We would like to thank those of you who came to the recent dessert and coffee evening to celebrate our partnership with International Needs New Zealand. We have been thrilled with the response from both current and new supporters across the country. How wonderful that despite the economic climate and the ongoing threat of Covid 19, this partnership allows Ark Quest Education Centre to continue to thrive and support many needy families in Mahanga Village.
The team that was in Kenya this time last year, was recently able to connect with Calvine and his family online. Both Calvine and Laura are continuing to work for Jomo Kenyatta University and caring for Azaryah who is now walking. It was a precious time of sharing.
We wish you all the very best for Christmas. May God bless you for your generosity.
International News: Sarah Jackson, a teacher in England and keen supporter of Ark Quest, and was due to visit this year. She chose to do a sponsored walk covering 152 miles in 30 days. As a result she raised $2300 USD which has gone a long way to helping the school. Her commitment is an inspiration to us all. Thank you, Sarah!
Social Event Planned: We have an exciting event coming up to celebrate our new partnership with International Needs New Zealand (INNZ). Please join us for dessert and coffee, meet the team and hear about the latest developments with Ark Quest. Details will be coming soon…
Ark Quest Update: Kenya has had approximately 38000 Covid cases, and nearly 700 deaths. However, the village has, to date, not been affected. The government is now gradually looking at reopening schools. Ark Quest Education Centre is ready for the new normal which involves physical distancing and improved sanitation.
It is a blessing that the school has been able to support students by providing meals to needy families during this time. This will allow students to come back to school well nourished and ready to learn.
As mentioned in our previous blog, we are delighted to share the news of our new partnership with International Needs New Zealand (INNZ).
Who are International Needs?
International Needs is a not-for-profit non-denominational, worldwide partnership of Christian organisations supporting each other to see transformed lives, families and communities in developing countries.
What does this partnership mean?
We can see that Ark Quest Education Centre will benefit from this partnership as it will lead to greater exposure to possibilities for further sponsorship of students and raising money for projects. This opportunity creates choices for current sponsors of children who will be offered the option of sponsoring through INNZ and thus qualifying for a tax rebate at the end of the year. General donors may also prefer to give through INNZ to receive these benefits.
What you also need to know:
100% of the donations given through Ark Quest Trust will continue to go directly to Ark Quest Education Centre. While International Needs deducts an administration fee of 20%, we feel the benefits of a wider donor base and the ability to receive a tax rebate will make this a valuable partnership.
If you are currently giving through Ark Quest Trust and would prefer to give through INNZ, please contact us at email@example.com. You can find out more information about INNZ by visiting https://www.innz.org.nz/where-we-serve
Report on Ark Quest Education Centre
Kenya has reported over 13,000 Covid19 cases and 234 deaths. At the village, the closest case is about 40km away in Kisumu.
The village community is suffering from some of the challenges brought by the pandemic. Quite a number of people have lost their jobs and it is difficult for many families to provide basic food for their children. Ark Quest Education Centre is currently supporting some children with breakfast and lunch. Providing teachers’ salaries continues to be our top priority at the moment. Calvine, and the staff are particularly appreciative of the ongoing support from you, our supporters, at this difficult time.
Despite these difficult times, we are happy to report that the dairy herd is flourishing. Six healthy calves have recently been born and will join the milking herd in the future.
We are excited to report that we are in the process of partnering with International Needs to provide sponsorship for more children. The advantages of this are increased publicity, a much wider sponsorship base and also tax benefits for those who choose to sponsor through International Needs rather than through Ark Quest Trust. It is still early days, and there will be more information coming to you soon.
The Kenyan government still has the restrictions on movement in place. The closest recorded case remains about 70km away from the village. Most of the families here live from hand to mouth, and are struggling to raise basic food for their families. Our current focus remains paying our teachers’ salaries, and providing food and soap for extremely needy children. We were also able to pay for the school van comprehensive insurance this month. Thank you so much for the great support.
The government has established a committee that will advise the Ministry of Education on the reopening of schools, which we trust will occur soon. Schools have been closed since the 15th March. This has a huge impact on all students but particularly those in rural areas such as Mahanga Village. The committee will also review and reorganise the school calendar as part of the Covid-19 post-recovery strategy.
Calvine has been extremely grateful that he has been able to continue to pay staff salaries throughout this challenging time, and asks that we pass on his thanks to all of you who support Ark Quest Education Centre.
