Academy Athi

Where is Athi?

Athi is located on a high plateau and belongs to the small village of Juja Farm. It is very dry and hot there. The water from the river is very far away. There are hardly any trees, but sisal agaves and steppe. Very few households have got connection to water and electricity.

Why is a new school needed in Athi?

We help to set up the St. Michael Academy because public schools are completely overcrowded with over 50 children in one class. Most of the children there only achieve poor school-leaving qualifications.

The first two classrooms were built in 2011. Today, 358 students from kindergarten to the final year are studying at the Academy Athi.

St. Michael offers quality education. Many parents in Athi are really poor and the school must be affordable for them with low school fees.

Like all other schoole, St. Michael Academy, like all schools, was closed until October 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Then the governmant ordered that only the 4th and 8th grades are allowed to go to school Since January 2021 the schools have been open again.

Finally new toilets at the Academy in Athi

For years there were problems with the toilets at the St. Michael Catholic Academy: The 4 latrines for over 300 students and teachers were in completely desolate conditions! So the official registration of the school was not possible. Last year the students in the 8th year had to take their exams outside.

On Sunday the new building with the toilets could finally be put into operation and inaugurated.

A big step forward!

Academy Athi creates a hygiene concept

The teachers took chalk to draw spacing rules on the floor.

The tables have been moved apart so that the distances can be maintained.

Hubert Senger and the craftsmen from the Sheltered Workshops also provided foot-operated washbasins for Athi.

The headmistress Ann Wanjiru and Peter Njuguna are very happy about the new sinks. They say thank you very much to the donors.



Mr Njuguna says thank you

Mr Njuguna is a former headmaster and schools inspector and is now retired. For years he has been taking care of the development of the Academy on a voluntary basis. During the school's closure due to Corona, he made sure the teachers were in contact with the students. The teachers posted the tasks via whatsapp.

We supported the Academy in paying the teachers' salaries during the lockdown. The teachers got half of their salary.

Here is Mr Njuguna's letter ...

The Academy is a church school. Therefore, the teachers' salaries have to be financed through the school fees. The 13 teachers could no longer get salaries since April because no school fees were received. We supported the teachers with 50% of their salary during the lockdown.

Mr Njuguna asked for help: read more ...

Final exams

The 8th grade had to take their final exam at another school because the school could not be registered due to the desolate situation of the toilets. The registration documents have now all been submitted and are being examined by the school authorities. Everyone is hoping for the Academy to register soon.

Then the 8th grade students can take their final exam directly at the school.

dining hall

A small cafeteria is built so that the children do not have to eat outdoors. The kitchen still consists of a wooden shed. Until the canteen is ready, the children continue to eat outdoors.

Why is a new school needed in Athi?

We help building St. Michael Academy because public schools are completely overcrowded with often more than 50 children in one class. In these schools children mostly achieve poor school leaving certificates. Michael Academy offers good quality education. Many parents in Athi are really poor, so the school must be affordable for them.

Education as an opportunity

Father Robert Kaiza from Tanzania is a member of the Marianhill Missionaries Congregation.

He is responsible for the community of Athi which belongs to Juja Farm. He is a real talent in organizing and in constructing buildings. He sees education as an opportunity to escape from poverty.

How was the school built?

The first classroom was built by the legacy of our founding member Gitte Kortus, who unfortunately died of cancer in December 2012. More classrooms were built with the help of many fundraising runs. The student company "Wilma Helps" of the Wilma Rudof High School in Berlin contributed to the financing and many other schools helped, too.

Who helps in Athi?

The parents have been very active in the construction of the school: they excavated pits for the foundations and helped concreting the floor slab.

The driving force is Mr. Njuguna, a retired headmaster and schools inspector. He has found his life's work in the construction and mentoring of the school. He supervises the development of this elementary school in Athi with great commitment, passion and great success.

What does feeding programme mean?

Since 2005 we have supported the school in Athi with school lunch. The children get breakfast and lunch at school.

In Athi, cooking is still done in a traditional way in a cooking hut. The food usually consists of corn, millet and beans. A new school kitchen has to be constructed soon.

Help the children in Athi!

What's next?

In the next few years, the school is to be completed and expanded.

The new toilet block under construction has to be completed. After long discussions the school opted for traditional pit latrines instead of flush lavatories and a wetland plant. Constructed wetlands for waste water treatment are unknown in Kenia and the authorities do not approve these plants so far.

And then?

Mr. Njuguna, Father Kaiza and the parents agree: They would like to put up a training center for young people where they can learn manual jobs in future. The property is already there.

Help to complete the St. Michael Academy in Athi, thus giving the children in Athi a good education!

How did the St. Michael Academy in Athi come about?

In 1996, during our first visit, the first two nursery groups were taught in adjoining rooms of the church. There was no water in Athi. It had to be brought by hand or with donkey carts from far down the river. Our association first made sure that the church roof got gutters. So the rainwater could be collected and the children had water for hand washing and drinking.

  • 2011: The first two classrooms of the new school are completed
  • 2012: A connection to water and electricity is installed
  • 2013: Five groups can move from the rooms of the church to the new school
  • 2014: St. Michael Academy Athi consists of nursery, pre-unit and class 1-4

  • 2016: Grades 1-6 of elementary school are taught in the new classrooms
  • 2017: With nusery and pre-unit, more than 200 pupils attend the primary school Athi
  • 2018: The first pupils of grade 8 pass their final exams and do very well