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Southern Cross Kenya Aid to Educate


Southern Cross Kenya Infant & Primary School, Bombo Village, Mombasa, KENYA


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Posted by jk_gartrell on April 30, 2019 at 7:20 PM Comments comments (0)


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Jenny Gartrell raising funds for Southern Cross Kenya Aid to Educate



Posted by jk_gartrell on March 16, 2019 at 5:20 PM Comments comments (0)


HOME SWEET HOME! I have arrived home after flight cancellations, delays etc and very happy to see the family. It has been a busy but rewarding month with some interesting moments, hard decisions to make and difficult problems to solve.

The last 10 days have been very hectic ensuring that everything was sorted out before I left. All of our 27 new students, 19 in class One, have now settled in and we have made some big decisions concerning the future of the school. Due to changes announced last year by the Ministry of Education Primary schools have to finish by Class 6, not Class 8, over the next 3 years. Also the school inspectors have been putting increased pressure on us to have only one class, not split classes in each room. It is all very complicated, however, in view of this and other reasons, we will only have classes 1 to 6 from next year.

All of our Class 6 & 7 students from this year will have to attend a different school from next year. I spoke to the students and their parents/guardians explaining that we will continue to take an interest in their progress and they are to apply to be taken back into our program when they begin High School. We currently are supporting 22 students in high school and technical training.



At the conclusion of the parents meeting I changed into my “deri” dress ready for a school assembly. Some of the mothers were still there and had great fun trying to teach me how to “move” like them !! It was a very funny and special moment.

CLASS ONE & TWO – MADAM FIONA I spent quite a lot of time in this classroom and really enjoyed watching them perform a puppet show as they sang “Old McDonald had a Farm”.

Fiona has been with us since we opened and does a wonderful job with these little ones. They have to be at least 5 but some of them are 7 or 8 years old, as the family has not had any funds to send them to school earlier.

GILBERT is a very talented 7 year old boy in Class 2. He has drawn a mural on the outside of our “library” a small area at the end of the verandah we have partitioned off with plywood. AMAZING !!


These 6 girls are the lunch helpers. They assist with serving the lunches and make tea for the teachers. I gave them all a little pair of earrings I had been given as a donation. They were so excited and happy.

NEW TECHNICAL COLLEGE STUDENTS - FIKIRINI JANET & MARY Three of our graduating students from last year have now been enrolled in technical colleges. Fikirini is studying electrical with another of our boys who is now in his second year. Mary & Janet wanted to study hairdressing. It was difficult to find a suitable college for the girls, as the one we had previously used was a disappointment. However after checking out several we are now very happy to have found one that is within walking distance and very professionally run.

GRADUATED TECH STUDENTS I was so excited to talk to two of our students who graduated from Class 8 two years ago. They have been attending the Christian Industrial Training Centre studying mechanics and have now completed the theory section. Both are currently in a workplace doing 3 months practical to complete their course and Baraka’s boss has already indicated that he will consider offering him a job when he is qualified. Very proud of these boys.

I had a meeting with a lovely lady, Ann, who I have known for many years. She is involved in an organization formed in Mombasa called Kids League Kenya to assist underprivileged children to attend High School. They took in our top boy from our 2016 Class 8’s. Mathew Matano is now in Form 3 at a national school in Western Kenya. Ann visited our school for the first time and it was wonderful to introduce her to the children she spoke to them and explained that if they did well at school they could apply to her organization for the same support as Mathew had received.

I spent a lovely evening with Paresh Shah, his wife Mira and their two terrific boys. Paresh has been amazing over the years organizing so much support and many donations for our school.

On my last Saturday I again went to the school and enjoyed time with our High School students. I spoke to all of them individually and discussed how they are going and their hopes for the future. I really enjoyed reconnecting with all of these kids, many of whom I have known for ten years now. They will be coming to the school to do extra study and revision every Saturday as they all told me they could do better if they had some revision text books. We purchased the books and I have organized to provide breakfast for them on Saturdays. Some of the High School kids enjoying breakfast and with their new revision text books after they covered them all in plastic.

