Tag Archives: Solar Homework Club

Secondary school student in Kakuma

Girls succeeding through books and lamps in Kakuma

Our Solar Homework Club project in Kenya’s Kakuma Refugee Camp recently won the Educational Initiatives category of London Book Fair’s International Excellence Awards.

London Book Fair award

Getting a good education in Kakuma is hard. Schools are oversubscribed and vastly under-resourced. Teachers are largely students’ only source of information. In addition, without electricity at home, pupils’ time to read, revise and complete homework ends when it gets dark.

The Solar Homework Club project aims to remove some of these barriers to reading and learning by providing solar lamps and new curriculum support books and novels for secondary school students to borrow and use to support their studies after school.

The project is making a particular difference for girls in the camp. Here, female students and staff from Morneau Shepell Secondary School for Girls, Vision Secondary School and Somali Bantu Secondary School tell us more:

 

Kakuma friends
Three friends from Morneau Shepell Secondary School for Girls with big ambitions for the future

 

What are the challenges you face living in Kakuma Refugee Camp?

Yvonne, school librarian: We are not allowed to move outside the refugee camp – you have to seek permission and you should have a very good reason to go. You cannot just say ‘I want to see a new place’ – it is not acceptable since we are refugees. So we are confined in the camp.

Fortune, student: That is why education is important – it can give us the opportunity to leave the camp.

… few families are like our families … They keep their daughters at home to cook and fetch water.

Amia, student: My parents are happy that I am in school. But few families are like our families. They do not know the importance of education. They keep their daughters at home to cook and fetch water.

Martha, student: Many other girls don’t live with parents. They are the mother and father of their siblings. They cook for their brothers and sisters. Many times, they have to do assignments in the morning when they come to school.

Yvonne: We also face security issues like assault. You can’t walk around in the camp. The camp has small roads and lots of bushes where people can hide. So if you are a girl walking around at night, you can be raped.

Kakuma school library
Choosing books from Kakuma Secondary School’s library

Why do you think it is important to have books to support your studies?

Amia: Before the teacher comes to class you have to go through the book and look at the topic. When the teacher comes, you understand more. But if there are no books you cannot get the first-hand information that you want. It can lower your grade.

Yvonne: From my childhood I have seen people succeeding through education – and you get education through books.

Reading science books in the library
Referring to science books at Morneau Shepell Secondary School for Girls in Kakuma

How are the new books helping?

Aisha, student: The books are good for revision as they have clear pictures, e.g. biology and chemistry books.

Nyamal, student: The books have helped. I like reading the books with pictures as it helps me understand better.

Irene, school principal: Before, we never had a single novel in the school. Now, students read a lot during ‘quiet time’ time every day.

The books are good for revision as they have clear pictures.

Flyann, student: The English books help us build vocabulary … I find them very good. I want to be a student of literature.

Amia: The storybooks also have words of encouragement because most of the books talk about students who faced challenges and were successful in the end. They give us motivation!

And how are the solar lamps helping?

Student: The lamps have enabled us to expand prep time at night as well as do early morning reading. The lights also help us to have group discussion in the dormitories after preps.

Kadurenge, school principal: The solar lamps have helped reduce time walking to school and back at night for preps, giving them more time to read at home. Girls are especially grateful to be able to do homework at home every night. There is improvement in performance.

The lamps have enabled us to expand prep time at night as well as do early morning reading.

Zaki male student: Girls with lights read and perform well.

Amia: We have maximum time for revisions and so I get good grades. My parents are very happy about it and know that I will become successful.

Working hard in class at Vision Secondary School

What are your hopes for the future?

Nyaneng, student: I come to school to fulfil my dream of becoming an engineer in order to support my country.

Anisa, student: I want to change my life to a new one through education. I want to become a teacher to teach the  next generation.

Yvonne: I have read about women who have succeeded. I believe I can succeed too.

I have read about women who have succeeded. I believe I can succeed too.

Many thanks to Intouch Global Foundation for their generous support of our Solar Homework Club project.

Kakuma school

Refugee project WINS London Book Fair award!

We are thrilled to announce that our Solar Homework Club project in Kenya’s Kakuma Refugee Camp has WON the Educational Initiatives category of London Book Fair‘s International Excellence Awards!

