• Chris Hirst

AGM 2017 - Chairman's Report

Chairman’s report for the Olive Branch Foundation

Submitted at the Annual General Meeting for 2017

held on 24th March 2018

Dear trustees, friends and supporters of The Olive Branch Foundation. Thank you all for attending.

Now in our 12th year of operation in Kenya and were still going forward with no lack of enthusiasm.

The school has now once more extended with the addition of another dormitory. This is for the boys in the secondary school and our orphan boys who are in the primary section.

If you recall from my last report to the Trustees, I said that the cost of the dormitory would be approximately £5,000. Sadly, however, the end cost was just over £7,000. Many factors contributed to this, mainly raging inflation fuelled by political unrest and uncertainty, not to mention shortages of everything caused by drought, in other words just a normal year in the everyday life of Kenya. These things have become commonplace all over Africa, not just in Kenya; however the good news is that we got there in the end; the boys have moved in and are comfortable and safe.

The girls have now enough space to satisfy the regulations set down by the national schools’ inspectors.

We started out 12 years ago just as a small infant and primary school for local children who, because of abject poverty, were beyond the scope of basic education. When we look back where we started and look at where we are now, the achievements and development of this project have grown beyond what I could have imagined at that time; however what was considered to be cost-effective at the time now looks expensive by comparison. That's progress I suppose, but we still have to continuously look at how we can improve their lives and meet their very basic needs, which are simply good education, warm clothing, hot food, comfortable accommodation, all packaged with love, in a safe learning environment.

This is not a one-way street. For their part they study hard from before dawn till after dusk. They express their gratitude in the only way they can, i.e. not complaining, not squabbling, by diligently receiving the authority of the teachers and being thankful for everything they receive.

These children are thriving spiritually, mentally and physically thanks to your continued prayer and financial support; also, in great part by Risper and her dedicated staff who continually instil a good moral compass into these young minds.

With your help they will continue to send out into the world confident young men and women who, because of where they were nurtured, will be valuable citizens with much to offer and guide the less well-off, with what they've learned during their time with us.

My next visit to the school will be in early May. On my return I will be in a position to give a report of the exact financial needs of the school; however, at the moment we have 25 full-time staff, 108 pupils in the secondary school and 88 pupils in the primary section.

I always look forward to visiting the school - those happy faces make all the travel, discomfort and financial sacrifice worth every penny.

It now just remains to thank you for your continued hard work and the efforts that are put in to raising funds to keep that school open. I feel we can go forward with optimism trusting in what the Bible declares to us. (Galatians Ch 6 verse 9) Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

May God continue to bless you,

Chris Hirst



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