Friday, May 13, 2011


Throughout the April school holiday Hatua Likoni's scholarship students have been learning how to draw and paint. At the end of three weeks they have finished 4 murals, each 8ft by 5ft, and each based on a Swahili Proverb.

"Go East, Go West, Home is Best"

"Money if you use it decreases, but education, when you use it, increases"

"Those who work in the sun eat in the shade"

"A broken cooking spoon doesn't mean you stop cooking"

Monday, May 2, 2011


After two years as an empty room Likoni's Youth Empowerment Center Library is finally furnished!

The building was constructed with funding from Likoni's Constituency Development Fund (money allocated by the Kenyan Government and managed under the supervision of our local Member of Parliament) and complete in early 2009. Since then no government funding as been allocated to furnish the facility.

Hatua Likoni got tired of waiting, so in Sept 2010 we organized a committee of teachers and community members to plan fundraising activities for furniture. In early Feb. 2011 we hosted an Harambee (community fundraiser), and together with support from SDL Foundation, managed to raise 590,000 Kenya Shillings ($7,400).

With this amount and the expert work of our carpenter, Peter Ochola, we have build 5 wall shelving, 4 center pillar shelves, 9 reading tables, a librarians reception desk and computer tables for 9 desktops. We are remaining with money to buy computers which will then help earn income to pay the facilities expenses.

The day we placed chairs around the new tables students were already hard at work making use of them. However, we still don't have enough chairs. To donate a chair for $19 please visit

Hatua did not accomplish this alone. We thank the members of Likoni Library's steering committee, particularly its chairman, Mr. Ngombo. We thank Post Bank and Cooperative Bank for their generous contributions, we thank the Likoni schools that contributed 2,000 Ksh each and all the students that help to raise funds through student proformers. We thank SDL Foundation for their major contributions to furniture and computers, we thank American Friends of Kenya and The East Side Community High School in NYC for book donations, and we thank Desi and Juma for their hard work as Library Development Interns.

Still our work is not finished. Tomorrow we will begin interviewing volunteer librarians to help us catalog our books. If you or someone you know is qualified and interested in this position please contact us at


Last week our students finalized their compositions based on Swahili proverbs and painted four large murals, each 8 ft x 5 ft. When asked all said they loved the project and most stayed late everyday engrossed in the work. Some were big picture artists, while others took on the detail work. Together they created murals that showcase the beauty and diversity of the Likoni community.

On Saturday we concluded three weeks of art education and mural making by taking 31 students, our two art teachers, some of the Hatua staff and Brigid, our FSD Intern, on a field trip to Diani where we visited the Diani Beach Art Gallery, a gallery dedicated to fine African art. Learn more at Brigid organized the gallery tour together with Diani Beach Art Gallery's owners who generously hosted our group and exposed them to the breath of styles being created by East African artists. The students were given a private tour and walked away inspired. The gallery owners saw photos of the student's murals and were extremely impressed with their talent, they even offered to feature our students' art on the gallery's Facebook page.

After the galley visit we spent a few hours at the beach, eating a delicious pilau lunch and playing in the surf. For 19 out of the 31 students this was their first trip to Diani. Everyone had a wonderful time and it was the perfect ending to a rewarding student project. Now our goal is to find ways to leverage the murals to develop awareness and a new income stream for Hatua. Given the initial reaction and feedback this should not be difficult.