Field Day Fun

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Celebration!

 

In November of last year, Flying Kites made the vital decision to scale its class sizes down to ten children per teacher for the sake of quality education for both student and provider. In doing so, we partnered with an area private school called Mwangaza Primary that was seeking to intake students also at a scaled level of high quality.

 

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Alex watches the competition with fierce interest

 

This past Saturday, for the first time since November, the two schools united in a memorable field day celebration. All week the two schools practiced in preparation, to compete in sack racing, handball, soccer, and tug of war from morning until evening with the teachers acting as coaches. Each of the kids had a chance to participate in sports and the day created an opportunity for bonding time between the kids at Flying Kites Leadership Academy and other kids in the community. We were proud to see great sportsmanship from both schools and look forward to hosting many more days with Mwangaza.

Strategic Planning: Oasis

Flying Kites believes it is of the utmost importance to recognize the larger structural inequalities that breed the desperate circumstances in which so many children’s homes exist. The Oasis Program connects orphanages and caregivers in Nairobi, Kenya with the tools, resources and education necessary to improve childcare, achieve financial independence and gain long-term sustainability. 

We know, we know- strategy meetings make for the MOST exciting pictures.

On Thursday, October 4, 2012, the Oasis leadership team met with industry consultants in order to craft a new strategic plan.  After an ambitious start two years ago, under the direction of Hannah Wesley and Frannie Noble, Oasis organized this meeting as follow up to a conference held in July attended by many in the Kenyan children’s care community.

The leadership team and consultants who met last Thursday used feedback from the July conference to plan a streamlined strategy for the future with Martha Maina, a Kenyan well-versed in the local children’s nonprofit world, as manager of Oasis. Though Frannie and Hannah left huge shoes to fill, Martha began her tenure with gusto by spearheading this powerful meeting to evaluate and retool the program goals. All participants were delighted with the more refined vision that emerged from the strategy meeting.

Oasis is small program with the potential for huge impact.  It seeks to enable other children’s homes to raise the standard of their care by creating a power network for partnerships, professional trainings, resource-sharing, collaboration, advocacy, communication, and legal & financial assistance.

Most children’s homes are focused on their everyday operations because they are understaffed and underfunded, relegating long term planning and strategy to a luxury. These schools, centers, and homes have compassionate staff that are dedicated, but undereducated and overworked.  Oasis will work with interested organizations to create long-term planning, more transparent and better organized finances, and trainings for their staff to better care for the children in their institutions.

After the meeting last Thursday,  Oasis has decided to focus initially on 5 children’s homes, including Flying Kites Leadership Centre in Njabini, with the hope of continuing to scale up as we set in place the new structures and mechanisms for this new model and as funding grows.

The Flying Kites team is excited to see the effects of this plan and more confident than ever in the impact Oasis will have on it’s member institutions.

-Amy Travis, Country Director

There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.

– Buddha

Jabah leads a brainstorm session

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Partnership, Humility, Action: Forging change

Mark Arnoldy of Nyaya Health and Paul Farmer of Partners in Health on stage at MCC 2012

This past weekend, we had the great pleasure of attending the 2012 Millennium Campus Conference at Northeastern University, where we joined 1,200 other attendees including student leaders, development professionals, innovative social benefit organizations, and some of the world’s leading economists, to discuss progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, and how to more efficiently work towards their achievement.

With a superstar line up of keynote speakers including Dr Paul Farmer, founder of Partners in Health, Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute, Leymah Gbowee, 2011 Peace Prize Winner, Emilia Pires, Minister of Finance of Timor-Leste, and Steve Radelet, Chief Economist at USAID, there was no shortage of powerful minds and voices, urging the audience to listen closely to the populations they wish to serve, to act boldly, and act in concert with one another.

Over the course of the two day conference, more powerful speeches were given and discussions had then we could ever hope to summarize, but we would like to share a few pivotal moments with you:

  •  Akhtar Bradesh, Senior Director of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Microsoft urged the students and young leaders in attendance to:

1.) BE UNREASONABLE

2.)BE A LEARNER- “Listen when people say you don’t know anything.”

3.) FAIL – “You will fail- it is the only way to know success.”

4.)BE COMPASSIONATE, not just passionate.

“Compassion takes your personal work, drive, motivation and turns it into societal benefits.”

  • Dr. Paul Farmer insisted that you cannot plan ahead for every set back or defeat. He identified perseverance, humility and partnership as the key ingredients that will carry you through even the worst of disasters.
  • Steve Radelet of USAID stood in front of the packed auditorium, and boomed out, “Some people say development is failing. I am here to say they are wrong. Never before has there been so much progress… Fighting poverty is happening.”

We walked away from the 2012 MCC fired up  and excited to forge further partnerships as we strive towards better care, better education, and more widely accessible opportunity at the Flying Kites home, school, and surrounding community.

-Julianna Morrall Director, Ambassador Program

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