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.
Public schools with over 50 children in one class are completely overcrowded and the children usually only achieve poor school leaving certificates.
So we help to build St. Michael Academy.
St. Michael offers quality education. Many parents in Athi are really poor and the school must be affordable for them with low school fees.
Because of government instruction, St. Michael Academy, like all schools, is closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Njuguna is a retired headmaster and educational officer. He has helped to start and set up the Academy. During Corona he organizes the classes. The teachers are now in contact with their students via whatsapp. So the children can do some work for school.
We support the Academy with the teachers` salaries. They get half of their salary during the pandemic.
290 students study at the Academy Athi. The first 8th grade had to pass their final exams at another school. Because of the terrible situation of the toilets, the school could not be registered. A large pit was dug.The new toilets are still under construction.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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