LUCKY KAINGU Lucky graduated at the end of last year but unfortunately didn’t achieve a high enough result to be taken into Celebration High School. However, Beth spoke to me about what a well-behaved, respectful and dedicated boy he is and how desperate he is to go to high school. Fortunately we were able to place him in a great school called Allidina Visram. This is a very big school and quite a distance away in the town of Mombasa. We purchased him a bike to enable him to travel to school and Beth spent a full day purchasing his uniform and all of the other requirements. He and his mother are so very grateful for this wonderful opportunity

RASHID & KALUME On my last Sunday I picked up our two boys who are boarding students at Mombasa Secondary school (getting permission to take them out was an interesting challenge) and we went shopping. They both needed some sports shoes and clothes, as they didn’t have any clothes other than their uniforms. I had thought we would go to the shopping centre but the boys said that would be too expensive so insisted we go to the huge local markets called Kongowea. What an experience !! The boys were very protective of me as we walked around for 4 hours (not another white person to be seen). They had so much fun picking out what they wanted and Rashid was a great negotiator. I gave them a budget of how much they could spend in total and they each ended up with 3 pairs of shorts, 6 tops, trainers, underwear and socks. After we had some lunch they asked to come back to my apartment (which is within walking distance of their school) and they were so excited trying on all their clothes and taking each other’s photos. They were so grateful and proud of their purchases; we all had a wonderful day.

After my final round of meetings with the teachers and Beth it was time to say goodbye. I am working on some plans for the future of the school and the program. I will give more information about these changes over the next few months. Again, my heartfelt thanks to you all for your interest and wonderful support. We really have achieved so much and had a huge impact on so many of these kids and their family’s lives.

Our wonderful team from left back row Daniel, Fiona, Evans, Beth and front row Julius, Purity, me, Phillip


Posted by jk_gartrell on March 1, 2019 at 6:10 PM Comments comments (0)


Well here I am in Mombasa for trip number 11 after first coming over in 2009. I arrived Thursday night and spent Friday meeting with Beth and discussing all of the issues etc at the school. Our biggest problem is that our head teacher from last year did not turn up at the beginning of school. He had found another job but not bothered to inform us. So now we have to try to find a replacement. Saturday morning I headed off to the school and met with our Principal Julius and some of our High School students. Sunday I attended Utange Baptist Church with Debbie & her husband Paul. They have just opened a new High School called Celebration and taken in 13 of our graduating students from last year. After the service I enjoyed a lovely lunch at their orphanage Casuarina and met all of their great kids and some volunteers from all over the world.

Monday I was welcomed by all the kids at the school. They had a special assembly for me and sang “Mama Kenya” – yes I did shed a few tears. One of the first things I noticed on my arrival at the school was a wonderful donation of 3 solar fans we had received from one of my friends in the Indian Community here who have been so supportive. Sanjeev Patel and his wife Hemal came to the school with their 14 year old daughter Saloni. She had a project at school to create something that could improve the lives of the disadvantage children in Mombasa. She researched and eventually successfully built these amazing fans. We are so grateful. They kindly invited me to dinner a few nights later and are a lovely family.

Beth & I spent the next day interviewing teachers and found one who seemed very good. Beth then assisted him finding somewhere to rent as he had come from Kalifi, a town about 2 hours up the coast. We organised for him to commence in two days. The day came, but he didn’t. Beth eventually spoke to him and he had changed his mind about the job but not notified us. So frustrating! We then wasted another day and appointed another teacher. Evans is his name and I am so much happier with him than the first one. He came straight into the class and fitted in really well. He is teaching our oldest students in Class Eight.

One day on my way home one day I saw Safari who has been selling fruit outside the shopping centre for the past 10 years. I got to know him well over the years and 3 years ago assisted him to have a special pair of shoes made for his deformed foot. He asked me to come back in two days and take his photo as he wanted to dress really “smart”. He is so proud of his shoes that he polishes them every day and the difference it has made to his life is amazing. He was unable to get dressed smartly before as he was unable to wear shoes – now look at the difference.

A few days later when I arrived at the school the older kids were all dripping wet and exhausted. I had organized a water tanker to deliver some water as we had run out. However it broke down on the track to the school and the kids had to transfer a whole truck full of water to the school manually in 20 litre containers!!

I enjoyed reading some of the new books I had brought with me to some of our new Class One kiddies. It was such fun.

The following weekend I visited two of our boys, Rashid & Kalume, who graduated from our school 3 years ago. They are now in Form 3 at Mombasa High School. They have matured into wonderful young men. I have also arranged for them to receive extra tuition from Vincent, a young man I met 8 years ago when he was working at the café I always go to. He is still studying and working part-time and very committed to helping the boys. He has visited the school several times over the years and come to know them so is also mentoring them as they head towards a new and exciting future.

I visited our 13 students at Celebration High School, they are all so grateful for the opportunity to attend this wonderful new school and to receive full sponsorship from Debbie’s supporters in England and Florida U.S.A. through the Baptist Church.

