This year we worked on keeping up and maintaining the Mlangarini Primary School as we always do, but this year we could not make a site visit. Our funding provided for upkeep of the playground and swings, the classrooms and the latrines.
It continues to be our goal to improve the conditions of the facilities by maintaining a nearby water source next to the outhouses by the end of next year.
From back home in Los Angeles, we were able to get a 40 foot container to send a shipment of classroom supplies, first aid, clothing and shoes. The container will leave in November of this year. We received a donation of over 1400 J.Crew brand new cotton shirts, allowing everyone to start the school year with something brand new to wear!
Please help us make our vision for future projects possible and donate today! We are planning for our June 2018 trip to re-connect in person, and distribute the contents of the container to the village of Mlangarini.
We made some giant leaps in 2015. We are most proud of the installment of four swing sets and five tetherball sets. We were able to see the children running, laughing and taking turns on the swings; for most of them it was their first time on a swing! While watching the children play the principle assured us that the new playground would increase school attendance.
School uniforms and shoes were provided to 100 children of whom the teachers deemed of greatest need. The Mlangarini project also purchased 1,200 school textbooks, stationaries, chalk, 45 desks, and first aid supply.
In terms of facility improvement, we installed 24 total skylights (2 in each classroom) to increase visibility. The outside of all the classrooms and hall ways were repainted, as well as the interior of 3 classrooms. 13 truckloads of gravel were laid down in the courtyard of the school in order to minimize the mud during the rainy season, allowing the classrooms can stay clean. Additionally, glass was placed into all the window frames of the classrooms.
We are also continuing the hire of an English teacher, who assists the teachers at the Primary School with their English language courses. English as a second language is a vital part of the school's curriculum, and this additional specialized support facilitates a greater improvement. English Language classes are held 5 times a week for 2 hours a day and these are open for all members of the village to attend.
On our visit in April 2014, the Mlangarini Project installed 2 solar panels that power light bulbs in every classroom as well as the teacher’s on-site housing. Additionally, we provided the means to build a concrete corridor and overhang around all the classrooms as rain protection. This type of shelter from the rain helps reduce the amount of mud dragged into the classrooms. 12 new metal doors and metal window frames were built, painted, and installed so that the rooms can stay sealed, temperature-controlled and also be locked after school hours.
We provided 100 tailored school uniforms for the children the teachers deemed of greatest need, 1,200 school textbooks, stationary, and 30 new desks. We also provided 5 kindles that can be checked out by teachers to read and improve on their English reading skills. In additional efforts to improve the education received at Mlangarini Primary School, we hired an English teacher to tutor the teachers of the school; the tutors assist with vocabulary, spelling and other needs during the English courses. Once the children go on to secondary school, all their classes will be taught in English so it is fundamental that they understand the language. We hope that by providing support to the Primary School teachers during the English courses, we can in turn improve the English skills of all students.
This trip we focused on upgrading some of the facilities that keep the attendance and health of the school children up. Some essentials are often taken for granted- such as the latrines, or toilets. The health and hygiene of the school children, as well as their teachers who live on-site, is fundamental to the success of the school. We laid down the foundation of the washrooms, constructing brand new latrines with privacy. Simple things such as doors on the latrine are essential to keeping students healthy and in attendance. When girls reach puberty, the separation between boys and girls in the latrines is fundamental, otherwise girls will be kept at home.
Also, seeing how the children loved to run and play outside, we installed more swings in the playground, doubling the capacity of children playing together.
We made some visits with local carpenters who would be employed to replace the unusable tables in the school. Additionally, we made sure every student at the school and teacher picked out a piece of brand new clothing for the upcoming school year.
On our first visit in April of 2012 we connected with the principal and the teachers of the primary school in Mlangarini, who informed us of the school's needs. They stressed the need for textbooks, cement for unfinished classrooms, school supplies, and first aid supplies. Knowing this, we purchased 420 educational school books, 5 bags of Simba cement to the secure windows in the classrooms, 4 soccer balls, 3 cases of blackboard chalk, 2 school room clocks, 2 calculators, 3 chickens, 2 goats, and a first aid supply kit.
Upon our second visit, we had raised significantly more funds than before ($15K) and were thus able to do much more. We purchased 800 textbooks, 80 school uniforms for children who were unable to buy their own, a large supply of blackboard paint for every classroom, and school supplies (pens, pencils, papers, calculators, etc.). We also brought 3 large suitcases full of clothing, which we shared with the village, and plenty of first aid supplies for everyone.