Open Hearts Celebrates its 10th Anniversary
10 years ago Open Hearts and Minds welcomed its first ten children to their new school.
Who would have imagined where we’d be today!
Let’s go back and take a moment to remember that scene at the start of 2010:
- Edward had left his teaching job near Nairobi to return home to Kokoth Kateng and start a
new job as a teacher in a nearby primary school.
- Sarah and Phil had just returned from Kenya after working there for 2 years and they were
deciding where to look for jobs and set up home.
- Open Hearts and Minds had only been founded 6 months earlier and fundraising was just
beginning with Sarah and Phil’s friends and family.
While we only had meagre funds, we certainly had a dream!
The three directors decided it was time to get started rather than leaving another year of education pass by the disadvantaged children of Kokoth Kateng. With the help of the chief of the village and other elders there, Edward identified 10 children who would make up our first class. He also found an empty church building in the village, and the owner graciously allowed us to set up a classroom with no rent. Desks and chairs were purchased, along with textbooks, pencils, exercise books.We built a two-door long drop toilet next to the old church and a makeshift kitchen. Finally, we hired our first teacher and a cook (Mama Sarah is still cooking for the children today!) and everything was ready for us to open our doors!
Fast forward 10 years:
- We have three classroom blocks, a purpose-built kitchen and storeroom, three toilet
blocks all on our own land in the centre of the village.
- We employ 10 teachers, 2 cooks and a night watchman full time.
- The best thing: over 130 children attend lessons from pre-unit to Grade 8 every day and they eat two hot meals at school.
- We now have 15 children who have graduated from Open Hearts and Minds School attending local secondary schools.
While we have grown enormously, we have remained true to our original mission: to provide the dream of a good education to the disadvantaged children of Kokoth Kateng, so they would not be left behind.
None of this would have been possible without the generous and committed support of our sponsors and donors, many of whom have been with us every step of the way.
Thank you – we appreciate you!
We look forward to the next 10 years and hope they are just as exciting, daunting and humbling
as our first 10. New challenges emerge every year and sadly, more and more deserving, but impoverished, children come forward in Kokoth Kateng who need our support.
The lesson that we have learned is: don’t be afraid to dream, hold fast to our ideals and trust that good people will continue to support our mission.
Join us in our mission. Donate today!