Last Friday was the opening ceremony at Celebration High School. It was a wonderful day. Debbie and Paul are to be congratulated for their amazing achievement.

On Saturday I went for a walk around the community accompanied by some of the kids. I always manage to find a baby to cuddle. We finished up at Julius’ home. He wife is a dressmaker and gave me a dress she had made for me. It was such a very special gift, so thoughtful.

So over half way thru my time here, still lots to do but making great progress. I will send another newsletter with the news from my last 10 days here. My best wishes and heartfelt thanks to you all for your interest and support over the years



Posted by jk_gartrell on November 20, 2018 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)





 We will be organising Christmas food parcels for the families of our students again this year and are hoping to be able to give one to all of our 102 families.

Each parcel will cost us approx $20 and contain the following items :


  • 3kg maize flour
  • 3kg wheat flour
  • 2 kg porridge flour
  • 2 kg sugar
  • Oil
  • 2kg beans
  • 2kg rice
  • Salt


If you would like to purchase a $20 gift certificate as a Christmas gift for family or friends or if you would like to make a donation to assist us raise the funds needed we would be most grateful.

We sincerely thank you for your support and together we can bring a little Christmas cheer to the children and their families

Merry Christmas 

Jenny Gartrell


31 Jervis Way Sorrento 6020

or a bank transfer to

Account Name: J M Gartrell

ANZ BANK Warwick

BSB 016-495 A/C No: 574069074

Spring Fever High Tea Fund Raiser

Posted by on October 5, 2018 at 4:25 AM Comments comments (0)


SUNDAY 28th OCTOBER, 2018 2.45PM FOR 3.00PM START TO 5.00PM


CHARGE : $33.00 PER PERSON Numbers are strictly limited to 70 people,

Please register your interest so we can reserve your seat by contacting CHERI HARRIS 0409 290 744 email:

Come and join your friends for a great afternoon of indulgence and help Jenny in her undying quest to support her students from primary school to high school and all the mega costs involved with that.


Posted by jk_gartrell on November 29, 2017 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (0)


                      CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS 

Are you tired of trying to find a Christmas present for someone who has everything or struggling to find a gift that can be sent overseas


Purchase a gift certificate that gives, on behalf of the person, a Christmas Gift to a child ($10) or food parcel to a needy family ($20)



Another great Christmas Gift idea are our TREE OF LIFE EARRINGS. These gorgeous silver earrings can be purchased for $22 and 50% ($11) of the purchase price goes directly to SCKATE

Please contact me if interested in either of the above. Together we can make Christmas a little better for the children and families of Bombo Village and surrounding communities,

Asante sana,


Jumbo, Habari everyone,

I am now safely home and have spent time catching up with my three beautiful grandchildren and family. So at last the bags are unpacked, washing done and house cleaned (despite husband’s opinion that he had kept it spotless) and its time to finish writing the final chapter……………………..


Today is election day so I am staying at my accommodation as advised. All sounds very quiet on the streets. I’m keeping an eye on things watching the election news on the TV as I do some admin work for the school on the computer. There is a family of very entertaining monkeys performing right outside my window, they are hilarious and very cute



I’m a little frustrated to not be able to get out and about but staying in again as advised to do some washing, make phone calls home and mend some of the uniforms. There was some rioting and problems in parts of Mombasa but general very quiet as due to threats of violence if they went to vote most people stayed home yesterday.

Late afternoon, the caretaker - Tuesday (yes that’s his name!!) came to say that the shops and cafes were open and it was safe to go out in the local area. Yippee !!!


Arrived at the school and 18 out of our 20 Class 8 students were there studying for the national KCPE exam starting on Monday. Met up with Rashid & Kalume – two of our students that graduated last year. They attend Mombasa Secondary School as boarding students. I took them back to my accommodation so that we could surprise Mette, a Danish volunteer from a few years ago who become very close to these two boys and others during several months over the three years that she volunteered at the school. Mette is now very happily married to the gorgeous Daniel. They had a celebration of their marriage at the school two years ago and now have a beautiful little girl called Andrea. I made the skype call to Mette then turned the screen around to show Rashid and Kalume sitting there. She was so excited to see them and it was a great surprise. Afterwards I took the boys to a café for lunch but had to order for them, as they were totally overwhelmed by the menu. We had a lovely time.