It’s a great honour to receive this recognition for our Solar Homework Club project, which seeks to support secondary education in Kakuma by supplying brand new books and solar lamps so students can continue studying after dark.

Our vision is of a world where everyone has access to the books that will enrich, improve and change their lives and nowhere is this more important than in places like Kakuma, where education support is so desperately needed.

We would like to extend a very big thank you to the publishers who donate the books we send – it is thanks to them that we can undertake ambitious projects like this one, which aims to remove some of the particular barriers to reading faced by people in refugee settings.

Many thanks also to the Intouch Global Foundation for their funding and partnership on our solar projects.

The International Excellence Awards celebrate the wealth of success and innovation in the world’s publishing activity outside the UK. The category our project won – the Education Initiatives category – awards innovative and exciting new initiatives that increase education provision and effectiveness and provide wider access to learning.

Read on to find out more about our award-winning project!

Typical scenes in Kakuma Refugee Camp

Getting a good education in Kakuma Refugee Camp is incredibly hard.

Life in Kakuma is isolated and challenging. Residents are not allowed to leave the camp without special permission and are subject to curfews. In addition, homes do not have electricity and it is dangerous for females to go out after dark. For many, education is their only hope of leaving the camp and pursuing a better life.

Students share a book
Students share the few books available to revise and learn.

But getting a good education in Kakuma is hard. Schools are oversubscribed and vastly under-resourced. There just two one-room community libraries for the entire 149,000 population and prior to our intervention only a few schools had a library resource. These libraries contain only a few textbooks and curriculum books and in most schools, teachers are largely students’ only source of information.

Without electricity at home, pupils’ time to revise, and complete homework or assignments is curtailed when it gets dark.

Solar Homework Clubs are improving educational attainment at secondary schools in Kenyas Kakuma Refugee Camp through the provision of books and solar lamps.

Solar Homework Clubs have created Solar Libraries filled with new publisher-donated revision guides, supplementary textbooks and fiction and solar lamps in each of the camp’s six secondary schools. In addition, teachers have been trained in using the books to improve students’ study skills, exam preparation techniques and how to run a lending library.

 

By borrowing lamps and books, students are able to continue their studies at home after dark and maximize learning through the up-to-date resources. Already teachers report that students are better able to complete their assignments on time.

The books and lamps are also improving the quality of education as teachers are also using them, giving them more resources and extended hours to prepare lessons. Previously, they were trying to do this during busy teaching days.

Solar Homework Clubs invest in the most vulnerable

Studying outside of school hours is hard especially for girls and child-headed households (young people who looking after siblings without parents) as they often have to use available daylight in the morning and after school for chores such as cooking, collecting firewood and fetching water. Access to lamps is especially valuable for these children who in spite of their circumstances and busy schedules, are determined to succeed. They report that the lamps are enabling them to study at night once they have finished their chores and also in the mornings before dawn.

A young writer in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya
It is dangerous for girls to go out after dark so at night they must study at home at night.

Many of the teachers are themselves refugees and were not teachers in their home countries. These individuals are often professionals in other disciplines with a passion and drive to make a difference in spite of the challenges they face. They have taken part in short teacher training programmes but with little experience, it is hard for them to deliver the quality education that they and their schools aspire to.

Teacher training
Teachers learn how to run a lending library and use the books to prepare lessons.

The teacher training included in the Solar Homework Club programme gives teachers the chance to develop new skills. They learn how to manage a lending library, instill study skills in their students and teach revision techniques. Two teachers and the head teacher at each school takes part in training.

Teachers report that these new skills have improved their confidence in their abilities and the training is already having a positive impact on students, as one teacher comments:

In a very short time, I was able to work with them on how to study and they got motivated and went on to study and formed study groups. In about four weeks they were able to perform miraculously. It was unimaginable that I raised my students’ mean grade from 2.2 to 3.3.

After the success of the project in Kakuma Refugee Camp, we are now working with Intouch Global Foundation and other partners to bring lamps and books into other communities in sub-Saharan Africa.

London Book Fair

London Book Fair

Following the cancellation of London Book Fair, we are disappointed to miss the opportunity to catch up with many of our publisher supporters.

Our work continues and we would still love to meet to discuss your ongoing support. If you would like to arrange a meeting, please get in touch.

