Makeshift Mountain Park Academy begins on the property of Isabella and Jeremiah Robi
A mission team from Mountain Park United Methodist Church began the foundation for a new building for Mountain Park Academy.
Community leaders from Atlanta begin raising money to provide support and monthly provisions for students.
The community as well as the children in the community at one time drank from the same river as the animals and livestock in the area. The Kenya Project funded drilling of a well to serve the school and community. By 2006 a live well was functioning, providing clean running water for the school and community. A 10,000 liter water tank was filled. Community members were so thrilled. Clean water is provided to local schools, the community, chicken houses and farm irrigation.
The Upper School classroom building was funded by The Kenya Project’s contributors. In 2005 the Upper School classroom was completed, housing 450 students, grades 4 through 8. Fundraising plans were already being made for a Lower School to house preschoolers through grade 3 who were attending school in old sawmill shacks.
In the summer of 2005, after a shipment of over 6000 books donated by supporters of The Kenya Project, Mountain Park Academy opened and dedicated The Ferrell Drummond Library. For the first time, children and teachers at Mountain Park Academy gained access to a wonderful collection of books and learning materials. In 2009, an industrious group of missioners completely reorganized, cataloged, and trained teachers for more effective use of the library. We hope to add a computer lab in the library in the near future.
In 2006, a playground was built on the Upper School grounds. Several Kenyans asked, “What is a playground?" The community watched with great interest as children learned how to use swings and slides. Six slides, a jungle gym, twelve swings and more took the place of the dusty, barren field.
A guest house was provided by a donor for missioners and guests of Mr. and Mrs. Robi. It is an extension of the Robi's personal home. It was deemed important for self-supporting team members going on designated missions to have a safe and comfortable place to reside during their stay.
54 children finish 8th Grade and receive acceptance to secondary school
Prior to 2007, two meals a day for the school children were prepared outdoors over open flames. Upon hearing this and hearing Mama Robi describe the children eating their meals outside in the dust and rain, a team of 12 women were motivated to raise funds for the construction of Twelve Stone Dining Hall. The Strong & Courageous Women's Mission Team raised over $80,000 from hundreds of generous donors to fund the construction of the dining hall at Mountain Park Academy. They traveled to Kenya, during which time the dining hall was dedicated in a service attended by more than 1500 students, members of the community, local officials and clergy.
In 2008, the medical team noted that the children's weight and health had improved substantially. Each school day the kitchen staff is able to prepare meals in a beautiful kitchen in a sanitary environment. The dining hall also provides a meeting place for the community.
In 2008 Utunzi purchased six acres of land funded by The Kenya Project across from Mountain Park Academy with the vision of building 8 children’s homes for orphans. The Swahili word “upendo” means “love”. This land purchase was made possible with funds donated through The Kenya Project.
Four Homes have been built to create families for the "family less". These children are loved and cared for by carefully chosen live-in house parents, Mountain Park Academy staff and support of their sponsors. Each home includes bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen, family room, dining room and verandah.
Construction began on the first Children’s Home, Hutch’s Hope House, in 2008. Children moved into the home in March 2009. Hutch’s Hope House houses 20 children and two house parents. Two additional homes, Joy Home and Grace Home, modeled after Hope Home, were completed and dedicated in February of 2012. Each home houses 20 orphans and two house parents. The fourth home was just completed, with the hope of another home to be completed in Spring of 2013.
Three wood burning stoves in the dining hall kitchen were donated and installed by a faithful Kenya Project supporter while on a mission of The Kenya Project. These wood burning stoves use less than one third of the firewood previously required to cook meals. This provides a much more cost effective and sanitary process to cook meals for the children of Mountain Park Academy.
The first donation to build the Lower School was made in the year 2000 even though construction did not begin until 2009. Upon completion of the Lower School, The Kenya Project was able to accomplish one of its most important long term goals - serving children from preschool through secondary school (high school) in clean, bright classrooms with desks and proper supplies to help aid in the teaching process. The Lower School houses a new computer lab, an additional library and a new science lab.
In February 2012 the 650 primary students at Mountain Park Academy campus moved from the saw mill buildings and the Upper School building into the new classroom building. The Upper School housed a new secondary school beginning with 77 Form 1 students. Each year forward, a secondary grade was added, graduating their first students in 2015. Maintenance and improvement of facilities are ongoing projects funded by The Kenya Project.
Thanks to a missioner from the Global Teacher Foundation with the goal of teaching micro-enterprise to women, a 15 member women's sewing circle co-op was established. Previously the women's work options had been primarily limited to working in the fields. These women were taught skills to produce handmade items such as baskets, purses, embroidery and jewelry. The women continue to produce items which help them support their families and Mountain Park Academy.
Over 600 children attend Mountain Park Academy from Pre-K (age 3) through 8th grade. The Upper School houses eight classrooms, a library, computer lab, and administrative offices for the entire campus.
Two students receive scholarship to university.
Over 650 children served and 350 children sponsored by US families.
Two additional children homes completed housing 40 orphan children.
In 2009 a mission team from Norcross First United Methodist Church conducted the first Hope Camp, a camp for select Mountain Park Academy secondary school students. Upon learning that students were fed only 1 egg a week, a team member whose career was in the U.S. poultry industry asked a simple question: “Had consideration had ever been given to building a small poultry farm to supply eggs to further improve the diets of the children?” That question led to contacts with various industry and academic experts, the development of a business plan and the construction of four chicken houses capable of supporting 1000 hens, eventually providing some 800 eggs per day. Day old chicks were placed in the first house in June 2012. Once in full production, the egg farm should be sustainable.
The project has six objectives:
- Improve the diet of the school children
- Provide surplus eggs to sell in the community
- Create a few jobs
- Create a sustainable business
- Provide a vocational education opportunity for the students
- Above all, to glorify God.
Funds for the purchase of additional chicks and feed are especially needed during the startup phase until the chickens mature enough to start producing eggs. 200 chickens are now producing eggs for the children and the community.
The fourth children's home, Peace Home, was completed to house 20 orphaned children.