In a time of climate crisis, climate action education for young students (aged 8+) is crucial to cultivate environmental stewardship and agency. However, this process can in itself induce climate anxiety leaving students feeling helpless and resigned to a bleak future. At RKF, we want to address this through climate action workshops designed to introduce them to contemplative gardening and by helping set up school gardens where students can build a daily practice. Gardening is a wonderful form of mindfulness that connects us with nature by putting our focus back on our immediate surroundings and in to the earth. It gives us a true sense of agency as we take responsibility for our planet. This project will create a mindful student community within Kisumu that will start contemplative gardening clubs in their schools hopefully creating a culture of gardening and environmental stewardship within their larger communities for years to come.
Organization Implementing the Project
The Rahul Kotak Foundation (RKF) is a local grassroots NGO that was started in 2016 with the aim: to make good quality education accessible to children living in marginalized communities in Kisumu County in Kenya.
To ensure that students can access education, RKF uses a multi-pronged, community focused approach that addresses some of the biggest barriers to education for students.
We do this through four key programs:
1. Meals Program: this program provides both on-site meals (breakfast and lunch) to students while they are in school and ensure families of the most vulnerable students have access to ration kits that will ensure meals for them at home as well.
2. Kitabu Changu Haki Yangu (My Book My Right): we build libraries and make learning material easily accessible
3. Girls Empowerment Program: we provide re-usable sanitary pad kits to girls and ensure they receive menstrual health and hygiene training
4. Climate Action: we work with children to cultivate environmental stewardship and plant trees by building school and community gardens that both beautifies their schools and helps grow food
Over the past seven years, some of the projects completed so far and the impact they have made are as follows:
· School Meals Program that has served nearly 650,000 meals to a community of over 4,800 students and their families in some of the most vulnerable communities
· Built libraries through our literacy program Kitabu Changu Haki Yangu (My Book My Right) and put over 20,000 text and story books in circulation in over five communities
· Kept over 1,000 teenage girls in school through our Girls Empowerment Program by providing re-usable sanitary pad kits so they can continue with their education even when they are menstruating. This program
· Climate action workshops for over 400 students
· Planted over 2,400 trees and flowering plants