photo: A typical daily lesson written on the board in the older classroom.
Last week I got the opportunity to help Glory in the kitchen and talked to the director of Afroplan, Frank. He told me all about how he started his school and why and it is a truly remarkable story. He is a great guy and I wanted to share his story with you all. I absolutely love being able to help and provide materials and things for the children, especially now that I understand the reasoning and background of the place I am at. Here is his story....
Frank was a sponsor child when he was younger. He came from a broken family and was very very poor growing up. He was lucky enough to have a white (mzungu) woman from the US, North Carolina to be exact, to sponsor him. When you sponsor a child here, you sign up to pay for their schooling for the 7 years it takes to finish school. The public schools here are horrible, actually the worst of the worst. Sponsoring a child gives them a chance at an education by paying for them to attend a private school. It is about $600-$800 a year depending upon the school you decide to send the child to. Frank has built an incredible relationship with his sponsor over the years and was even blessed to have her go above and beyond for him in paying for him to attend university. It's a rare thing, but occasionally sponsors will pay for that.
Since Frank was blessed and given a chance at a life, he has devoted his life to giving back to others and giving them the same chance he got. He is now a part time university teacher of computers and spends the rest of his time at Afroplan. He has envisioned an amazing school for the future, but unfortunately, it's highly unlikely that dream will ever come true.
He started a school about two years ago while living with some friends. He had been living on the streets and was given a place to live. On this property he began to develop a school where children began to attend and learn. It became a very functioning school. His friends saw this school as a money making opportunity and tried to take it from Frank. It turned into a very large battle that became so gruesome Frank's life was in danger. He found out they wanted to kill him for his school, and decided to leave it to them and run out of his own safety and life. It wasn't worth dying over a school because if he was dead, he wouldn't be able to help others.
Frank's church was very understanding of the situation and wanted to help him. In September of 2012, they provided him with 2 classrooms on the church grounds and he began to rebuild and start a new school, now known as Afroplan. The school has really come together and as of Jan. 1 he has had to begin to pay rent for the classrooms. He has also enlisted a seamstress to help out with making all of the children uniforms. Uniforms are a regular thing here for schools and provide everyone with an outfit suitable to wear to school.
In the future, Frank would like to expand his school. To buy land is about 30 million shillings here and would take an extremely long time of saving up for Frank to even be able to do that. He wants to build a school one classroom at a time and start small and slowly add to it. He also wants to build a home for boys and girls who have no families to live with or take care of them to have a place to stay. They would have a house mama and have all their needs taken care of. Once he has completed this, he wants to build a center for parents, specifically single moms to go and learn a craft or trade to be able to provide and help their families. All together this dream of Frank's would cost about $50-$70 million shillings to create, which is around $30-$40 thousand dollars USD.
It's crazy to me how far the American dollar can go here and how much a difference it could really make in a persons life. While I do not have the ability to raise all of that money for Frank, I do want to try to find little ways to make a difference in the school now. Today we brought everyone ice cream which made for an absolutely amazing day. The children's faces were filled with smiles from ear to ear and their laughter was contagious. Overall, it was an amazing day and one I will always treasure! More to come
With love from Africa,