Despite being a small company, Anselm's studios assist as much as possible with the local and wider communities. Its broad-ranging contributions include following Fair Trade guidelines; paying a staff of 35 well above standard wages; and providing them with loans, transport, medical, and controlled working hours and conditions. The studio also supports the local school in Oloosirkon (Tuala) by supplying desks, chairs, water during the dry season, exam/reference materials and storybooks.
Sara Wroblewski (www.onebead.org) visited mid 2012 with three friends to see the almost finished kilometer long fence around our local Oloosirkon Primary School. They donated school supplies brought in their luggage. We held an art camp at the studio, to teach the students about recycling, art & glass. Sara raised 500,000/- shillings for the fence in the USA with the sale of beads (donated by Anselm’s studio) that were made into bracelets and sold to her fellow students.
She’s working on a community centre next, and has placed a deposit on a plot in the centre of Oloosirkon 'town'. Heartwarming tingly feel-good stuff, by an amazing individual.
“We’ve also granted individual scholarships for the local orphanage,” says Anselm. “We’ve planted trees, repaired roads and collected garbage."
In addition, Kitengela Hot Glass donates more than 30 raffle prizes to a myriad of causes annually. In the coming years, the company, with the assistance of One Bead, is planning to focus on local adolescents in its vicinity. The goal here is to help them to better connect with their environment and resident wildlife via tree planting, and creating a community centre. Kitengela Hot Glass’s hope is that these efforts will stimulate greater appreciation for the surroundings and gretaer civic pride in the neighbourhood.
“The picture below is of Oloosirkon Government Primary School/Shilinge Primary School and Emakoko Primary School children being visited by the Chanuka Express mobile bus,” explains Anselm. “Its aim is to uplift young people through literacy and practical life skills education. Kitengela Hot Glass also funds monthly subscriptions to the Chanuka Express children’s newspaper.”
One local student, Dennis Mokua, graduated at the top of his class from Oloosirkon in December 2010. He scored 335 marks out of 500 which equates to a “B” average. Dennis’s ambition is to become a doctor.
Kitengela Hot Glass paid his secondary school fees and expenses for 2011 & 2012. He finished his first year in secondary with a B+ (6th out of 119). His results in 2011 were a B+ (6th out of 136). Our scholarship for him continues. In Dec 2012 he had a mean ‘A’ grade (3rd out of 135). In August we sponsored him to attend the Jehudi 2nd ‘Growing up Green’ Annual Camp on Environment, where he had the opportunity to visit a biogas slaughter house, was introduced to NEMA, met Dr. Shah (the first Kenyan to get a PHD in pharmacy & responsible for planting trees along Waiyaki Way), visit the Giraffe Centre, plant trees & go horse riding in Central Province.
“What Dennis has achieved is very impressive,” Anselm comments, “especially when you consider the difficult learning environment at a poorly-funded school.
In the Neighbourhood
Rolf's Place is five minutes away, and a great place to stop for lunch before or after a studio visit. It incorporates a boutique hotel situated on the same property, which overlooks Nairobi National Park and is accessed by a suspension bridge straight out of Indiana Jones.