Education & Support for Vulnerable Children, Kenya

May 20, 2014

The Bookworm Project

Dear Supporter,

At the beginning of March 2014, volunteers, using money fundraised by the GVI Charitable Trust, purchased 121 different children's novels, from a variety of reading levels.

In Bombolulu where the average weekly income is about 7 USD, a children’s novel, if found at all, would cost a parent more than a week’s wages. As a result, ‘reading’, often regarded one of the most important aspects in a child’s development is an activity limited to a few devoted school hours each month. In such an environment, a metal box with 121 novels is a treasure, and at the center is proudly called ‘the Olives library’.

Each Monday and Tuesday students from standards 5, 6, 7 and 8 are allowed to take out a library book, and bring it home for the week. The books are signed in and out, and students are held accountable for the books. If the students have not yet finished reading the novel, then they are able to sign it out for another week, as long as they bring the book in and show it to a ‘librarian’ on the assigned day. If the students have finished their books, they are allowed to choose another.

While this is offering students the opportunity to read, many come from homes where one or both parents are illiterate. As a result, if they were to come across a word or phrase they did not understand, they would be unable to ask anyone at home for help. To combat this, each student is given a notebook, where they can write down words that they cannot understand, and ask a teacher the following day.

While 121 different novels go a long way, the library is very popular and novels will be in high demand. For children from a low-income area, books have the potential to fuel the imagination by transferring people from their everyday life into magical and exciting fantasies. They help increase the students' knowledge of the world around them. As the famous American children’s book writer ‘Dr. Seuss’ put it in one of his books ”The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."

We are hoping further donations will enable us to let the library grow.

Thank you for supporting this project.

All the best

GVI Mombasa


Mar 10, 2014

Assisting Teacher Wages at Nyota Ing'arayo School

Dear Supporter, 

GVI supports a school whose local teachers are unable to receive a Kenyan minimum wage because of the 'slum' conditions they live and work. Despite this, the dedication these teachers have to their students education is unwavering. They consistently work throughout the school term and Holiday periods. More often than not, the teachers and the students live in the same communities with poor living conditions and high unemployment rates (reaching 80%). Their wages, to our standards, are considered low, but the teacher's are ever grateful for a guaranteed and reliable monthly income as this is not always the case for teachers in similar schools in the area of Shauri-yako and Bombolulu.

These teachers, with their dedication and work ethic, are one of the schools greatest resources and are needed to guarantee the schools ongoing success. With Nyota becoming a registered school this year (July 2013) their students are able to sit their Kenyan Certified Primary Education Exam (KCPE) and teachers are tirelessly working towards preparing their students and supporting them with review lessons. The students have benefited from the effort by their teachers as well as the consistency of the staffing of the school. With less turnaround, students get the benefit of a teacher who knows their strengths and weaknesses and can better cater their lessons to their student's needs. With the Nyota students are benefiting from consistent local teachers, our volunteers and our relationship with the school has grown to an all time high. With less turnaround on the local side, and more long term volunteers signing up to work with our project, the teacher/volunteer relationship is getting stronger with a shared passion for teaching and for the success of the children of Nyota.

Without your donations, these teachers would have to live from pay cheque to pay cheque and not knowing when those pay cheques will be coming in. It is unfortunately far too typical in Kenya to work and not know when you will be paid for your efforts, forcing you to take loans and seek alternative means of income and employment. With these donations, a guaranteed monthly income ensures the teacher to have to worry less about their finances (as they can now plan for their rent, food, personal items and medical costs) and focus on a more positive life and the students in their classrooms.  These donations are the main reason why we have been able ensure a consistent teaching staff at Nyota and a stronger brighter education for the students in our school.

Thank you for continuing to support this project!

All the best

GVI Mombasa

Dec 30, 2013

Asante sana and an added Lion King performance!

Asante sana

From Olives rehabilitation centre, Nyota Ing’arayo Primary School, GVI Mombasa and the GVI Charitable Trust. 

School is closed for the holidays but not without a bang. The children at Nyota ended with a performance of the childrens favourite movie, The Lion King. The play was abridged to fit the story into a 10 minute play with three songs for students in Standards 5, 6, and 7. “Circle of Life” was given it's own twist and was translated for the Zulu opening into kiwahili and ended with a modernising twist of Waka Waka as a finale!