Award shortlisting

We are thrilled that our Solar Homework Club project in Kenya’s Kakuma Refugee Camp was shortlisted for the Educational Initiatives Category of London Book Fair’s International Excellence Awards!

We’d like to say a special thank you to Intouch Global Foundation for generously funding our Solar Homework Club project.

Find out more about the shortlisting and our Solar Homework Club project here.

Kakuma school

Refugee project shortlisted for London Book Fair award!

We are thrilled to announce that our Solar Homework Club project in Kenya’s Kakuma Refugee Camp has made the shortlist for the Educational Initiatives category of London Book Fair‘s International Excellence Awards!

The Educational Initiatives Awards celebrate the wealth of success and innovation in the world’s publishing activity outside the UK.

The category our project has been shortlisted for – the Education Initiatives category – awards innovative and exciting new initiatives that increase education provision and effectiveness and provide wider access to learning.

It’s a great honour to receive this recognition for our Solar Homework Club project, which seeks to support secondary education in Kakuma by supplying brand new books and solar lamps so students can continue studying after dark.

We would like to thank the publishers who generously donate the brand new secondary school books we send and Intouch Global Foundation for generously funding the project.

Read on to find out more about our shortlisted project.

Typical scenes in Kakuma Refugee Camp

Getting a good education in Kakuma Refugee Camp is incredibly hard.

Life in Kakuma is isolated and challenging. Residents are not allowed to leave the camp without special permission and are subject to curfews. In addition, homes do not have electricity and it is dangerous for females to go out after dark. For many, education is their only hope of leaving the camp and pursuing a better life.

Students share a book
Students share the few books available to revise and learn.

But getting a good education in Kakuma is hard. Schools are oversubscribed and vastly under-resourced. There just two one-room community libraries for the entire 149,000 population and prior to our intervention only a few schools had a library resource. These libraries contain only a few textbooks and curriculum books and in most schools, teachers are largely students’ only source of information.

Without electricity at home, pupils’ time to revise, and complete homework or assignments is curtailed when it gets dark.

Solar Homework Clubs are improving educational attainment at secondary schools in Kenyas Kakuma Refugee Camp through the provision of books and solar lamps.

Solar Homework Clubs have created Solar Libraries filled with new publisher-donated revision guides, supplementary textbooks and fiction and solar lamps in each of the camp’s six secondary schools. In addition, teachers have been trained in using the books to improve students’ study skills, exam preparation techniques and how to run a lending library.

 

By borrowing lamps and books, students are able to continue their studies at home after dark and maximize learning through the up-to-date resources. Already teachers report that students are better able to complete their assignments on time.

The books and lamps are also improving the quality of education as teachers are also using them, giving them more resources and extended hours to prepare lessons. Previously, they were trying to do this during busy teaching days.

Solar Homework Clubs invest in the most vulnerable

Studying outside of school hours is hard especially for girls and child-headed households (young people who looking after siblings without parents) as they often have to use available daylight in the morning and after school for chores such as cooking, collecting firewood and fetching water. Access to lamps is especially valuable for these children who in spite of their circumstances and busy schedules, are determined to succeed. They report that the lamps are enabling them to study at night once they have finished their chores and also in the mornings before dawn.

A young writer in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya
It is dangerous for girls to go out after dark so at night they must study at home at night.

Many of the teachers are themselves refugees and were not teachers in their home countries. These individuals are often professionals in other disciplines with a passion and drive to make a difference in spite of the challenges they face. They have taken part in short teacher training programmes but with little experience, it is hard for them to deliver the quality education that they and their schools aspire to.

Teacher training
Teachers learn how to run a lending library and use the books to prepare lessons.

The teacher training included in the Solar Homework Club programme gives teachers the chance to develop new skills. They learn how to manage a lending library, instill study skills in their students and teach revision techniques. Two teachers and the head teacher at each school takes part in training.

Teachers report that these new skills have improved their confidence in their abilities and the training is already having a positive impact on students, as one teacher comments:

In a very short time, I was able to work with them on how to study and they got motivated and went on to study and formed study groups. In about four weeks they were able to perform miraculously. It was unimaginable that I raised my students’ mean grade from 2.2 to 3.3.

After the success of the project in Kakuma Refugee Camp, we are now working with Intouch Global Foundation and other partners to bring lamps and books into other communities in sub-Saharan Africa.