We started supporting our first 2 students in Kenya in 2008 – since then we have supported more than 140 students in Kenya at both secondary and higher education levels. Our kenya scholars are training in all kinds of fields – medicine, business, civil engineering and teaching to name a few – and at some of the most recognised institutions including Jomo Kenyatta and Egerton Universities. We support students with a clear link to Taita-Taveta county – read more here.
The goal is that after achieving professional qualifications, students supported by the Rafiki Thabo will then be able to support themselves and their families. We can see that this is already happening with the 55 graduates we have supported in Kenya and the more we can support, the greater the long-term impact will be. Most of them have found decent paid jobs, for example as Accountants, Teachers and roles in businesses in Sales, Marketing and HR, which they would not have got without their degree. Some have also started their own businesses. Without support, all of our students would have had to drop out of education – on average a year’s fees at university costs around £900, a huge financial burden to a family, if indeed the scholar has one.
One of the students we have supported, Nicholas Ayiesa, graduated from KCA University in Kenya in 2013 – against all the odds! Nicholas was born into a poor, rural community and as a fatherless child had to battle against stigma and fight for his education. His story shows us what can be achieved with a lot of determination – and a helping hand from Rafiki Thabo!
Nicholas is now the first ever Planning Officer at the Kenya Institute of Special Education (KISE). He also has two businesses and supports his mother-in-law’s therapy centre for children with cerebral palsey. He has also established a Rafiki Thabo alumni association called ‘Blessed to Bless’ (B2B) and we are excited to be working with him to build up this network to be able to help even more scholars in Kenya.
As more of our scholars graduate, we are supporting an increasing number of secondary school students. Some of those students go to ACK (Anglican Church of Kenya) St. Bartholomew’s Secondary School in Voi. We are building a strong link with this school, through its former headmaster, Bishop Liverson Mng’onda, who is on our committee. In 2015 we merged with the Kazi Mingi Foundation which has supported the school since its establishment. In 2017, with support from the Friends of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Fund, we were able to re-equip the IT lab at the school with 25 new PCs, enabling all pupils to learn valuable IT skills and hopefully in future allowing other schools in the area and the local community to use the lab. This will generate much needed income for the school. The new lab should also enable the school to offer IT as an examinable subject which should attract more pupils to the school. A team from Nicholsons, our corporate supporters, have also built a chicken coop at the school and established a tree nursery, again providing much needed income streams for the school.
We have also supported a number of distinct education projects in the surrounding area, including replacing the roof of the special needs unit at Shigaro Primary School and supporting St. Barnabas Nursery in Voi to become financially sustainable.
Our work in Kenya is managed by a committee of local volunteers who are respected members of the community in Taita-Taveta. You can read more about our committee here.
You can ‘meet’ some of our scholars and graduates in Kenya here.
Our Director Janet, founding trustee Emma and former trustee of Kazi Mingi Foundation, Jenny, visited our Kenya programme in the autumn of 2017. You can read the report of their visit here.
Learn more about the Education sector in Kenya.