News & Events

August 2012 – Farmer’s Market Update

School Sponsorship Program

This past year has been a huge success! In 2011, we experienced significant improvement in school performance from all our children. We are so happy to report that at the beginning of the school year (2012), all but one of our 40 children started new classes/grades. This is a huge improvement compared to our initial phase of sponsoring children to go to school; about 33% of the children had to repeat classes in our first 2 years. However, since our Community Centre opened three years ago, we have experienced unheard of improvement from our children.

Recently, at the end of term one, we also saw great performances from the majority of the children, though a few of them were not at par with their previous year’s performance. We thought their slight decline was due to the fact that they joined new classes and had not fully familiarized themselves with new topics.

We also had 5 children who sat for secondary school entry exams. Farmer’s Market was proud of that four out of the five students joined secondary school; their scores were good enough to secure seats in secondary schools. In Kenya, secondary school attendance is not guaranteed; it is based on the scores of the children’s national entry exams, much like university in Canada. Despite their day to day hardships, they made us all proud.

In May and June 2012, we recruited seven more children from four needy families, but we also lost 3 children to other programs who were able to offer boarding school sponsorship. We now have 43 children enrolled in primary and secondary schools throughout Kenya, as well as our first participant in our experimental Skills/Trades Training Program.

Skills/Trades Training Program

One of our older children is named Crispin, and in part due to troubles at home, traditional school is no longer an option. He is older than other children in his grade, as he has had to repeat classes previously. After talking with him, we felt he was best suited to be our inaugural candidate in our Skills/Trades Training Program.

Crispin has started an apprenticeship at a local mechanics shop. He is learning all aspects of automobile repair. The apprenticeship will last 3 years, at which point Crispin will be able to earn a living for himself and his family, while performing a trade he enjoys.

We’re very excited about his progress, and watching with keen interest how this new Program within Farmer’s Market will fare!

Community Centre

In the last year, we have operated the community centre six days a week, serving more than 7000 meals! We also offered extra tuition and extra coaching to the children. The biggest reason for the increase in performance by our children is due to the fact that we have the community centre; since we opened the doors three years ago, we have enjoyed unheard of improvement. Their behavior has also improved drastically, thanks in large part to group and individual guidance and counseling sessions.

Birthday Celebrations

Since the Community Centre opened, we have celebrated birthdays every month. Birthday celebrations in Kenya are unheard of for the children who live in the slums. Family considers such celebration a waste of resources that can be used to cater for other important family needs. However, we feel every child needs and deserves to feel special and by celebrating their birthdays, we instill a sense of worth in their psyches.

Junior Farmers

The children of Farmer’s Market are participating in a small scale farming project at the Community Centre. We have divided everyone into 4 farming groups, each with their own plot of land and budget for growing flowers and vegetables. Each group works together to decide which plants they will purchase at the local market, where they will place each one in the garden and how they will take care of them.

Not only is this a great lesson in teamwork and budgeting, but also the Community Centre will use these fresh vegetables for our lunch program!

Goat Bank Project

In the last year, the Goat Bank Project herd has increased in size, though some of the herd died from diseases. We currently have a herd of approximately twenty goats, with discussions ongoing amongst the group as to what the future plans are. The options put forth have been to sell a portion of the herd to raise money to start a small business for the women, or to continue growing the herd since each year brings exponential growth.

Farmer’s Market Summary

In summary, Farmer’s Market continues to enjoy incredible success. The programs set forth have shown tremendous progress and our children continue to amaze us. Their futures look bright, and their families continue to express their gratitude to everyone who contributes to Farmer’s Market in any capacity.

In order for Farmer’s Market to continue operating, we need to constantly have funds coming in. If you can help in any way, please do. We have a monthly donation option that is debited directly from a credit card, as well as one time donation options. We are able to give tax receipts for donations, both personal and business.

Thank you very much,

Linda Masila & Michael Morris Co-Founders, Farmer’s Market