Morgan County School District donates dozens of computers to KenyaSep 14, 2023 11:50AM ● By Verlene Johnson
Buildings that house the Muriudu School in Nakuru, Kenya. Courtesy photo
When Candice Noss, was preparing to go on a humanitarian mission with Youthlinc, she asked Kenya’s Infantry Coordinator, David Muiru, what is needed most and he said computers.
Noss wrote this request off as a high in the sky dream that would likely never come to pass. After receiving several hundred pounds of clothing donations from the community of Morgan and receiving money for them through Big Brother, Big Sister, Noss still wasn’t sure how they were going to purchase computers for the Muriudu School in Nakuru, Kenya.
When a client of Noss’ heard about her humanitarian trip, she said, “Candace, I love what you are doing. I can’t go on a trip, but I could donate some money.” After receiving a donation of $800, Noss went to work to see how many computers she could buy with that money. After a few inquiries she decided to call the Morgan School District where her own children attend school. Once she connected with the Morgan's Director of IT, Terry Allen, she said magic happened!
“Terry asked me how many Chromebooks I was hoping to get; I held my breath and asked for possibly eight or 10, thinking that was a HUGE ask,” recalls Noss.
He took a moment, then said, "What if I send you with 60?" In shock but thrilled with the generous donation of Chromebooks that had reached their capacity to update, Noss’ committee got to work.
Once the computers had been wiped of all students information, usernames and passwords needed to be created for each computer along with an email to link it to. While the Chromebooks are fully functional only with WIFI, the school in Kenya was not equipped with the technology. After plenty of brainstorming, team member, Sherry Greenwell, along with her husband and daughter Abby worked together with neighbors to not only get the usernames and passwords on each machine but they loaded each Chromebook with specific apps that would help the students in Kenya gain computer skills, even if the internet wasn't a possibility.
Because the of donations of Chromebooks from MCSD, the generous $800 donation could be used to buy outlet converters to allow the computer to be plugged into the British outlets once they were in Kenya.
With 49 Chromebooks ready, Noss headed to Kenya June 23 with plans to be there until July 9.
Upon arrival, Noss said another miracle had happened. “Muiru, informed me the Wi-fi would go live the very next day!” Noss exclaimed. “Somehow they had found a way to get WiFi to the school as part of the construction projects we were already doing there and it was already done and ready to use the very first day. Once the computer lab at the Muriudu School was set up, they were be able to teach computer lessons to students from first to ninth grade.
The school lab that was created is the only computer lab of its kind in Nakuru, Kenya. “The students were ecstatic!” exclaimed Noss. “They had never typed on a keyboard before. It was crazy how difficult it was for them to bend their fingers in order to type.” Because they do use touch screen phones, she said many of them were trying to get the computers to work by touching the screens. “They were so hungry to learn and soaked in every moment they had in the new computer lab.”
Because there were so many computers to work with, Noss’ committee decided to set up a community group of locals to learn how to use the computers. The computer experts from Youthlinc proceeded to teach two computer classes every day to the community in addition to the students.
The community group was made up of around 20 people who were out of high school, but who didn't have jobs. Organizing with a chairperson, treasurer and secretary, the group registered with the government and have set up their very own Cyber Cafe with the handful of the donated Chromebooks. Youthlinc was also able to purchase a printer for this group and they are now using these computers to create income.
With money left over from the donations, 12 kitchen gardens were financed that would help families grow their own food to sell at market.
With donations, including clothing donations from the people in Morgan, Youthlink was able to provided an egg incubator in order teach special needs students the skills necessary to raise and sell chickens and eggs. “This will provide them with a way to make money as they move on from school and can also be a source of income to help them with supplies they might need for school.” Noss continued, “Their teacher told me that they now have a way to feed them protein with the chickens, vegetables with the gardens, but they would really benefit from the nutrition from fruit. She spoke to the brains need for proper nutrition to function at the highest levels.” In addition, the remaining money was used to purchase 18 fruit trees for the families of the 18 students that have special needs in the Muriundu School. “The kids and their parents were so excited and grateful,” commented Noss.
Noss was not the only humanitarian from Morgan Valley who went to Kenya with Youthlinc, Lucille Francis, who is a lunch lady at MCSD, was part of the business committee who was able to help a group of men in Kenya, ages 18-24 graduate from high school and without a job or a direction for their future, begin to flounder. By the end of our time there, 10 men were all given a foundational knowledge in motorcycle mechanics as well as a screw-driver, wrench, and wire cutter pliers. Those with perfect attendance were given needle nose pliers, a socket wrench set and a hammer. The top five students were recognized and given a set of wrenches, an air pump and a set of Allen wrenches. Now these men are off the streets and have a skill that creates a source of income.
Because of donations of clothing, Chrombooks and other monetary donations from inside and outside of Morgan, Nakuru, Kenya now has a computer lab at their school, along with an incubator to help raise and sell chicken and eggs. The community has a Cyber Cafe, families have kitchen gardens, special needs students have fruit trees and boys have a source of income through fixing motorcycles.
In conclusion, Noss said, “it was really neat to see God’s hand this.” She said that the people of Kenya love God and give glory to God for all these donations.
Those interested in donating to or participating in a humanitarian mission visit https://www.youthlinc.org/ λ