By Torsten

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December 27, 2015

In less than 2 weeks Cheap Impact will celebrate it’s first birthday. Quite amazing if we think from where we started and where we are at now.

Let’s go back in time to the evening hours of the 8th January 2015 when the idea was born by 4 friends over a cup of tea in Johannesburg. The two founders Mathilde and Torsten immediately implemented the idea and started the 5200 km fundraiser journey from South Africa to Kenya just 2 days later.

Our beginnings were humble and our ideas very rough and unshaped. We didn’t really know what we are getting into when we started this project. In March we reached Korando in Kenya with about 3000 Euros from our own funds and donations. Not really enough to do anything lasting. But the idea of Cheap Impact was powerful and so we just moved ahead not knowing the how, but knowing the goal.

In April we started constructing the foundation of what is today known as the volunteer dome home. It’s unique design carried a powerful message around the world when the online magazine Inhabitat started to write about us in July. (Read the Article here) The dome home does what it was meant to do; being a lighthouse for the Korando Educational Centre, making it stick out of the crowd and bring light into the darkness, hope to the hopeless.

Once the building started to take form and our first volunteers arrived, things began to change. The message spread and help came from the most unexpected corners.

Christmas at the bonfire

Since then our volunteers have become part of our family and the backbone of our success. Thank you Pablo (Spain), Simon (France), Mareile (Germany), Flore and Charlotte (Belgium), Danielle (U.S.),  Angela and Leti (Spain), Nicky (Belgium), Justin (U.S.) and our first team member Simon (Germany). Because of you and all your friends and family we have been able to reach this far. The hardest part in any grassroots project is to get momentum  and you believed in us already when we could barley walk.

Cooking with the Sun!

This growing family is supporting us from all over the world until the day, when their support is not needed anymore, when the Korando Educational Centre reaches 100% sustainability. A tough goal considering the vast amounts of money it needs to provide food and send students to high-school and university. But everything is possible.

Just to give you an idea: Mama Dolfine continuously has 40 students in high-school. It’s 20€ each per month = 800€ per month. Then there are currently 8 students going to university. That’s 500€ each per semester = 4000€ every 4 month = 1000€ / month.

The university students agreed, once they get a job, to pay back their loans to Mama which she then uses to pay for the next generation of students. In theory this could be sustainable but it hardly depends on the job market.

Colorful aprons and handbags used for fundraising

Finances

Let me not bore you with more numbers except one. 29,358.31€ is about what we spent this year in infrastructure, healthcare, education and food security. The cost of the dome home are summarizing to about 20,000.00€ with it’s completion in January 2016. Other infrastructure projects included the boys dormitory of which we finance about 2,000.00€ with the rest being financed by the American NGO The Ripple Effect Project, a waste-water system, rainwater collection and lots of small things. Luckily healthcare only accounted for about 350.00€ and the remaining expenses covered school fees, food and general running costs.

We were also able to send Mama together with her daughter Pamela to Maine in the U.S. in the month of October where they were taken care of by long-time supporter Grace and the Colby College as well as the Ripple Effect Project. A very successful fundraising trip.

Not to forget all the physical donations we received like a Solar Stove from Mary and Hubbard Rotary Club in Ohio, a film projector from Maya and her friends in the U.K., laptops from the U.S., U.K. and Medtronic Madrid, and of course lots and lots of clothes and school materials brought by our volunteers. Thank you all so much!

Donated laptops for computer classes starting in January

What’s next?

In January lots of things will happen!

  • We will receive our Christmas present from Sadolin E.A. which is paint for all our buildings!
  • We will finish the dome home and move in! YAY! (Note: We already slept the night of the 26th December inside =))
  • We will finish the boys dormitory and give it all some beautiful color!
  • We start growing food in our perma-culture garden around the dome home
  • We will finish the beach volleyball field and start giving classes
  • Our IT students are going to start computer classes using the donated laptops

Also from early January onward  we have volunteers from Switzerland, Italy, Australia, China, Philippines, Germany and Belgium joining us!

The main project for 2016 will be the construction of a permanent school with sustainable building methods. A massive project in scale which itself will come with it’s own unique challenges. But we are ready.

First ideas for the new green school

Summary

2015 has been our first year so we have nothing to compare with, but I’d say it’s been incredible successful. We’ve been on the edge of “bankruptcy” a couple of times this year but we made it thanks to all you wonderful people who have been supporting us! It’s absolutely amazing to see that we received donations from 33 different countries! I mean, wow! Which organization can say this generally and especially in such a short period of time. Thank you world! We are truly one.

Beautiful Christmas Lunch

Happy New Year everyone,

Torsten Kremser

Director – Cheap Impact

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