After saying goodbye to the boys I met up with Madhu Shah & his wife Ranjan. from London. We set off to visit Shanzu Children’s Home as they wanted to visit an orphanage while in Mombasa. We had organised the visit with Sister Catherine but when we arrived no one seemed to know who she was. We realised we were at the wrong place but stayed for a visit anyway. Madhu was keen to help them but I offered to check them out first. I made some enquiries about the orphanage and the director Christopher. All reports indicate that it is not a good one to support. It is not registered as an orphanage and both Julius and Beth had heard many stories about Christopher mis-using funds that are donated. It was great to meet up with Madhu & Ranjan again and I have promised to try to find a genuine orphanage for them to assist.


Firstly Beth and I had a meeting to discuss a new accounts format I have implemented and how to improve our reporting procedures. Then it was time to head out to the school. At the school had a meeting with Farida and her mama after their visit to the assessment centre for children with learning problems. Both Farida & Karembo have an appointment to be fully assessed on Tuesday 2nd January.

Organised for some of our High School students to come and talk to me. I spoke to four of them that have not been performing very well and lack commitment to their studies. I informed them they would receive a formal warning letter and if no improvement in results and commitment was seen over Term One their sponsorship would be terminated.

I also had the very sad job of informing a third one of our students that his sponsorship was being terminated. His term three report dropped to all E’s and he could offer no explanation. He had also been absent several days for no reason and the school had sent him a warning letter. So difficult to do this, certainly not a decision I make lightly but I have to focus on those that are really committed and fully appreciate the opportunity they are being given.


Back to the school. Met with one of our class 7 boys Abdallah and his mother. He has been struggling in class. Found out that he has been having severe earaches even after receiving treatment for an infection a few months ago. Organised for him to receive a medical check of his hearing and ears and he and his mother agreed that he would repeat Class 7 next year. Then set off for a village walk and some home visits with Julius



Out to the school once more, even though it has been raining heavily all night. My new favourite tuk tuk driver, Marcey is one of only two females drivers here in Mombasa- just love her hat !! She brought along her daughter Jasmine for the ride.

Did a full check of all our uniforms making note of those that need repairs and replacing. Took some more home to do a bit of mending and sewing on of buttons

Had a meeting with our builder / repair man Cosmos as we have suffered some major termite damage to the office and kitchen / storeroom area over the past few months. We need to replace many of the roof timbers and the office door and doorframe after treating the area to hopefully prevent future problems.


Set off to the school on the local bus (matatu) as the rain seemed to have cleared. But just as I got off to change buses at “mad corner” down it came. Met up with one of our high school boys and we caught a motorbike taxi (boda boda) for the last part of our journey as it was really raining heavy by now. Arrived at the school absolutely soaked thru. Had a long meeting with Beth & Julius to go over everything we had discussed during my visit and to check that we are organised for next year. After the meeting Beth and I went to visit Sister Catherine at the Shanzu Orphans Home that I was trying to find on Saturday with Madhu and his wife. The home is partly supported by St Joseph's Catholic Church here in Mombasa as their original founder from Germany is now elderly and handed it over to the Church to run. They seem to have a very well set up home and did not appear to be in desperate need of support.



I had an invitation from Estelle, the lady I had met with earlier in my visit to catch up for coffee so she could introduce me to Debbie, an English lady who, with her husband Paul run a charity and started and orphanage here 10 years ago. The organisation is called Utange Orphans and their orphanage is Casuarina House. It was really wonderful to meet Debbie and find out all about her story. She and her husband are here working as missionaries for the Baptist Church. We discovered that we are both trying to help orphans in adjoining communities and have many things in common. We discussed how we can work together to help each other and I am very excited to meet her again on Sunday as she invited me to attend their church in Utange where her husband Paul will be giving the sermon.

It was then time to head out to the school for our Class 8 graduation lunch. Safari Bakari, one of graduating students who has been studying cooking at a Tech college had offered to do all the cooking. We included all our students from last year so there were 35 of us. Safari prepared pilau and made an amazing cake. I was so impressed by the skills he has gained. The pilau was yummy and the cake delicious. I gave out good luck cards to all the Class 8 students for their exams that begin on Monday and presented Julius with his Senior First Aid Certificate. We had organised for him to do the 2 day course thru the Red Cross in September.



Set off in the rain for my final village walk with Julius. Got totally soaked but loved visiting so many of our kids and their families.


Went to Utange Baptist Church to meet up with Debbie and her husband Paul. Great sermon delivered by Paul and lots of fun singing and dancing.

