Thiiri Community Center.

Kids Camp

ACOHF launched Kids Camps in Meru at the Thiiri Center for Culture, Music and Community Development and funded the first year of operation reaching more than 200 kids between the ages of 11 and 15 years. The program is continuing with the support of Thiiri Center and local churches and schools. The Day Camps include computer training, music lessons, cultural knowledge, sports and crafts. Local elders and community leaders also talk with the young people about culture, values and responsibilities.

Program objectives include building self-esteem and confidence related to life decisions, and encouraging critical thinking and creative problem solving. Each Camp brings together a diverse group of 25 young people. This program fills some gaps that are not often covered in the highly structured national school curriculum. Individual students are sponsored by local churches and schools. The participants of all the camps are invited to other special youth events at Thiiri including movies, performances, and discussion groups about issues that concern young people and affect their future.

Music and Culture

One of the major programs at Thiiri Center focuses on music training for individuals and groups. ACOHF worked with the Program Director at Thiiri to provide interactive skill workshops, one on drumming techniques and another on creative production, taught by professional musicians and award-winning performers from Nairobi. Both of these workshops support the development of the musical and artistic resources in this rural area. One of the workshop leaders also performed in several local schools.

ACOHF was also the major sponsor for the launch of the Thiiri Center Concert series, which features young local talent in music, spoken word poetry, dance and drama. The audience at the initial Saturday afternoon concert included more than 300 students from area schools as well as other community members, local artists and musicians. We are working with Thiiri Center to establish a music and media production studio as a resource for young people in this rural area. This facility will also provide professional training and develop the media and communication skills of local youth for related job opportunities and creative entrepreneurship.

Thiiri Center for Culture, Music and Community Development

Thiiri (meaning "peace" in the Meru language) Center for Culture, Music and Community Development was established to serve local people as a shared resource for education, culture, and economic development. Thiiri Center, which has classrooms and meeting space, is the site of our Community Technology Center (CTC). We are partnering with Thiiri Center to establish the first CTC in this rural area and to provide computer training and access to Meru women`s entrepreneurship groups and young people to support social and economic development. Many of the women`s entrepreneurship groups also meet regularly at Thiiri Center. Thiiri Center is uniquely designed to meet community needs.

Community Technology Center

It was an exciting day when the new Community Technology Center (CTC) was launched in Maua Tanzania. The space for the facility was donated by the Franciscan Sisters Capuchin and they will manage the Center to serve the local community and area schools. Many of the sisters helped with carrying the equipment, tables and chairs and organizing the computer room. A group of women from local villages came to see the new computer center, the hub of activity and interest for everyone. This CTC will be a valuable educational and communication resource as the only facility of its kind in this remote rural area.

Two Africa Circle of Hope Board Members, Marilyn Makandi Brenchley and Kay Felkins, traveled to a rugged area on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro in October 2010 to launch the Community Technology Center. Benjamin Makai from Computer Aid International installed the initial setup and trained the staff. Two of the sisters are taking additional computer courses so they can supervise the Center and train others. ACOHF will continue to help develop the Center to meet local needs.

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