Kieran Roberts, a teacher at West Didsbury CE, shares some of the work of the No Barriers Foundation in two continents.
Two words that describe 2019 for The No Barriers Foundation are growth and impact. It’s not easy starting a charity from scratch but it’s been made possible by the support of the West Didsbury CE family as well as the kindness of strangers. This year has seen new additions to our committee, new projects in countries new to us and new insights in to how far a small amount of money can go.
At the start of the year we set out to raise enough money to build classrooms and clean water facilities at schools in Kenya and Uganda. Through sharing our goals far and wide on social media, in the space of a month we managed to attract enough donations online to build three classrooms and two rain water filtration tanks. One of our fantastic committee members, Jacob Hughes-Pickering, led a team of four volunteers and in February they helped the local community extend their existing school. For our small charity, this resulted in what felt like a surge of support as those people who donated in January saw immediately what their donations had achieved.
We then turned our attention to Sisei primary school in Ndanai, Kenya, where we’re about to see the same thing. Currently at Sisei, the school buildings are in such a state that if it rains, the children don’t go to school. Given the level of rainfall in Kenya that means a huge amount of learning being lost and an even greater amount of potential going to waste. By replacing the existing classrooms, we’ll be able to ensure that children in Ndanai can learn all year round come rain or shine.
The No Barriers Foundation has always been focused on education, but during the summer it was impossible to ignore the fires which devastated the Amazon rainforest. If forests continue to burn, we’ll stand no chance in managing climate change. We got in touch with local communities where we’ve previously built classrooms and quickly realised there was something practical we could do to help. By partnering with local forest trusts, we can ensure that one tree will be planted for every £1 donated to our reforestation project. 2000 trees will be planted in the Kijabe Forest in Kenya thanks to our supporters and in the new year we’re on track to plant the same number of trees in Bolivia, restoring part of the Amazon rainforest.
Through successes and failures, what keeps us going is seeing the impact this work is having. The week after the classrooms were built in Uganda, 63 children started school for the first time ever and this number is steadily growing. When work finishes at Sisei, hundreds of children will have a permanent place to learn and develop. This work is changing lives in a substantial, positive way and all of it has been made possible by people donating their time and money.
And we have even bigger goals for 2020!