Afterwards joined them at their orphanage for lunch with their 22 orphans aged from 12 to 16 years. They have had these same kids for the past 10 years. Debbie & Paul are associated with the Baptist Church in England and a group of friends who formed an organisation to build the orphanage ten years ago. They also have a feeding program run from the Baptist Church in Utange every Saturday for approx. 500 needy kids. I found out that some of our most needy kids often go there. We discussed how we would be very happy to take some of these kids into our school next year as we have 20 places opening up with our Class 8 graduating this year. Debbie then told me about a connection they have established with some Baptist churches in Florida and how they have been able to raise funds to build a high school in Kashani – our closest neighbouring community (only about 15 walk from our school.) It is currently under construction and due to open in January 2019. We discussed how they could offer places to our graduating students and possibly organise sponsors for them in the US. Just amazing and so exciting that we can help each other and I really look forward to an ongoing relationship and friendship with Debbie & Paul. They live in Mombasa for 8 months of the year and it will be great to have someone who is working in the same communities and therefore really understands the issues we are both dealing with.

After lunch I went to visit our oldest student Baraka Kenga who begins his final High School exams tomorrow. He has now completed his fourth year, the final year as a boarder. I gave him a good luck card and fingers crossed he does well.

That night I was invited to join our Indian friend Paresh, his wife Mira and two other couples and all their children for dinner. I have met the others before as they all have supported us over the last few years. Paresh also invited Kanti Bhudia, the wonderful man who organised the new iron sheet roof for our school. I really enjoyed meeting him again and he offered us his support in the future including as many metal desks as we may need from now on. During the meal Paresh handed me his phone to talk to someone – they had just offered us 100kg of lentils and 100kg of beans for our lunch program. Amazing !!. We organised to get 10kg of each per week for ten weeks in Term One. I then was talking to Mira and the other two wives whose children all belong to a swimming club. Paresh & Mira’s son Rushab is an elite swimmer and holds some Junior titles for Kenya in backstroke – look for him at the next Olympics. He and two of the other kids have to do so many community service hours for their school and it was suggested that they could take some of our kids each day over a two week program and teach them how to swim at a local swimming pool.


Met with Beth and Anne, a Belgium lady who is associated with the organisation here called A.C.T.S.(Assist a child to School). She helped me get sponsorship for our top student, Mathew Katana Mngumi at the national school in West Kenya last year. We spoke about some changes in the organisation for next year and that they would like to support more girls. If our two top girls, Mwanajuma Katano and Mariam Bakari do well in their KCPE exams she told me to submit their applications so they can be considered for sponsorship in High School next year. Fingers crossed !!

Next Beth and I went to Wa Kesho Dressmaking College run by Jane Mbinga & her husband Peter where one of our students, Agnes has been a student this year. She will sit a National Accreditation exam in dressmaking in December. Jane & Peter run the college for orphans and street girls to give them some life skills. Apart from teaching them dressmaking they learn skills in soap making, cake baking and some basic business skills. I met them in January and I am impressed by the way they run the college. We hope to have more of our girls attend next year.

Beth and I then went to visit the swimming pool in Kiembeni to check out if we can organise the community service program for Paresh’s son and his friends to take groups there over a 2 week period in December. All looks good and we will organise for them to take Classes One to Four.

Then we went out to the school for final goodbyes and it was back to my apartment to pack my bags. The end of another visit which, as always had plenty of highs and lows. But it is very satisfy to see our graduating students on an exciting path into a much brighter future than they could have possibly hoped for without our support. A huge thank you to everyone for helping me to make this possible

have a siku njema (good day) kwa heri,




Posted by jk_gartrell on October 26, 2017 at 11:00 PM Comments comments (0)


Jumbo, Habari everyone.

I am writing this from Mombasa, Kenya after arriving last Wednesday night. It took 28 long hours of travelling and is my 10th trip since first coming in 2009 with Maureen Dewhirst.

BOOK SALE Firstly, I would like to thank all of you responsible for making our book sale another great success. To those that purchased or donated books and to all of the wonderful helpers who either helped sort, move or sell the books a HUGE thank you. We raised the total amount of $3,561 

Now back to my first few days here in Mombasa………………

THURSDAY Met with Beth in the morning and then off to the school. They had my favourite githeri for lunch, a mix of beans, chick peas and corn - very yummy. Then had a meeting with the teachers after lunch and I got to meet Kennedy and Daniel our two new teachers who started in Term Two.

Kennedy Danie

FRIDAY Beth and I had a discussion about all the things I hope to do while here and then we headed off for a meeting with the Chief. I have known him since my first trip here and we have a very good relationship (my husband’s a bit jealous). We had a very productive meeting. We discussed some of the problems we are having. One is that sometimes in selecting the most needy children to offer a place to in our school we have found it difficult to check if some of the information they tell us is accurate. He offered to become involved in the selection process which will make it easier to identify those that are most in need of our help.

