The Word Forest Organisation has had links with the Gracious Children’s Centre and School for a number of years now. Headteacher and founder of the school, Michael Jefwa, provides an education for children that ordinarily would not be able to afford to go to school. He also acted as educator for the Mothers Of The Forest Academy, providing lessons in reading, writing and arithmetic and enabling the members of the Mothers Of The Forest women’s empowerment group to take and pass their first exams. (See Part 1 and Part 2 and Results for more details)
In 2019 the Gracious Children’s Centre and School became the first to link with a Montessori school in Somerset through our twinning programme.
We have also been able to assist them in expanding the size of one of their classrooms when it became apparent that it did not comply with government regulations. In return, trees were planted around the compound (see the picture at the top of the article). Not only will these provide shade in a short number of years, but they will improve biodiversity and add an extra element for the childrens’ education.
Recently, Michael has encountered a problem with local cattle and goats invading the area and eating the leaves off the saplings. We were pleased to be able to assist and provide funding for some sturdy fencing to keep the marauders out!
Planting the trees is only the start – nurturing them as they grow so that they can fulfil their potential is vital and this is why supporting communities that are looking after the trees is so important.
The fencing is now in situ and doing its job. The staff and children are delighted – the cattle and goats not so much as now they’ll have to look elsewhere for their breakfast!