The school is a single story building which has slowly grown since construction started in the summer of 2009. Initially there were just a couple of classrooms, but since those early days a kitchen has been added, along with dormitories and a separate toilet block. Water and electricity have been difficult to provide, simply because of the cost involved and the practical difficulties of providing services in such a remote area.

School development will continue, governed by the funds available and by changing priorities. For example, security has become an issue, especially now children are living at the school, so fencing and gates need to be considered. Teachers, if they are also expected to live at the school, need homes too, and Wangari is trying to arrange local funding for this kind of expansion.You can read about the development of the school in the news and history pages, and you can also read about the kind of problems which occur unexpectedly, serious enough on a couple of occasions to almost close the school for a while.

The school building is constructed from local stone and timber, with a red corrugated iron roof. There are no ceilings in the rooms, so you can image the noise inside when the heavy rain is falling. It's also a windy area, so everything has to be firmly fixed down. It's good to see the flag flying so briskly, though, even if the flagpole looks a little unsteady.

The school opened in January 2011. At first it just catered for the educational needs of day students from the local community, but has now started to take boarders. The number of orphan boarders the school can take is determined by the level of sponsorship we are able to generate.

 

The school soon after it opened in January 2011

The long term aim is to accommodate a total of 240 orphaned and vulnerable children. To maintain the school and to support orphans the plan is for the school to eventually take equal numbers of paying students and orphans. However, if the school could get enough sponsors to support all 240 orphans then eventually the school would not need to take any paying students at all. The building of the school will be a gradual process that will probably take at least until 2018 to complete. As of September 2013 the school has 8 classrooms, 2 dormitories, a staff room, a kitchen, a dining room and a hall. A separate toilet block, with a flushing system is now functional but not quite complete as it needs cubicle doors and ceilings. A garden area is thriving, with crops being planted and cultivated, managed by the gardener with help from staff and children. Two cows have been purchased to provide milk, they live in the school grounds and one cow has already had a calf. Already children are helping in the garden and are able to take surplus food home.

Please have a look around this website, you can find out more about the history of building of the school in the News section where the stories and photos are archived.

 

 

 

The school status at February 2016

There are 120 children on the school role, half of them are boarders and half attend on a daily basis. 87 of the children are orphans. Staff include 1 headteacher, 11 teachers, 2 matrons, 1 caretaker/gardener, and 1 night watchman. Wangari does not teach, but is in overall control of the school and all its processes.

The school gardens provide lots of vegetables, including cabbages, carrots, spinach, marrows, beetroot and onions. Maize is grown for the animals, and a machine for grinding the maize has been acquired so that the 2 bulls and 3 cows can be fed largely on home grown produce. One of the cows has just given birth to a female calf, excellent news because the last two calves have been bulls. A female calf is good because eventually she will produce more young and milk as well. Eggs for the children are obtained from the 150 chickens, and the stock of rabbits is increasing, currently at about 100. The rabbits will provide a source of food when the population reaches the target. Wood for fires has to be bought, and any surplus can be turned into charcoal. The main foods that cannot be grown are rice, sugar, tea and bread. The school also has some dogs and 5 sheep.

Installation of the electricity supply is now complete, and lighting is provided to all the classrooms, the kitchen, the toilets, and the teachers' houses.

The school philosophy remains one of nurture and education. Formality of education in important in Kenya, so the school maintains a kindly discipline in order to reach high standards in all aspects of life, such that the children love being at the school, and sometimes would rather stay there during the holidays rather than go to their homes.

There has been some consideration of how the school can help children with special needs. There are cultural barriers to overcome in this area, and practical difficulties as well. At present the school has 2 children with special needs and ways of accepting more are being considered. One area of need is transport, and when the primary functions of the school are fully addressed we hope it will be possible to have a school minibus. This will be very expensive, of course, and it remains just on the wish-list at present. Perhaps a generous benefactor will hear about the school and help us out!

Children in Kenya move on to the next level of education at 14, so there is no plan at present to take students older than that, but Wangari has now put a great deal of effort into providing for children at the other end of the scale by opening a nursery. It is hoped that younger children will be influenced more easily in the "whole life" philosophy of the school.