SATURDAY I asked some of our graduating students from last year to come to the school so I could meet them and find out how they are going. Five of them are studying at Technical Colleges. One is in high school. I was absolutely delighted to see how they have taken the opportunity we offered them and have excelled. The group I spoke to pictured below all asked me to thank their sponsors who have continued to support them in furthering there education. From the left is Athumani – studying mechanics at Technical College, Agnes – dressmaking, Neema – hairdressing, Safari – studying a combination of dressmaking, tailoring,cooking and computer (a one year course at the WEMA centre, which is an organisation to help orphan and needy kids gain some basic skills) Baraka – mechanics and Kahindi is in form one at high school. Here are the same kids 4 or 5 years ago. The change in their eyes is what gets to me most. They now have hope for their future.

I then set off for a walk around the village and to visit some of the kids homes with our Class 7 teacher Phillip. We were accompanied by such a great group of kids. Some of those I had been talking to and some from Class 8 who had been doing Sat morning revision in preparation for their big national exam (KCPE – Kenyan Certificate of Primary Education) at the end of this month. From the left - Athumani, Katana, Safari, ME, Dennis, Phillip, Kombo, Kahindi and Neema, Ten bananas, 5 oranges and big bag of peanuts cost me a whole $2. We visited Katana Charo’s home. Katana his sister Karembo and brother Keah have all been at our school since 2011. Karembo & Katana with their Mama (Keah was not home) The mother fries fish to support the family and was very grateful to me for supporting her children and visiting their home. Next was Shukrani & Bahati Kazungu Then we went to Safari’s home where he very proudly showed us inside the hut he has built for himself. It is traditional for a boy to move out into his own hut when he is 16. He has down a great job and I was so excited looking around I forgot to take a photo from the outside !! We visited and talked to lots more and had a wonderful afternoon.

MONDAY Beth and I started the day with a meeting about our plans for next two years. The education system in Kenya is about to undergo a very big change. Students will now attend primary school up to Class 6 then move onto middle school for 3 years and high school for a further 3 years. We will remain as a primary school only and therefore our students will move on after completing Class 6. This change will happen in 2019 and will mean big changes in our teaching staff, room allocations, number of students in each year etc, etc. We will maintain our current number of students enrolled at the school of 150. Beth and I then went out to the school and I had individual meetings with Teacher Daniel. Purity and Fiona after eating a lunch of ugali and cabbage (happily gave most of mine away) The kids will be starting their Term Three exams tomorrow and I hope to spend some time in the classes with them - I may even try to see if I can answer some of the questions. Pretty confident I can manage the English exam but not sure about the other subjects. I had a look at the exam papers before I left the school and Class 8 science has me worried, may have to do a but of study overnight !!!

Until my next newsletter, kwa heri from Mombasa, have a siku njema (good day) Jenny


Posted by jk_gartrell on May 16, 2017 at 9:30 PM Comments comments (0)


I have just picked up the new Entertainment Books for this year. The book begins from 1 June. If you have ordered a book thank you so much for the support. We raise $14 from every book ordered.

They can now be collected from 31 Jervis Way SORRENTO (in white box by front door)

If this is not convenient please contact me and we can make other arrangements.

If you would like to order a book or the digital version on your phone you can go to our order page using the following link.


Posted by jk_gartrell on May 16, 2017 at 9:25 PM Comments comments (0)


Jumbo everyone, I hope this beautiful autumn weather finds you all happy & healthy.

SCHOOL NEWS The school opened in January and Term One went very smoothly. All twenty five new students have settled in well. Term Two commenced last week with two new teachers. Madame Amina who has been with us since we opened in 2011 has retired from teaching. She is due to have her third baby very soon. Her class 3 & 4 has been taken over by Mr DANIEL OKELLO. Daniel is 26 years old and has two years experience. He started at the school a month ago and has proved to be an enthusiastic teacher and hopefully will be a great asset to our school. Madam Purity is on maternity leave for Term Three as her first child is due this month. Her class 5 & 6 will be taken by Mr KENNEDY KIPCHUMBA. Kennedy is 32 years old and an experienced and well qualified teacher. We will assess his performance over the next few weeks as when Purity returns in Term Three we may consider retaining him as a part-time teacher. He would assist in all classes and tutor some of those that are struggling and any of our High School students that would like help.

