I’m just heading off to the airport to go to Maker Faire Bay Area in San Mateo, CA – if you’re coming, we’ll be giving talks, doing Q&A sessions and generally making ourselves available to chat to you. Please come and say hello.
I had mail from Matt at Challenge Africa, a UK charity (Reg: 1130522) which is raising money for two schools in Africa, one in Kenya and one in Tanzania. They’re raffling off a Raspberry Pi as part of their fundraising effort, so if you haven’t been lucky enough to get your hands on one yet, it’s worth entering for the chance to win and the opportunity to help a very good cause. Either Eben or I will be drawing the winning ticket (we’re having a bit of a fight about who gets to do it) – I’ll see what I can do about getting the winner’s Raspberry Pi signed, too, and adding some other Raspberry Pi goodies to the winner’s bundle.
The money raised from the raffle will go towards:
St Lazarus School, Kibera Slums, Kenya:
This tiny school accepts 130 children who would not be accepted at any other facility due to their families’ inability to fund even the most basic requirements for standard school entry: uniform and text books.
Challenge Africa aims to:
1. Fund and refurbish (particularly the roof) of several mud classrooms.
2. Launch another year’s lunch programme for 130 primary school children. Huge leaps have been made in the basic health of the children as a direct result of previous Challenge group funding.
3. Subject to funds: Fund an entire year’s running costs (teacher salaries, maintenance, food programme, books and materials) to give the school time to find additional and more reliable funding partners. The school is in danger of financial and physical collapse in every respect having had all other sources of funding fade away under the current economic climate. Teachers are currently not being paid and food is intermittent. For most of the children, this was their only meal of the day.
Makat Village Community (Maasai), Lake Natron, Longido District, Tanzania
A community surviving in one of the most remote areas of the Great Rift Valley, it is surrounded by water which is unsafe to drink (fluoride levels 14% higher than the maximum levels recommended for safety by the WHO).
Makat is at least a day’s off-road drive from anywhere, the entire community has access to only one dilapidated Land Rover (when it works) which belongs to the Headmaster.
The local population suffer appalling and preventable bone deformities and teeth erosion due to the natural fluoride levels, as well as a range of other preventable diseases and ailments due to malnutrition and the lack of education, medical care and supplies and emergency transportation. The area and community find it almost impossible to retain teachers and medical staff due to the isolation and lack of food and clean water.
Challenge Africa aims to:
1. Assist with immediate basic health and nutritional improvements via:
• The funding and construction of a rainwater conservation system (guttering and 2-4 large cement tanks) attached to the current Makat community school building to provide safe drinking and cooking water for the children and pregnant women of the community.
• The funding and construction of an additional three-room Government Standard classroom building (2 classes + 1 Food Storage Room).
2. The additional classroom structure will also provide more roof surface area for additional guttering and additional water tanks
3. The Food Storage will ensure World Food Programme continues to provide basic maize on a quarterly basis. This is currently irregular and in imminent danger of withdrawal due to lack of appropriate food storage facilities.
4. Fund and take part in Brucellosis testing on the Makat Community’s cattle to provide essential medical data. Brucellosis is often misdiagnosed as malaria.
5. Fund and take part in STD drama workshops with the community under supervision of Dr Penny Aberhardt and the District Medical Officer.
6. Subject to funds: aim to install 1 x solar panel at the Merogoi Outreach Clinic (1 day’s walk) to incentivise Doctors to stay at the Outpost (reducing isolation) so that there is some basic medical facility ‘locally’. For similar reasons, we would like to install one panel at the Teacher’s Accommodation Unit at the Makat School.