Achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4 on Quality Education in Ang'iya, Kenya
Sister Gaudencia Nafula Wanyonyi in Ang'iya, Kenya, writes:
"In July 2021, Medical Mission Sisters in East Africa made history by venturing into a new area of mission involvement; we opened an Early Childhood Development Centre named after our Founder, Anna Dengel. Since then, the Anna Dengel Education Centre has been offering a quality education to children who would otherwise risk being excluded from it. The number of children, who have enrolled so far, has taken us by surprise: 50 children now enjoy our play group; 20 are enrolled in Pre-Primary I; and 24 have just graduated from Pre-Primary II. New enrolments are ongoing with families bringing more and more children to join our classes.
Many of the children, who have come to be educated with us, are vulnerable: some of them are living with HIV or have a disability, others are orphans, cared for by grandparents or guardians, or they are simply too small to cross the river to school. Encouragingly, about half of our pupils are girls. Given the frailty of some of the children, in an ongoing pandemic, it is important to boost their immunity. Many of them arrive at school without having eaten breakfast because their families are poor to provide it. For this reason, we have implemented a nutrition programme and were most grateful for the kind support towards it that we received from Esharelife Foundation. This is enabling us to give the children breakfast at 9.30 am and lunch at 12.30 pm. which their parents and guardians really appreciate because it means that their children are not left hungry for a whole day.
What a transformation we have seen in all pupils since their arrival! Some of the children were so timid and shy, when they arrived, that they sat in a corner, crying all the time, but over the months, they have relaxed, started playing with others and now make loudest noise of all in the school. The majority did not know how to read and write and could not speak English or Kiswahili, but over the past months, they have made great progress in these areas. Our teachers and support staff have worked tirelessly to ensure that the children achieve their full potential, monitoring the changes in their learning and wellbeing outcomes over less than one year – with the academic year coming to an end in March 2022.
On March 4th 2022, we held our first graduation ceremony for 24 pupils from Pre-Primary II who will be transitioning to Primary Grade I on April 25th 2022. We are now seeking funds to create a temporary classroom for them in, what is currently, the staff room. The graduation was a very joyful celebration. All of their parents and guardians attended this event and spoke very proudly and positively about our school. As headteacher, I also invited our two priests and local officials from the Ministry of Education to join us for the occasion and they were most impressed to see what the children are learning
We are sharing the pictures of this occasion for you to see how proud the children are to be learning with us.
Finally, I should like to say a special word of thanks to Stichting Vrienden Medische Missiezusters (known as Vrienden) in The Netherlands for helping us to construct the new Centre and to the Conrad N Hilton Fund for Sisters for equipping the three classrooms with desks, chairs and learning resources and for enabling us to install a water tank."