text by Irina Fomichev / image via HumCo
For their yearly charity project HumCo is teaming up with Enactus to collect funds for the Redhill Baraka school. “When Tashi approached me with the idea of HumCo raising money for Enactus UCU I was very excited,” says HumCo Chair Renee Vollenberg. She likes that it is now a campus project and that Enactus UCU is much more transparent than bigger charities. Moreover, there is more collaboration on campus, a benefit for the community inside the bubble.
Similar enthusiasm is found in Enactus as Tashi Maseland, secretary of Enactus UCU, expressed how pleased she was that HumCo will be supporting their cause. For her the Redhill Baraka School (RBS) project is close to home. Maseland heard of RBS through an old colleague and friend of her mother’s, Lazarus Tsuma, who has been working hard to get the school back on its feet.
The School, located in Nairobi, Kenya, started out as a centre that offered education solely for orphaned children, regardless of race, colour, religion and gender. It used to be sponsored by several organizations but has run into trouble as funding was withdrawn seven years ago because of serious corruption within the school. The director, responsible for said corruption left, after having it plunged into debts and leaving the building in ruins. Some children were forced to find shelter in the bathrooms of the school.
Thankfully, one of the teachers approached Tsuma to bring the school back. He was given one semester to save the school and came to the conclusion that the school did not need money to recover but input from the community as “self-reliance is the key!!!!”
Tsuma and other volunteers have already put in a lot of work to try to keep the school afloat. They repainted it to make it look more attractive so that wealthier children would come and pay school fees which would in turn fund scholarships for the orphans.
Vice Chair, Maurits de Munck, said that the school has started a farm with rabbits, goats, ducks, chickens and banana trees in order to become self-sufficient. The issue is that the school does not own the land it is situated on. The landlord doubled the rent an expense the school cannot afford. Additionally, they took out a loan to buy a bus, which led to over twenty students paying. Unfortunately, however, the expenditure has left the school in danger of shutting down.
As an effort to climb out of the financial troubles, the school has recently set up a very basic fish farm. If successful, the profits could provide enough to cover the costs of the school and to give the staff decent salaries. The downside is that the school needs professional equipment for the fish farm to become a success. Jambo Fish Limited, an aquaculture company in Nairobi, is willing to provide most of the equipment and offer trainings in how to successfully farm fish. However, the school needs money to invest.
This is where Enactus comes in to help. Enactus’ main goal is to raise money for the school to invest in a professional fish farm. The project only started up recently so the project team still has to refine the business plan and the cost breakdown. So far it has only estimated the approximate need of the School.
Instead of tilapia fish, which they were farming before, they will now farm catfish, a more lucrative endeavour. The demand for catfish is growing in Kenya, as it is relatively new in its farming industry.
So far Enactus has received €1000 in donations adding to the €317,49 HumCo has already raised with the bake sale.
HumCo will also organize their well-known slave auction and a bottle pick up. After the fall break they will introduce a new event, Movember, as an attempt to involve more guys because, as Renee put it, “HumCo is more of a girl committee and this way we can involve guys as well. The idea is that guys find sponsors for them to grow a beard and/or a moustache.”
Since this year’s charity is so transparent, HumCo is planning on releasing biweekly updates so that students “know where every cent is going.”