Make a Difference Schools – Mombasa was registered as a charity in 2013.
1. Education and training for children with special needs
Our first project was to build a school for children whose parents could not afford school fees and this we completed in 2016. Since then the school has gone from strength to strength, having added an extra classroom to meet the increased demand for places.
Immediately after this, we became aware of a lady who was working with children with special needs. She struggled to make ends meet and the building she rented suffered from serious flooding every year and was dark, hot and in an extremely poor state of repair.
Over a period of three years we provided her with advice on costing and budgeting and we linked her up with a centre in Mombasa which continues to give her teaching support, advice and guidance. We helped her to move into new, cleaner, brighter premises which did not flood, providing the cost of the move plus the first month’s rent and the construction of an extra classroom, an office, an extra shower and toilet.
We also helped with her running costs by fencing off a piece of land she owned, sinking an 85 foot well and equipping it with a pump and water storage tank to enable the planting and irrigation of crops to feed the children.
2. Mothers who haven’t the funds to feed their children or have them educated.
Over this same period, we have been helping mothers who are in desperate need by providing seed money to start small businesses: two ladies were each provided with a motorbike to run a taxi service, sewing machines and training were provided for a group of ladies who now make, amongst other things, school uniforms for the local children and funding was given to two ladies who had small shops to enable them purchase much needed stock.
In the last year, money has been provided to purchase and set-up a posho mill. This is a small machine which grinds flour and maize which together form the staple diet of the people. The mill is now fully functional and the women have won contracts to supply two schools so far and with more in the pipeline. As a by-product, the husks are sold to feed chickens.
With the help of Jane, the head teacher at Utange State Primary School, these projects have proved a resounding success and it is really satisfying to visit Utange and see the women happy and smiling and working together and helping one-another. And, of course, to see their children now at school with full tummies and proudly wearing the uniforms made for them.