SI Dundee member Sheila McLuckie reports on her recent visit to Kenya.
In February of this year I returned, with my friend Margaret, to Meru near Mt Kenya for the third time in ten years and once again enjoyed every moment.
After visiting my two projects at St Stephens kindergarten and Limbene PS ,where along with support from the Dundee community ,I’ve fund raised for classrooms I was delighted to see that both are progressing well. The kindergarten / Primary now has 100 pupils ranging in age from 3-14 with devoted staff and a new Principal. Since seeing my classroom the Community development fund has provided others end on, demolishing the ramshackle rooms where the children were previously taught.
Margaret and I spent the last Friday and Saturday off our trip visiting the Meru women’s and garden project and the projects of the local Meru Soroptimists. We were given warm and well organised welcomes and we became very clear that the mission of Soroptimism is being carried out in Kenya.
Margaret Ikiara ,executive director of CIFORD ,is doing a power of work developing the SIGBI project. We asked the first group , to talk individually about the impact of the project on their lives and I noted their responses. They are feeling empowered; daughters have attended alternative – to Fgm – rite of passage training; they can self support and sell the extra crops; efficient stoves; care for their families;clean water et al.
Ciford is doing marvellous work in Kenya and the funding is well spent. Another aspect which was interesting for me was that the Sigbi project is in the same arid locality as Limbene P.S where I’ve fundraised for classrooms , toilets , basins etc. It’s an area which does not benefit from the rains Meru town experiences.
On the Saturday we met with Meru soroptimists. Only twelve in number but working with local people who are disabled or needy to improve their lives. We visited a Fairtrade supported school in a tea growing area and a project where girls are trained to make jewellery to finance themselves through secondary. After lunch I delivered the personalised card from SI Dundee and a personal gift for President Jane . We bought gifts and some of the necklaces made by the girls to sell back home, and commissioned more, and were given a gift for SI Dundee.
I left with a huge respect for Meru SI.