Friends From Ireland returned to Galana in September 2015 and a second meeting was organised with the ladies. Unfortunately, this initial meeting never happened as the message was not communicated to the wider group of women. While this was very disappointing it was a learning experience for us and reinforced the need for very clear communication channels. The meeting was rescheduled and held a couple of days later. This meeting was very well attended with nearly 30 ladies present. At this meeting, we learned that the adult education classes had begun after we left the previous year and had been very well attended initially. However about 50% of the ladies in the community had found jobs in the National Irrigation Scheme and so could no longer attend the classes. Those who were not working were still attending classes and they were progressing well. One of the highlights from this meeting was when we were approached by one of the ladies who had not finished her school education as a child, but had recently attended the adult education classes and wanted to return to complete her Form 4 exams. She agreed with the Galana School principal that it would be possible for her to complete her exams in the school.
This meeting was an early indication of just how motivated and committed these women are to furthering their education. We were very lucky to have been joined on this project by Agnes Chege, a FFI volunteer and long-time supporter of FFI through her work in Hemmingway’s, Watamu. Agnes explained to the group about how she had been working with a similar ladies group on the coast since 2004. They operate a “Merry-go-Round” system. This is a traditional way for groups of women to save money together. Agnes explained how the merry-go-round system works and all the ladies present agreed that this was something they would like to develop. A second meeting was held later in the week and FFI were delighted to be in a position to hand over a Singer sewing machine to the group. A sewing teacher was nominated and the ladies group was established in available rooms at the Danissa Dispensary, which FFI had renovated in 2012.