From the words of the director:
"It was time to perform for the rest of the school.  I stood in the back and told the kids to just look at me while they were on stage. I had to let go of every concept of professional theater I have. We had kids running on and off stage, we could see backstage, and had the occasional side conversation on stage. But I was so incredibly proud. Fortunately I wore my sunglasses, because once again, I was crying throughout the entire performance. They were proud, confident, excited, and able to escape everything that is happening around them. The three girls in Standard 7 who told me they dream of going to California to become actresses, were actresses. The students who have a stutter when they read didn’t have a stutter. The student who never talks spoke louder than anybody else. They were shinning stars."

As we are unable to send across videos, please see the links section to view the amazing Nyota Lion King as a thank you for giving these children the ability to go to school and get an education!

All the best

GVI Kenya


Dec 18, 2013

Merry Christmas from Mombasa!

Krismasi njema!

Merry Christmas from everyone at Olives Rehabilitation Centre, Nyota Ing'arayo School, the communities of Bombolulu and Shauri-yako, GVI Kenya Mombasa and the GVI Charitable Trust!

The schools are now closed for the Christmas break but not without going out with a bang!

Our schools currently have a limited supply of these textbooks, thanks to a donation from previous years, but unfortunately with the wear and tear of our harsh environment and continuous use, the textbooks have begun or already have, fallen apart and there are not enough to go around for each student. Many have to share one textbook among four students providing a lot of challenges for students and their classroom teacher.

With this huge need becoming more prevalent in our schools, a 'Swimathon for Textbooks' was organized for November 8th, 2013. With donations and support to our students from across the globe from people like you, our student representatives  swam the height of Kilimanjaro! This was a proud moment for the students and schools as they were raising the money for themselves and even with their limited swimming skills found the determination and drive to swim four lengths each for their school and for textbooks. 

The donations we've raised for will increase the amount of textbooks in both of our schools to support our students and teachers in their education and have a better ratio of one textbook per two students instead of 4:1. These textbooks will be purchased and supplied to our schools by the time they start their new school year in January 2014 providing a fresh new start to our students and teachers. 

What a great way to end the year. With the continuing support of people like you, hopefully we can get each of the students their own textbooks next year. 

Asante sana for everything in 2013

We wish you a safe and happy holiday. 

GVI Mombasa


Oct 25, 2013

Teaching literacy through story

Dear supporter,

A few years ago, these children we work with in Mombasa would never have picked up a book to read it for fun. It isn’t something that happens often in Kenya and so it isn’t encouraged. One of our GVI goals is to improve literacy rates in order to give these children a chance to succeed. 

The best way we found to do this is with education and teaching literacy through story. Because of generous donations from around the world we have books to support our One to One and Group Reading initiatives which foster the love of reading.  

Today, while observing a Group Reading lesson I was able to see how much of a difference these two programs are making. Our new volunteers, Sophie and Emma, on their second day teaching read stories aloud for their Standard 5 class at Olives. While reading ‘Horton Hears a Who’ by Dr. Seuss, they noticed their time was up and stopped (well tried to stop) reading. The whole class was in protest! “More, Madam! Please!” “Just one more page!” “The bell hasn’t rung yet, we can keep going!” But sadly, the bell then did actually ring and the class had to end. Both Sophie and Emma promised they would continue the story tomorrow and find out if Horton found his Who. But, ‘next time’ wasn’t soon enough as the kids were out reading books with them on their break time. When the break was nearing the end, Madam Sophie tried to collect the books and was met with some more friendly protest! When she finally had them all the children and her laughed as they were trying to get them back as if playing keep-away.  

Olives students enjoy reading time. It really was a wonderful moment to witness knowing how far these kids have come. It’s so touching to know that all of this is possible because of volunteers who spend their time teaching these children and from those willing to donate books or money to support these children they don’t even know. Just wonderful.    

Thank you for your support

Monika Stahlstrom - Education Officer


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Project Leader

Sophie Birkett

GVI Charitable Trust Manager
St Albans, Herts United Kingdom

Where is this project located?

Map of Education & Support for Vulnerable Children, Kenya