The school participated in an inter-schools sports carnival in soccer, volley ball and netball. Twelve of our students were selected to played in the zonal finals. From the finals four of our students were chosen to participate in the sub-county level; Girls Soccer – Piba Baniani Zawad kazungu Winnie karisa Boys Volleyball - Claudio Sirya An excellent performance by Piba Baniani earned her a place in the Mombasa County team. She travelled to Malindi for 4 days with the team to play in the inter-county carnival. What a great achievement and experience for her.

DONATION FROM INDIAN COMMUNITY – MR SARJU & NIRAJU SHAH We have recently received a wonderful donation from friends and family of our Indian friends in Mombasa. Mr Sarju & Niraju Shah live in England and recently visited Mombasa. They arranged with Beth a very generous amount of items such as school socks, stationery, books etc. A huge thank you to all who contributed to this fantastic donation. 

Here is an update of our amazing results from our fundraising this year. and the latest news from the school.

FASHION PARADE - MARCH Our goal was to raise enough funds to pay for our graduate students fees for High School and Technical training for this year. The amount needed is $3,500 We are supporting 18 of our 21 students engaged in further studies this year. Three students have been fortunate enough to be the recipients of support from other organisations. The 21 students are placed as below: 5 in High School as Boarding School 11 in High School as Day students 5 in Tech Training colleges AN AMAZING AMOUNT OF $4,282 WAS RAISED A huge THANK YOU to Karen Sloper, Jan Batt, Chris Turvey, K’Sara Fashions, Sara from Park Lane Jewellery, North Beach Bowling Club and our gorgeous models and many other hard workers for making this such a great success.

BOOK SALE - APRIL We held our bi-annual book sale for 3 weeks rather than the usual one and the outcome was fantastic but only possible thanks to our many wonderful workers. Also a huge thank you to all those that donated so many amazing books. Funds raised from our book sales support our breakfast & lunch program the cost of which is now approximately $10,000 per year. We hope to hold another sale in October as usual. TOTAL RAISED $4,557

TREE OF LIFE EARRINGS Thanks to Sara and Park Lane Jewellery we have the opportunity to raise funds through sales of these gorgeous silver earrings for our signature piece. They can be purchased for $22 and 50% of the purchase price goes directly to us, so for every pair sold we receive $11. I have a supply of these earrings now so please contact me if you are interested. We really are making a huge difference in the lives of all the children and their families. It is so evident whenever I visit that they are happier, healthier and more hopeful for the future. Their smiles say it all. My heartfelt thanks for your ongoing interest and support Jenny


Posted by jk_gartrell on May 16, 2017 at 9:20 PM Comments comments (0)


Jumbo everyone, I am sorry for taking so long to write this final newsletter with all the news of my last two weeks in Mombasa. I have spent the 3 weeks since I got home contacting the 23 sponsors of our graduating students and organizing sponsorships for the 25 new students we have taken into our program in January. Also sorting out all of the other issues I dealt with during my trip. Here is a summary Firstly a huge thank you to all that have expressed their desire to continue supporting their sponsor child thru high school and a big welcome to the many new sponsors of our incoming students.

BUILDING OF COMMUNITY HALL Unfortunately the cost I received from the building contractor was well over our budget. I will continue to work hard on making this project happen as soon as possible. I have contacted another contractor and sent him details of our building project. Fingers crossed I get a costing that is within our budget.


SAFARI BAKARI has commenced a course thru the WEMA Centre. The Wema Centre is a Charitable Organization founded in 1993 by Drew Brown and his wife in 1993. They are UK expats in the tea industry for 20 odd years Wema Centre is involved in the rescue, rehabilitation and training of both street and needy community children in Mombasa. It offers a variety of services ranging from child residential care, health care, educational support, and vocational training. Safari will study tailoring, computer and cooking for one year. If he achieves good results he will then be offered the opportunity to attend a boarding college for two years specializing in one of these. I had a lovely talk to him and he is very keen to become a chef.

Another four of our graduating students wanted to learn a trade. Beth and I spent time searching for vocational training courses that were affordable and offered accredited certification at the conclusion.

Here is what we have now organized :

ATHUMANI MATANO & BARAKA KARABU These two boys did not qualify for a place in high school but were very keen to do a vocational training course in mechanics. They have commenced study at the Christian Industrial Training Centre run thru the Anglican Church.

AGNES NYAMAWI Agnes was very eager to study dressmaking. I went with her to a small training college and was very impressed by the couple that were running the school specifically for under privileged girls from needy homes. I enrolled her in the one year course and she was so happy. The training is held in a building on the grounds of St Peters Catholic School in Bombalulu, a suburb of Mombasa about 30 minutes from her home.

