Why We Build Classrooms

The Challenge

In January 2003, President Mwai Kibaki introduced a free primary education scheme, promising broad investment across the sector. Some 14 years on, we know there’s still a desperate need for well constructed classrooms in countless schools in the Coast Province; our Trustee Ru Hartwell, is working with over 100 of them.

Children in a mud classroom at Kadunguni schoolYou only need to take a look at this picture of the classroom at Kadenguni School in Bore to get an idea of its fragile, volatile state. Do bear in mind, these students are grateful to have any sort of building at all.

Our Solution

We talked to, and listened to what the community of Bore wanted and built two classroom in neighbouring Kundeni Primary School at a cost of around £10,000 each. They took a few months to construct and the children and teachers were absolutely delighted to receive them. The local community were pleased too, as the employment for the works was shared amongst them; even the children got involved with things like water carrying, some simple carpentry and stone cutting.

The successes we measured at Kundeni Primary School and in the local community were so great, they sparked the birth of our not-for-profit organisation.

Our priority is to replicate our classroom building programme, at a sustainable pace, for as many schools as is humanly possible, in the Coast Province of Kenya.

We will educate students of all ages and create environmental guardians of them all.

Measuring the Impact

Recently, we received several handwritten letters from Kundeni School and the surrounding community outlining the wide variety of educational and environmental benefits that have been felt, and the many social improvements that have occurred since we started supporting them. It’s an absolute pleasure to summarise them:

The Head and teachers told us:

  • greatly improved physical conditions felt by the students and teachers since working inside a classroom (cooler, protected from the elements, large blackboard, easier to teach)
  • pupils have far higher levels of concentration
  • examination grades have improved
  • less throat problems for the teachers because they don’t have to shout to deliver lessons
  • the existing register of children at Kundeni Primary School are attending classes more regularly
  • additional children have joined the register since the new classroom was completed
  • lessons on sustainability and forestry management have resulted in a Wildlife Club being started to plant and care for the Word Forest
  • children have been inspired by the improvements to their village and some want to be carpenters, work in construction, to be stone masons (from helping cut the stone for the classroom) others want vocations as environmental caretakers and in forestry management.

The children added:

  • the classrooms and the trees now provide sheltered spaces for us and the community to read and study
  • far easier to form group discussions in lessons as the teachers can be heard better
  • because they now understand what the Word Forest does, the children realise the importance of carbon eradication and have requested more educational materials on this and other environmental topics.

Click here to read additional comments from the parents and the local community too.