Mothers of the Forest Take Their First Exams

Recently, we brought you up to speed with our ongoing education programme for our women’s empowerment group, the Mothers of the Forest. If you missed the updates, click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2.

Yesterday, marked the first of two monthly meetings for this active group of women tree planters from the Boré district.

Testing Times

It’s fair to say, it was a very unusual day, as the 40 strong group of Mothers sat reading, writing and arithmetic exams.

Since February 2019, the Mothers have been attending their meetings at the Boré Community Forest Centre. They share best practice for looking after the forests, they’ve also been arriving early spending an hour studying Kiswahili and an hour learning maths.

25 of the Mothers never had the opportunity to go to primary school at all, for a variety of reasons. As a consequence, they truly believed the opportunity to learn, had passed them by.

Michael Jefwa (red tee-shirt), local Headmaster of a nearby primary school, has been guiding them a learning pace they can sustain. Yesterday, the whole group sat their first proper examinations.

Mothers of the Forest on exam dayWe’re awaiting news from Michael and group facilitator, Eva, of how the Mothers felt before and after the tests. We were lucky enough to be sent a few photographs taken while they were deep in thought.

Time’s Up

Once they were given those familiar instructions: ‘put your pens and pencils down’ everything was packed away for marking. Tracey and Simon in our UK office took a very short video call from Eva. It had all the Mothers in the background, whooping and cheering with excitement at their achievement of getting through the tests; an experience they never thought they’d have.

It was a short, patchy video call, so sadly there’s nothing we can share with you. Suffice it to say, there were smiles, waves, thanks and tears exchanged at both ends. How proud the whole Word Forest Team are of the Mothers, for tackling learning in their mature years. How grateful we are to Eva and Michael for guiding them with positive encouragement and supportive words.

Top of the Class

The biggest word of thanks, however, is reserved for you, our supporters and donors!

Your kind financial assistance has formed the foundations for their life-changing learning.

school books from the Mothers of the ForestWith their new found knowledge, the Mothers are able to sell things at market because they can count. They’re able to write signs for what they’re selling too, making their stalls look more appealing to buyers.

What a Difference

You may not realise it, but when you give us a donation, you’re not only planting trees to heal our planet, you’re helping to alleviate poverty in a wide variety of ways.

Without your wonderful donations, none of this would be possible. You’re thanked from the bottom of our hearts.

It costs approximately £5 per Mother, per meeting, for 2 hours of lessons with Michael. It also provides them with a nutritious lunch and clean, fresh water to drink. Additionally, they receive a small wage as they take delivery of a few new saplings they plant on their shambas (their homesteads). Finally, it pays for more seeds to be grown on and turned into saplings at one of the nurseries: I bet you never realised a fiver could do that much good!

If you’d like to help support the Mothers and you’re not already a member of Word Forest, click here to join, or click here to make a one-off donation.

Asante sana, is Kiswahili for thank you – and we do!

The (very chuffed for the Mothers) Team