Education Brings Hope to Northern Kenyans
“Educating for Hope”
This week's blog is by Sam Turner, Development & Communications Assistant for KCEP.
Kenya Christian Education Partnership (KCEP) exists because of a serendipitous meeting between two seminarians in the bookstore of Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, in the fall of 2008. (Now Bishop) Qampicha Daniel Wario from northern Kenya met Janet Helms from Pennsylvania and shared with her the plight of the Christians in northern Kenya. Two years later, the two of them met again and through further discussions and prayer, they found a mutual calling from God to help the Christians in northern Kenya by building a Christian Primary School.
Most adults in this part of Kenya are illiterate and many of their children do not attend school. Even when schools exist, they rarely have the books, equipment, or clothing to attend school. Janet and Qampicha both saw that if the children could receive a quality Christian education there would be a foundation for the rest of their lives. An excellent Christian school would also act as a witness to a majority Muslim population in the surrounding area.
Out of this, KCEP was founded in 2010. A local education committee was established to determine policy, bring local resources to build the school, and provide advice and counsel, and Tumaini Academy in Sololo, Kenya was founded. The school was named “Tumaini” which means “hope” in the local language, and our mission statement stems from this: KCEP and Tumaini aim to Educate for Hope.
From this beginning, the school has grown from a plot of land to a campus consisting of eight classrooms, two 12,000 gallon water tanks, a newly completed administration building, (funded by ARDF donors), a library, staff offices, a kitchen, and latrines. Furthermore, there are now five preschools in three locations offering more opportunity for the smaller children. Currently there are 280 students on our main campus and 200 children in the preschools.
In the past year, a key milestone in KCEP’s mission to Educate for Hope has been reached, and new doors have opened to expand the mission’s scope. The very first class of eighth-grade students graduated this past January. Many in the class received top scores on their final exams, and Tumaini students were at the top of the list in their region. These students have now gone off to attend private boarding schools all over Kenya with many of them receiving scholarships from KCEP’s donors to help them attend high school.
With this milestone reached, KCEP has now partnered with ARDF to increase the impact of this already flourishing project. Under ARDF, plans have been designed and the land has been acquired to build St. Andrew’s Boys High School in Marsabit, a key city in Northern Kenya. The school will have classrooms and dormitory space for 120 students.
A Christian high school in this Muslim majority remote location will provide the community with the opportunity for high-quality Christian education closer to home. A girl’s school will follow in time as well. With your help, KCEP will fund the building of this new school.
St. Andrew's will continue to increase the opportunities for children and families of Northern Kenya to receive an education, encounter a positive testimony to the Christian faith in a majority Muslim population, and see a tangible, growing hope for the future of their region.
Sam Turner, originally from Dallas, TX, is a third year student, pursuing his MDiv, at Trinity School for Ministry in Ambridge, PA.