The following communication has come directly from Calvine…
It’s our hope that you are all doing well despite the lockdown because of the global Covid19 pandemic. Our country has now confirmed 343 Covid19 cases, out of 17,492 samples tested, with 14 deaths across the country. At the village, the closest case is about 70km away, which is in Siaya, Nyanza province, our neighbouring province.
The government has been encouraging us to regularly clean our hands with soap or use sanitiser as often as possible, as well as to keeping social distance by staying at home. This is a very simple exercise at face value, but in reality, these families live from hand to mouth; they don’t have any food or cash to support their families. Many of them have no work and most families are struggling with hunger and poverty particularly at the moment. The possibility of sanitizers or soap is totally out of reach for them. These children have to go to the river to fetch drinking and cleaning water! They are only able to access tap water while at school, so we are really are trusting God for unique protection at this time. Our current focus is to support our teachers and pupils through this difficult season.
Recently, the government requested that we embrace eLearning during the time the children are at home. I was left wondering about the children at my village. How do they even access internet? This technology is beyond being a possibility for them!
Please pray for God’s protection for our village against the terrible effects of the heavy rainfall that is occurring in most parts of the country. Kenya is currently experiencing widespread heavy floods, with many homes being washed away. While the village has escaped the locust infestation, please pray that this does not negatively impact on the food supply for the village.
Thank you for the special donation which enabled us to buy materials to construct a door and 4 windows for the new classrooms. If you are interested in contributing toward a door or a window, please Ark Quest Trust know.
We wish you to know….
Calvine’s parents have both experienced some serious health issues recently, which has put added pressure on Calvine and Laura. Please pray for their continued recovery.
We understand that Covid 19 is a big concern for all of us at the moment, and this is also the case for Kenya. While the outbreak has caused the closure of schools (including Ark Quest Education Centre), there are no identified cases of Covid 19 at the village. All the support staff continue to work at the school. This includes the cooks, security, farm workers and those that manage the animals. Their food stocks are very low, which is a concern since the school continues to support the community through this current crisis.
We understand that, at this difficult time, it may be a challenge for some sponsors to continue their support. However, as a trust we are committed to supporting the school through this time. If you are unable to continue to provide support during this period, could you please contact the trust. firstname.lastname@example.org
Increased sponsorship this year has allowed Ark Quest to pay all their government annual permits, monthly rates and obligations on time, for the first time. We are so grateful.
Some sad news. An original crack in the wall of one of the old school buildings extended, and because the block was in danger of collapsing, 4 rooms have had to be demolished. However, the children were not at school, and so were safe. The construction of the new building will help enormously.
Regarding the new classrooms that have been built, these are very nearly complete. Steel windows, doors, frames, internal fixtures and fittings are all that are required to see these classrooms completed. Any contributions towards these needs will be gratefully received.
We trust that you are well and coping through this crisis which we all hope and pray will be over very quickly.
Thank you so much to all our generous donors. All the students who were featured in our website blog now have sponsors. Currently 26 primary students at Ark Quest Education Centre are sponsored, and 9 secondary students are financially supported to attend high school. Calvine is overwhelmed by the response which makes a tremendous difference to their ability to provide quality education for these children.
Some of you may have been aware of the reports of a locust plague in Kenya. We are relieved to be able to report that so far Ark Quest Education Centre has not been affected. Please pray for their continued protection, as locusts would cause serious damage to food sources for both the children and the cattle.
Recent photos show the progress on the first stage of the permanent school buildings. We look forward to seeing students beginning to use these facilities.
We are excited about the year ahead. Already opportunities are in the pipeline for greater support for Ark Quest Education Centre, and we believe that this will be a year of tremendous growth for all associated with the school. We are already seeing the first fruits of this with our student sponsorships. Thanks to generous sponsors, 6 student have been able to take up places at secondary schools. This is a record! Also, a number of Ark Quest primary students are now benefiting from sponsorship. What a blessing for the school and these families!
Steady progress has been made on the building of the first 3 permanent classrooms. The roof of the first floor will be completed very soon.
Teachers and students have recently returned to school after the summer break, and the year has begun well.
We hope that you have had a refreshing summer break. We thank you for your continued support and hope that 2020 will indeed be a year of plenty for you too!