Lord has become one of his greatest joys. He exudes this joy, and students often come to him with faith-related questions. He’s glad to advise them, and his greatest piece of advice is always: “Above all… trust upon the Lord.”

Nashon hopes to continue to improve himself and further his education. His goal is to earn his bachelor’s degree somewhere in Kenya. After earning his bachelor’s degree, Nashon would come back to Heritage to teach, but he’d be open to teaching anywhere in the world.

We’re so fortunate to have Nashon’s dedication and enthusiasm for our kids as part of our community. It’s teachers like Nashon that make our school the success that it is!

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