2023 Newsletter

Rare Gem School Opening by Mark Stoddart

About Mark Stoddart

Mark Stoddard

Mark Stoddart is an international designer of unique bronze sculptors who lives in Ayrshire Scotland. He is internationally renowned as one of the most outstanding designer of coffee, dining and conference tables. Each of his sculpture is unique and hand made. One of his coffee tables sits in Scottish Parliament. Another one of his famous tables is the Apollo Lunar Landing Module table that sits in the home of the former US astronaut Buzz Aldrin. His clients include heads of states and celebrities from all over the world.

His Early Life

Mark struggled in school. At the age of 13, he was introverted with very little confidence. He went to a special school in Sussex, England where he received some accommodation which enabled him to develop self-confidence and to demonstrate his unequalled creativity in arts.

His Charity Work in Kenya

In his charity work, Mark met Nancy and Phyllis who are the founders of Dyslexia Organization, Kenya. Mark was first inspired to add a hippo table to his design after visiting Kenya more than thirty years ago. He designed a hippo coffee table which was auctioned to raise money to celebrate the fifth birthday of Fiona, a hippo in Cincinnati Zoo that defiled all the odds and survived despite being born six weeks prematurely weighing only 13 kilograms.

Mark gave out 15% of the proceeds which was slightly over $ 15000 and added another $ 9600 to make the total to $25000. The money was used to start the construction of the first neurodiverse school in Kenya. Mark continued supporting the construction of the school until it was finished. Mark decided to support Rare Gem Talent School to construct a new school after he saw the old school which was sitting on a rented piece of land. The school was congested with classes, kitchen, dormitories and an office in a half acre piece of land. The rent was also very high which raised the cost of running the school.  Mark believes that if the relevant accommodations are given to students who have dyslexia, they can discover their own talents. Mark continues to champion for the rights of people with dyslexia. He is the ambassador of Rare Gem Talent School, the first Neurodiverse School in East and Central Africa. He has made it his mission to use his talent to ensure that other people with dyslexia discover, nourish and nurture their talents to maturity. His life is a testament to the fact that with accommodation, every student can succeed in life.


The Dean Bragonier Workshop - 23rd April 2023

Students making presentations during a noticeability workshop in Rare Gem Talent School

Dean Bragonier is the Founder and Executive Director of NoticeAbility, a non-governmental organization dedicated to helping pupils with dyslexia overcome inferiority complexes and low self-esteem. The organization helps pupils with dyslexia explore their strengths in a learning setup that is suited to their way of thinking. 

Dean Bragonier has Dyslexia. He believes that people with dyslexia have some special gifts in the area of entrepreneurship, engineering, architecture and Arts. NoticeAbility has worked with MIT, Harvard Business School and Harvard School of Education in developing courses in Business, Entrepreneurship, Architecture, engineering and arts. These courses are taught alongside the basic academic courses to students with dyslexia.

Dean Bragonier with students and parents after NoticeAbility workshop

Dean Bragonier visited Kenya and conducted a workshop at Rare Gem Talent School on 23th April 2023. During the workshop, he trained teachers how to use social emotional learning to ensure that students with dyslexia are able to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. In this workshop, students were arranged in groups and given questions to explore. They then made presentations to the whole class. All the students were able to demonstrate their problem solving skills including students who previously had not shown much interest in school. The workshop was an eye opener to the teachers who learned that students can give real life solutions to problems when they are given a good platform to share their skills. 

Dyslexia Training Manual Validation Workshop

Dyslexia Organization Kenya is developing a training manual that will ensure that all dyslexia trainings are standard and consistent at every time. The manual highlights what every teacher, parent or caregiver of a person with dyslexia should know about dyslexia. It points out such areas as the history of dyslexia, dyslexia organizations, signs of dyslexia, how dyslexia manifests in preschoolers, pupils below grade three, grade four to eight and high school students. The manual also cover other areas such as informal assessment with a diagnostic kit, professional assessment, reading remediation approach and other ways that the parents, teachers and caregivers can give support to children with dyslexia. During the validation workshop, the teachers from Rare Gem Talent School and Olive School were inducted to the contents of the manual. They gave out their suggestions which will be incorporated into the final manual that will be launched before the end of the year.

Metis Fellowship

Day of the African Child

Students of Rare Gem Talent school dancing a folk song during the celebrations of the African Child 2023

M.M Shah Parents' sensitization

Tangaza University students visit to Rare Gem

The students of Catholic University Visited Rare Gem Talent School in an excursion to learn about a social business model

Mt. Kenya University collaboration with Dyslexia Organisation, Kenya.

Dyslexia Kenya’s Directror Phyllis Munyi paid a visit to Prof. Mwangi Peter Wanderi (Ph.D.) at Mount Kenya University. He is the Principal of Corporate Services & Communication as well as the Director Linkages, Partnerships and Collaborations. Prof Wanderi is also the overseer, Mount Kenya University Foundation and MKU Graduate Enterprise Academy,and also the overseer, United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) SDG 10 – Reduced Inequalities Hub. Mt Kenya University has partnered with Dyslexia Organization Kenya in training teachers to ensure that they have the skills and the knowledge to support students with dyslexia.

Prof. Wanderi and Lucy from Mt. Kenya University visited to Dyslexia Organisation, Kenya

Structured Literacy LearningTraining by Katrine McElderly

Dyslexia Organization Kenya, working together with Mark Stodatt and Rare Gem Talent School conducted a Structured Literacy Training in Rare Gem Talent School on 12th,13th ,14th,and 15th. The Training was conducted by Katrine McElderly. The training was attended by teachers from Kajiado, Kiambu, Nairobi and Kisumu counties. Other people who attended the training included Lydia Sangok, Kakuu Kimondo  and Faith Kanana from the ministry of education and Letang Jiri from Dyslexia Organization of Botswana. The objective of the training was to equip the teachers with vital skills which are necessary to provide reading remediation to struggling learners.

The training covered the ‘big five’ requirements for reading. These skills are: phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.The trainer, Katrine, started by explaining that the human brain has inbuilt capacity to decode patterns. She explained that some people naturally have a high aptitude of decoding patterns in words but there are people with a lower aptitude for decoding the patterns in words. She explained that it is therefore necessary to give explicit instructions to struggling learners and simplify the patterns in a simple way that the students can easily decode.

Rotary sunshine day

Christian Church International, Arusha