Galana School Renovation Project

The Galana School complex is situated at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) Headquarters adjacent to Tsavo East National Park and the Galana Conservancy in Kenya. For many years, it had struggled to provide education for its pupils in four dilapidated, filthy, and dangerous classrooms. In an effort to provide facilities for the three infant classes and eight primary classes, the teachers resorted to teaching in mud and timber hovels that were open to the elements and hygienically unsafe for the children. In 2013 Friends From Ireland, in partnership with the Agricultural Development Corporation, The Galana Conservancy, Kulalu Camp and other interested agencies, renovated the four existing classrooms and built a further four. In 2014 a new Kindergarten was constructed to address the needs of the infant classes and in 2015 a new kitchen area, staffroom and library was added to the primary school.

A huge effort was made by local community members who volunteered to complete the building work. We had volunteers from Ireland, the UK, Canada and Kenya and many more from local business interests and Community groups in the area. The finished buildings and toilets were achieved through a collective determination to take the children from a state of desperation to conditions that they have deserved for so long. The transformation was breath taking as you can see from the before and after shots. Following the tremendous success of the 2013 to 2015 projects Friends From Ireland and the ADC continued their partnership and in 2018 four brand new classrooms for the new Galana Secondary School were completed.

The primary school, kindergarten, staff-room and library have been working really well since they were all completed in 2015. Volunteers who remember the old conditions will realise how wonderful this is. However, and thankfully, the number of children now attending school has led to some of the buildings and equipment needing a complete overhaul. We intend to do this in one large project in August 2019.

We are ever aware that raising funds to come on the projects is difficult, especially for those who work so hard to come every year. We are also acutely aware that we will have to replace the equipment which was lost in the unprecedented floods in Galana in 2018 before we continue with the Secondary School project. The cost of a re-furb to the primary school complex will not be as expensive material-wise as our construction projects. The bulk of the work will involve painting, fixing desks and equipment, removing parts of the classroom floors where they have worn away and replacing those areas, fixing the roofs, doors, windows and essentially bringing everything back to sanitary, sound and fit for purpose conditions.

Project Goals

  1. Complete all essential maintenance on the Primary School classrooms.
  2. Complete all essential maintenance on the Kindergarten classrooms.
  3. Repair the solar system
  4. Get the computer room equipped and working off the solar.
  5. Re-furbish the kitchen/cooking area.
  6. Repair/make school desks and equipment.

Project Accommodation

We will be supported once again by Kulalu Camp who have very kindly offered to suspend normal business to allow Friends From Ireland use it as Base Camp for the duration of the project. The staff of Kulalu are not only our hosts at camp they also work way outside their normal roles to keep the project moving. They are well experienced in project group management and have often been seen mixing cement and plastering walls during their time off.

Working Conditions

Volunteers will be working in very hot temperatures. The working day will begin at 06.00 and finish at 15.00. There will be work for all types of volunteers, of all skills and abilities, as what we hope to achieve is a really big ask and totally relies on people power. It will be a physically and mentally demanding project as we strive to achieve all of our objectives. You do not need previous project or building experience. The most important thing any volunteer needs is a sense of adventure and a willingness to join with the Galana Community to create a future for their kids. It is about volunteering, broadening your horizons and learning that everyone has something to offer and as part of a team can achieve great things. You might worry that you have no relevant skills to offer, do not… You will by the time you come back.

Wildlife

There is an abundance of magnificent wildlife surrounding the project site and the campsite. As always, volunteers will have to be aware that where there is wildlife there is an element of danger. Common sense and adherence to Site and Camp rules will ensure that all risks are kept to an absolute minimum.

Cost

The cost of the project to each participant is €2800.00. This will cover flights, insurance, all project accommodation, food, water, project transport and most importantly, the materials we need to reach our project goals. If volunteers wish to make their own flight arrangements to meet in Watamu, Kenya, the cost to them is €2100.00

Registration Details

A registration process precedes all Friends From Ireland projects where volunteers are required to complete a registration form and declaration. A non-refundable deposit of €300.00 is required to secure a place. In addition, copies of all insurance policies, safety statements, flight tickets, and project and camp advices will be forwarded to each volunteer prior to travel. Contact annmariespillane@friendsfromireland.ie for more information or to register your interest