NEEMA KENGA I visited a hairdressing training college with Neema and met the director Christine. She is very committed to assisting underprivileged girls to gain a qualification. Neema will not only study hairdressing but some business studies too, to assist her in the future. At the end of the one year course she will spend one month doing work experience before sitting for an accreditation exam.

FUNDRAISING FASHION PARADE MONDAY 20 MARCH NORTH BEACH BOWLING CLUB 2PM TO 4PM $30 p.p. includes glass of champagne and afternoon tea


As mentioned in my previous newsletter all proceeds raised by this event will go into a fund to help support our graduating students with their further studies. The total cost to support all of the students for this year is nearly $10,000. After allowing for the sponsorships and funding we have been able to arrange there is a shortfall of approx $4,500. So we need to really ensure this event is a huge success. Please come along and bring as many friends with you as you can. We are very hopeful that we can raise this amount. We are also in need of raffle prizes, so please get in touch if you can help.

NEW SHOES A huge thank you to Jean Simpson and her friends for raising funds to purchase shoes for all of the children. It was a huge job to take all of the measurements to ensure they were fitted with the correct sizes. I chose a canvas shoe in dark green. This is more comfortable for those that are not used to wearing hard school shoe and was within our budget. The day they all received their new shoes the kids were all so excited and very very happy. The little ones didn’t know how to lace them so it took some time to show them but was a wonderful afternoon.

DONATED ITEMS Once again Paresh Shah and the wonderful Indian friends of our school made a donation of items to the school. As always, their amazing ongoing support is really appreciated. We received the following : 1. FILING CABINET 2. DESKS X 5 3. TOOTHBRUSHES X 144 4. TOOTHPASTE 2 boxes 6x12 each 5. SANITARY NAPKINS 3 x 24 pieces 6. BLACKBOARD DUSTERS X 5 7. DUSTLESS CHALK - WHITE X 10boxes COLOUR X 5boxes The Mombasa Lodge, which many of them belong to have also taken on the support of one of our students in High School. ASANTE SANA !!

Each day after I finished at the school I would stop off at a café on my home for a fresh juice and to write up my notes from the day. One day I was sitting there busy on my computer when an English man sitting at the next table asked what I was so busy doing. I told him about the school and he was very interested. He asked for my contact details, which I normally would not have given but he informed me with pride that he was 85 years old and had been living in Mombasa for 35 years. He rang me the next morning and asked if I could meet him that afternoon at the café as he had something to give me. I was absolutely stunned when he handed me an envelope full of money. It contained 50,000ksh approx. $650, just amazing and so generous of him. I was really touched by his faith in me after just a 20 minute conversation. We used his donation to purchase some text books we urgently needed.

One afternoon during my last week at the school Julius came to me and told me that one of the girls Mariam was very sick. She was running a high temperature and I asked him the quickest way we could get her to the clinic. Beth was attending to business away from the school. He rang a motor bike taxi (boda boda) assuring me that the driver was very safe and reliable. Marium & I got on and rode thru the village to her home to pick up her mother. She then joined us – all on the one bike and we carried on to the clinic. Mariam was treated for malaria and was recovering well. I left them to return to their home on the bike after the clinic visit and decided to catch a matatu (bus). Four on a bike didn’t raise an eyebrow over there !!! Fortunately Mariam and her mother are very slim.

My final day at the school was a very busy one. We had asked all the parents to come for a meeting. It was great to see so many of the new parents & guardians attend. It gave me the opportunity to explain about the vital role the childrens sponsors play in supporting the kids We are also trying to enforce the rule that all students need to present a birth certificate or if they do not have one to lodge an application to obtain one. This is quite a process. It is also amazing to see how often the name they register the child under at the school is quite different to the one on the birth certificate. It is a problem thru out Kenya. We are trying to educate them that they need to always use the child’s official name. Again a very complex issue. I also had a meeting with the teachers as I had been told by Amina that she was pregnant and would not be returning next term. She has been a teacher at the school since we opened and we will miss her. I have since been surprised by the news from Beth that one of our other teachers, Purity is also pregnant and will be taking maternity leave during Term Two. Beth is working hard to find two new teachers, one permanent to replace them. The afternoon ended with an assembly mainly organized by the students. It was lots of fun. They performed a song that saw them invite each of the teachers to come forward and join in the dance moves. Of course I was included and there was much laughter and cheering. It was a real surprise for the teachers and very funny. It was so lovely to end my visit on such a happy note.

Until next time, kwa heri

Regards to all