In the midst of the pre-Christmas rush we pause for a moment to reflect on what a wonderful year it has been. We would like to take a moment to share our thanks and a few highlights from the year that was.
2016 has been marked with growth, lots of construction and an ever improving school full of kids who never cease to amaze us.
We kicked off the year with the release of our P7 students' outstanding results in the national Primary Leavers Examination. 88% of our 2015 class received marks in the top two quintiles - a result well above the national average. Who would have thought that this little rural school could produce so many students who outperform their counterparts across the county? And what's better, all of our P7 students continued on to secondary school this year.
These positive results were quickly followed by the completion of the first block of teacher units. The accommodation has been hugely popular among the 6 teachers who moved in. Living on site has reduced their commutes, boosted morale and created a buzz around the school grounds. We are excited to commence the second block of teachers accommodation and expect to have all teachers housed in good quality accommodation by February 2017.
Throughout the year we also renovated the older classrooms, added a new shower block, constructed a purpose built kitchen, expanded our solar power system and completed the school fence. The physical environment at the school looks fantastic and we are grateful for your generosity that has allowed us to implement the Manjeri Master Plan.
The first half of the year was significant for the school enterprises. We expanded the matatu taxi bus fleet from 1 to 5 in April/May. This dramatically increased the school's sustainability. The matatus now generate sufficient surplus to cover the costs of all school salaries.
We also kicked the Manjeri Mixed Farm into gear and sowed the first seeds and introduced the first fish onto the property. We have subsequently completed our first harvest and we got a real buzz out of selling the fruits of our labour. We expect to harvest our first school of fish early in the new year.
During the year we welcomed Manjeri supporters to Buikwe for the first time! Lucy and I were proud to show my parents, David Bennett (Chair of Manjeri), Jon, Narelle & Mako around Uganda for a week. The Buikwe community were warm and generous hosts to our visitors, and we reciprocated by bringing Bbumba Mark to Sydney last month where he spoke at an event generously hosted by the Macquarie Group Foundation. Mark was thrilled to meet so many of the Manjeri community while he was out here.
None of this could have happened without your tremendous support. Your generosity keeps on giving in Uganda and provides over 250 kids access to high quality education at the school you helped build.
2017 will see further growth in our enterprises and a school that is confidently working towards sustainability by 2018.
On behalf of the entire Manjeri Team and the Buikwe community, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!