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Welcome to our second newsletter for the year! It has been a busy few months for The Mango Tree School and the wider village and we look forward to bringing you this edition filled with updates on our continued progress. We also encourage you to regularly check in to our Facebook page, as we provide weekly updates on the activities at the school and across the community.
- Kevin & Leakhena Knight (Founders, Manna4Life)
School Update

The school has continued to operate with great success, with almost perfect attendance (higher than regular Government School). We are seeing lots of positive changes in the students, particularly their growing eagerness to learn and vast improvements in their reading abilities.

We recently held our first school meeting with students parents, and had an overwhelming 95% family attendance (see photo above left). The parents reported with happiness their surprise at the fact that their children are studying at night! The parents showed tremendous interest in the education of their children and praised the positive changes in their children’s behaviour and the quality of the education they were receiving.  This was great news to hear especially for a school that just started in Nov 2014.

We are pleased to report that with additional funding we have a number of projects related to the school which are nearing completion:

  • We will be commencing construction of a new wall in our school building to separate out a classroom for the incoming grade 4 class in November 2015 (expanding our school from Grade 1-3, to 1-4);
  • Our school kitchen will be up and running by the new school year, so that we can commence our school meals program - a nutritious meal each day for our school kids.
  • In July the land purchase was completed for the new school with a view to allowing us to expand the school to offer grades 1-6 in the coming years. The initial building design has been completed for this and can be found on our project pages on the website.
Further updates on the activities at the school can be found on our Facebook Page (weekly), with project updates available on our website.
Mango Tree Students & Staff
Phirun's Story
Phirun (centre of photo) lives with his Grandma because his parents split up and moved away from the village.  He is enrolled in Grade 2 at The Mango Tree School.

Initially Phirun's attendance at school was poor, and he was frequently late for school. In class, Phirun did not contribute much to class discussions and would often misbehave when the teacher was explaining lessons to the other students. 

After being absent for two weeks from school, Manna4Life staff members sat down and had a discussion with Phirun. They identified that Phirun's grandmother was not physically able to walk him to and from school and enforce his attendance, and that Phirun did not appreciate the benefits of going to school. After explaining to him the importance of listening to his grandmother and how going to school can help him get a good job in future, Phirun agreed to try much harder to get to class on time every day to show more respect to his teachers.

It is pleasing  to report that Phirun's attendance has been much improved and he is now excelling at school, socially and academically.  He has respect for the other children and the teachers and studies very hard.  Phirun's honesty and respect for others was demonstrated recently when he found 50 cents in the school yard. Rather than keeping it for himself he went to every child in the school to identify if they had lost it, and then handed it in to his teacher.

* The names of children in this newsletter have been changed to comply with our Child Protection Policy.
Our Teaching Assistants

In this issue we thought it would be fun to introduce you to our two teaching assistants, Srey Neath and Daneth.

Srey Neath and Daneth come to us from within the local community, where their families are rice farmers who make straw baskets to supplement their incomes. They have recently passed their Year 12 exams, which is an excellent achievement given that the government cracked down on cheating this year and only 10% of students passed. Unfortunately, the girl's families were unable to pay for them to attend University following their graduation, despite the families strong belief in education. Srey Neath's family, for example, recently went into debt in order to pay for her sister to complete and graduate from a nursing/midwifery degree - and just could not afford to do the same for Srey Neath. 

Without further options, Srey Neath ended up working in a garment factory for $90 per month at 70 hours per week after high school graduation.  She was actually made fun of in the factory because she had achieved a higher education and still ended up in the factory. Her work colleagues said that getting a high school education was obviously pointless!  She started feeling despondent about her chances of getting a university education. 

Both Srey Neath and Daneth have been part of the Manna4Life English and computer classes. On hearing of their inability to go to University this year, Manna4life approached them and asked them if they wanted to be teachers assistants at the school – as they knew they were both excellent students.   They all sat down and spoke about what they really wanted to do with their lives and how they could make that happen. Ultimately, Srey Neath wants to be an Accountant and Daneth wants to work in Human Resources. Manna4life came up with a plan in conjunction with the girls and their families to help make this happen.

As a result, Manna4Life have hired Srey Neath and Daneth for one year as Teaching Assistants, and part of their salary ($40 a month) is matched and put into a bank account to fund their first year of university. 

The girls are really excited to be helping others in their community achieve an education, and are proving to be a very important part of The Mango Tree School. Manna4Life is  very excited to be giving them this work experience, and helping them achieve their dream of a university education.

NB: Funds contributed through donations and child sponsorships help Manna4Life to fund not only The Mango Tree School, but to also help provide support to older students (with excellent academic records) from the local community to achieve a university education.
Perth Quiz Night Fundraiser
On the 15th of May 2015, the Perth (Western Australia) fundraising team held their first major event benefiting The Mango Tree School. Attended by over 200 people, the quiz night was a great success raising $8,275.00 (AUD) for the school. The event organisers would like to thank all of the fantastic people who attended the event, helped out on the night, and donated wonderful prizes and goods for raffles - we couldn't have done it without their support and assistance.
Music Class!
One of the great things about The Mango Tree School is that in addition to the government curriculum students are provided with additional classes - one of these is music class. In the photo above you can see our students focussing very hard on their teacher and for the very first time putting their fingers on the recorder! Music classes are currently funded by Manna4Life's new partners - Vision Trust International. We will bring you more info about this partnership in future newsletter editions.
Training Centre Progress:
This amazing double storey building is our new training centre nearing 65% completion!

Built on farm land secured by Manna4Life, this building will be the home of our adult learning programs, where people from the local community can come to engage in opportunities for education and empowerment.
Sponsor a Child Today
The Mango Tree Primary School and associated child sponsorships are undertaken in partnership with Global Development Group (ABN 57 102 400 993) (Project J835N), an Australian NGO approved by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and the Great Commission Stories.
Copyright © 2015 Manna4Life, All rights reserved.

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