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What Our Contest Has Done in Kenya, Via You!

The Magic Oxygen Literary Prize is so much more than a writing contest and yes, I realise I’m in danger of making this sound like a Marks and Spencer advert!

But it is!

Over the past 3 years, MOLP has helped reforest 71 acres of deforested land in the
Coastal Province of Kenya and it has just put a roof on the second, much needed
classroom at Kundeni Primary School too.

Take a moment to smile as you look at our update from Bore.

Kundeni Children

The children of Kundeni Primary School & the local community work hard to plant, care for, & protect the trees.

Bore Nursery

The nursery has been a hive of activity; planting new seeds, potting them up & preparing them for the Word Forest.

Word Forest Kundeni

At 71 acres it's growing tall & strong. It'll remove over 2k tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere & improve the air we breathe.

Our First Classroom

It may be sparsely furnished but it's a vast improvement from sitting & learning outside in the scorching Kenyan sun.

Education Is The Key

Children attend school more regularly & the register has expanded too; the children you helped have hope for their future.

What Next?

The whole community make decisions about how we can best support them; this meeting approved classroom number two.

Classroom Two Begins

Soon the 300 children of Kundeni will have another safe, protected space to study; everyone's excited!

Walls Up, Render On

The labour required to build the classroom was shared throughout Bore. Soon everyone will profit from it.

The Forest Centre

On the edge of the Word Forest, this will be a community learning hub & visitor centre too. A legacy education project.

Enter MOLP 3

This year's contest closes at midnight on the 31st December. Get your short story or poem in soon & we'll plant a tree for you!

Anthologies

Buy our fabulous anthologies, enjoy the brilliant winning entries & we'll plant another tree for every one sold!

 

Aside from the fact that MOLP has uncovered some remarkable literary talent, the impact of the actions above have been immeasurably positive for the children and community. Continue reading What Our Contest Has Done in Kenya, Via You!

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A Publishing House, a Forest & a Classroom

Kundeni Prmary School children by the new classroom

In the spring of 2014, as well as publishing a handful of new titles* we also launched a pioneering global writing competition called the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize.

It had two categories – short stories and poetry – a prestigious £3,000 prize fund and three environmental promises built into its foundations:

  • to plant a tree for every single entry received, in Bore, Kenya,
  • to fund the build of an urgently needed new classroom at Kundeni Primary School in the same community,
  • to send every entrant an electronic certificate with the clickable GPS co-ordinates of their tree.

Children

Youngsters from Kundeni Primary School getting ready to plant trees in the Word Forest

Nursery

The Word Forest is packed with moringa, casuarina, neem, cashew and other trees

Villagers

The community of Bore got stuck into the footings of the new classroom

Footings

The children await their new classroom with excitement and anticipation

Construction

Headmaster James Kithi and the Kundeni students give the progress a thumb's up

Walls

Up go the walls and everyone lends a hand sealing the building

Floor

Laying the floor must have been a back breaking task

Celebration

Once the floor had been laid, it was time for everyone to celebrate

Paint

Thankfully, there was enough paint to give the old classroom a spruce up too

School

In the late spring of 2016, the classroom was ready and open for study - bring on classroom 3!

Anthologies

Buy them and enjoy the winning entries; we'll plant a tree and get more building materials for every one sold

Ru Hartwell, an international forestry expert, founder of TreeFlights and a trusted friend, chose Bore to site the Word Forest for several reasons. He knew we were keen to plant a legacy forest that would make a positive difference to the earth. Bore is located fairly near the equator and therefore would be incredibly efficient at locking down the CO2 from the atmosphere as the trees grow so quickly there. He also had first-hand knowledge of the area and knew how devastated it had become as a result of mass deforestation. A long-term tree planting project in Bore would not only benefit the planet, but would also have an incredibly positive effect on the community, as the trees would also provide them with food, medicines, shelter and protection from the elements and reintroduce biodiversity. In time, it could generate an income for them too. To date, the Word Forest is 11 times the size of Wembley Stadium.

Alex Katana, Ru’s right hand-man and the resident project manager in Bore, mobilised the whole community to get involved with the tree planting, including many of the children who attend Kundeni Primary School. There are around 300 children on their register, many of whom sleep on the premises because it’s simply too far to walk to. Despite the fact that it’s a primary school, several youngsters attend who are in their late teens and early 20s. Their families needed their labour to work the land so they could bring in desperately needed income, consequently, those children missed out on basic schooling. However, many parents reconsidered their position when the Kenyan authorities said all children should be encouraged to get a proper education and supported them to do so.

Educating 300 children at Kundeni Primary School had been a challenge however, as up until recently, they only had one decent classroom which housed around 30 youngsters at a time; it had been provided by another fundraising project headed by Ru. There were a handful of other ramshackle buildings dotted around the grounds, most of which were condemned and a danger to life to be in.

To say thank you for planting the trees, our literary prize also paid for the building materials and labour to construct a new classroom. In late spring 2016, a splendid new classroom was handed over to the Headmaster James Kithi and the children. They are now able to provide twice the amount of students with a safe and comfortable space to learn that keeps them cool in the summer and dry in the winter.

James wrote to us and said that it has already made an enormous difference to the whole community and we are so proud to know the Word Forest and the classroom have been welcomed and embraced. We aren’t stopping there however. As you’ll see from the images in the slider, there is a great need for more chairs, desks and basic resources.

The Mini-MOLPs and the forthcoming MOLP3 (due to open for entries in autumn 2016) are only going to continue the good work that has been done so far. Further resources to help the school are vital and a third classroom is on the cards.

With Ru continuing to be our guiding light, we will honour our commitment to helping the amazing community of Bore in Kenya with great pleasure, and perhaps one day, we will walk through the Word Forest too.

The Team

* Spring 2016 Titles
Blind Cupid: Max Brandt
Children of the Crater: Connor Cadellin McKee
Continental With Juice: James Dunford Wood
Dear Mother: Mark James
Dreaming the Moon: Izzy Robertson
Off Her Facebook: Robert Windsor and Jo Stroud
The Dreamer: Sue Hampton
The Magic Oxygen Literary Prize Anthology 2016
The Pick Up Artist: Chris Hill

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Would you Like a Tree in the Word Forest?

gofundmenowAs you have probably gathered, the second Magic Oxygen Literary Prize has just drawn to a close.

Phew… the office computers are still whizzing at 1am.

We hope you will be fired up to enter MOLP3 in the not too distant future but while you’re waiting, if you would like to buy a tree in the Word Forest, guess what, YOU CAN!

Last year we set up a Go Fund Me campaign for people who didn’t want to enter the contest but who wanted to help us expand the Word Forest.

Continue reading Would you Like a Tree in the Word Forest?

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#MOLP – The Movie

Please enjoy our short film about The Magic Oxygen Literary Prize, fondly known as  MOLP.

It is the only literary competition in the world to plant a tree for every entry. Find out what the villagers who planted them in Bore, Kenya have to say about it.

Continue reading #MOLP – The Movie