Write Around the World is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting quality education for the underprivileged children of the world, while offering a sense of community service in America’s youth.
Founder and President Michael Lewis had been a chiropractor in the metro-Seattle area for 15 years before leaving in the spring of 2009 on an around-the-world motorcycle journey. As he traveled, he visited many rural and impoverished areas. The relationships he established along his route are now the basis for Write Around the World’s school projects. Write Around the World is his way of combining his adventure with a socially conscious project that leaves a positive footprint in his rearview mirror.
Life Spring supporters Paul and Cathy Addis just returned from Kenya and compiled this video showing the feeding of the children of Life Spring Academy. You can clearly see what an undertaking this is and the expenses involved, but without the feeding program, most of these children would go without.
From Let’s Be Ready (WATW’s sponsored partner): Successfully Modeling Preschool Programs in Guatemala!
The words “successfully modeling” were added after our latest study showed that 87% of our 638 graduates over the past 5 years have been successful in the first grade, compared to the usual 70% (sometimes less than 50%) in the rural areas of Guatemala.
The young teachers of Let’s Be Ready have made it possible for over 600 kids to succeed in the first grade over the past 5 years! “Even though we ask teachers to recruit our students from those most at risk, that is from mostly rural areas with parents who have had little or no education. We try to do the job that their parents can’t do, and that is to prepare them for success in the classroom.”
Below is the data collected and reported by the teachers. The total numbers are as follows:
Total number of kids benefiting over last 4-years: 1201
Total number of kids entering the first grade the year after completing a LBR preschool: 733
Total number of kids succeeding in the first grade in the year following LBR preschool: 638, or 87%
(The discrepancy between the total kids benefitting and the reported kids with success in first grade comes from the fact that many of the children from any given year and location are not old enough to enter the first grade during the following year.)
This is, of course, great news from Guatemala. We are proud of our relationship and sponsorship of the preschool in the village of Pacamache. We wish we could do more as there are many villages waiting for a sponsor so that they can open their own school. The cost of sponsoring a half-day program is $1,500 and that entire amount goes towards the annual salary of the teacher. The village supplies the facility and much of the furnishings. If you would like to help please contact Mike@writearoundtheworld.org
To learn more about Let’s Be Ready’s outcome measure, click here.
Now that the new schoolhouse is occupied and the school year is in full swing, our mission is to properly outfit the classrooms. When we were first introduced to Life Spring Academy, just over 60-children were attending the school. Now, with the expanded space and high demand from the surrounding area, there are over 120-children now attending! Currently, the school only has a few wooden benches and some small blackboards to work with, leaving many children sitting on the floor and without adequate materials, such as pencil and paper or other learning aids.
The following is Write Around the World’s wish list for Life Spring Academy:
- To properly furnish the new schoolhouse we need $2200
- Monthly operating expense is now $1275/month. Below is a breakdown of expenses:
The monthly estimates for operating of the school (in US dollars):
1) Food costs $ 200.00
2) Teachers’ wages, five teachers @ $ 100.00 each
3) Electricity bill $40.00
4) Bus driver wage $ 50.00
5) Gas (Petrol) $ 200.00
6) Watchmen, two @ $ 50.00 each
7) Cooks, two @ $50.00 each
8) Water bill $ 25.00
10) Cleaner two at $ 30.00 each
Currently, locally raised funds go towards feeding the children. In order to feed them all, cheaper less-nutritious food is purchased in order to make sure everybody gets something. The teachers and staff are currently going unpaid. We would like to reverse this trend and outfit and maintain a success school. If you would like to help, please contact us.
If efforts to get the new schoolhouse furnished for the new school year, we have initiated a funding campaign with the online funding company Indiegogo. We would like this campaign to go viral and we only have the next 30-days, so we are asking all our supporters to spread the word!
I was sent the above photo of the community of Nangili celebrating the new Life Spring Academy three days before Christmas. Needless to say it has made my holiday season.
The good news is, of course, the school will be done in time for the January 3rd start of the new school session. The not-so-good news is that the school is empty. We have yet to payoff all the construction costs for the school, but we are close. Now, we are scrambling to find funding to furnish the school while also accommodating all the children that had been on the waiting list to attend.
Previously, there was a waiting list of children who could not fit into the old school building, but they will now be able to attend one of the new school’s three classrooms – with the result that the previous enrollment of 63 children will expand to an estimated 90.
Write Around the World’s estimates for furnishings and supplies are as follows:
- Locally made wooden desks and benches for 30 children per classroom will cost $300 per classroom, for a total of $900.
- A large blackboard will cost $60 per classroom, for a total of $180.
- Basic school supplies for one year and uniforms will cost $10 per student, for a total of $900.
- Educational props and toys (puzzles, blocks, and wall charts) will cost $40 for each classroom, for a total of $120.
- Rubber playmats for the concrete floors will cost $30 per classroom, for a total of $90.
Thus, the total estimated cost to furnish and supply the new school is $2190.
I have reached out to different foundations and grants asking for funding and recently contacted BMW of America for some assistance. Our fingers are crossed.
Local residents will be asked to build basic shelving and to assist in furnishing the teachers’ office. Supplies will be purchased locally, or trucked in from the closest major city.
All-in-all, these are good problems to have. We will find a way and 2013 will surely be a new beginning for many children in a small village in Kenya.