Let's Get this Bus Rollin'
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WE DID IT!!!

The $10,000 we needed to raise is ready to go!!! As many of you know, I was evacuated from Peace Corps/Kenya in July of 2014. I spent 22 months in Kenya with 19 of those months at my site: Sipili School for the Deaf. I had been collaborating on a project with all of the teachers there to buy a bus for the school. In May 2014, we completed a ‘Walk for a Bus’ and the school raised $2,500. Fundraising began in the States while I was still in Kenya. Angela Nicholl led Swift Middle School´s Eighth Grade Poem Night and together they raised $2,500! Then my service ended abruptly and we didn't get a chance to finish what we started with me still in Kenya. When I came back in July, we continued to raise money to reach our goal of $10,000! Ascension Lutheran Church and the Solanco Cross Country Team both donated large amounts with lots of help from individuals to round out the goal! I want to thank each and every one of you for all of the donations, support, prayers and happy wishes along this journey! We have now officially raised the $10,000 and it is in the process of getting safely to Kenya. In the next month my teachers along with a fellow Peace Corps friend of mine, will be meeting to get together and purchase the bus!!!! Purchasing a bus in Kenya is not as quick and easy as in America though. There is no such thing as buying a ready-made bus and so once my teachers purchase it, it will take 3-4 months before the bus is in the school compound. It is very exciting and I will keep you all updated when the bus is officially purchased!!! THANK YOU!"

Link to 'Peace Corps Confirmation Letter'

Link to 'Walk for a Bus' article from Kenyan newspaper.

Link to 'Kisses from Kenya' blogspot.


Background

Sipili School for the Deaf became a school in 2006 and is the only school for the Deaf in all of Laikipia County. It is a public boarding school with 80 pupils catering for students from Laikipia, Samburu, Baringo, Nakuru and Nyandarua counties. The school has enrolled learners from infant class all through Class 8 as well as vocational. There are 8 Kenyan teachers at our school.

┬áThe School is dedicated to achieving some of the goals in the Peace Corps Deaf Education Project Plan. In the past we have worked on Goal 1 “Host country national educators in primary schools for the Deaf will expand their teaching skills, broaden their range of educational approaches, and improve learning materials and resources for their students”. This vehicle project is a great way for us to continue achieving this goal. We have made more posters, diagrams and improved our materials but nothing compares to seeing something in person. This will broaden students’ minds and aid the teachers in broadening their ways to approach classroom teaching. It will drastically change how the students learn, for the better.

The other main goal that the vehicle will aid us in, is Peace Corps Goal 4, Objective 4.2, “By 2017, 500 community members will receive education on deafness and ways to effectively communicate with the deaf”. By going on field trips and visiting other schools/areas while possibly spending the night at schools and giving assemblies, we will have the chance to educate their peers on deafness. When we went on the ‘Walk for a Bus’, we had the opportunity to give an assembly at every school we spent the night at, thereby giving 4 assemblies to schools ranging from 30 learners to 400 learners.

Sipili School for the Deaf has a chance to attend 3 different festivals each year. There is a Games Festival which we attended at the county level in Nanyuki, the Regional level in Muranga and the National level with 2 students in Embu this year. Our students are very competitive but getting them all there can be a big hassle every year. We also have the opportunity to attend the Drama Festival; which they attended 3 years ago and placed in the top 3. Unfortunately we haven’t been back since due to lack of transportation. Lastly, we have the chance to attend the Music Festival every year and last year we went to Nationals in Nakuru where the students performed very well. In that case, transportation was difficult and kept us from taking all of the students who had practiced but since Nakuru is closer to Sipili, we were able to find a vehicle at the last minute.


Community Involvement

The community is very involved in reaching the desired goal of a bus. This bus is a priority for the school and community for many reasons. Every year they train and practice to participate in Games, Drama and the Music festivals but they can’t always go. Transportation has been an issue for the school since its inception. The students suffer. They are visual learners and they learn and observe more through their eyes.

A bus would enable our students to travel for field trips and festivals. They will have the opportunity to explore the country they live in and learn about various topics and subjects while on these trips. The students could embark on more field trips to learn about things in a more practical way.

Many of the teachers have expressed interest in figuring out ways to buy a bus and the main idea of doing a walk was proposed by a local teacher. We planned the walk with at least two teachers and 10 students to raise awareness of our school while raising money and being a large part of this process. The teachers planned the event, mapped out the route, and figured out the logistics to make the walk successful. The teachers wrote letters to large companies as well as individuals and both the teachers and students hand delivered as many as possible. The walk route was from Nanyuki all the way to Sipili and the students completed the walk successfully. The walk ended with a big closing ceremony and welcome celebration right in the middle of town that was organized by all of the other teachers who didn’t participate in the walk itself. This walk, and the letters, were hugely successful as they raised 210,000 Kenya Shillings to serve as the community contribution to the project. The community is fully aware of our need for a bus and they are willing to help where they are able.


Sustainability

The support requested in this proposal is needed only to purchase the bus, but once the bus is acquired the school will be able to loan it out to other schools in the area and generate income for future bus trips. Sipili is home to around 20 schools but only 1 other has a vehicle already, so a bus in a school close to town would be useful to many other schools. It also is good for other schools, who will be indirect beneficiaries, because the festivals or games competitions fall on different dates for the hearing and Deaf schools, so the bus will be available for them to rent when they need it. By loaning the bus out, we will be able to raise funds for repairing the bus when needed and fueling it. The teachers are invested in the project and will continue taking the students on field trips as they wish to do now but find themselves unable.


Capacity Building

The project will benefit the students in a lot of ways. The students will be able to travel to various festivals and parks among different cities and towns that they may have never been to before. They also will get the chance to see more of the country they live in. The students will be able to build their KSL language skills while learning about culture and life in other parts of Kenya. A bus will enable the students to learn social studies, science and life skills in a more practical sense. They will have a chance to go on field trips to different cities as well as other schools for the Deaf and interact with other students. The students are very visual learners and are able to learn and remember more about topics when seen personally. They will get many chances to explore the country while learning the whole time.


Outcome

The desired outcome is a bus that is totally owned by Sipili School for the Deaf that they can use to take trips all around Kenya. The school will be able to easily transport their students to festivals and on school trips. They will be able to travel to various parks in Laikipia that they have been invited to and have been unable to go previously. It will be income generating as well because the school will be able to loan it out to other schools or groups who are in need of a bus. There is only one other school in all of Sipili (out of 20 schools) that has a bus. The money earned by renting it out will be saved for gas, maintenance, and other school expenses that arise. Overall the main desired outcome will be a bus that fits at least one class of students so trips can be taken easily with no hassle and without much loss of money.