Rafiki Scholars: we enable over 150 young people to access education at secondary level and beyond at any given time by paying the institution fees on their behalf.
Rafiki Eat Well to Learn: we provide a hot meal every day to 70 secondary school students in Uganda who otherwise would not eat – that’s over 12,000 meals a year.
Rafiki Community: we support the development of schools infrastructure in Lesotho, Kenya, and Uganda and other ‘holistic’ projects that support our core aim of increasing access to education.
Our core programme involves providing grants to promising students (Rafiki Scholars) to enable them to continue their education at secondary, polytechnic and university levels where otherwise they would be unable to afford the fees. This is not child sponsorship – all Scholars supported by Rafiki Thabo have already qualified for their further education by their own merits. We simply provide financial assistance to enable them to continue. All Rafiki Scholars are nominated by our in-country committees, who consider each applicant ‘in the round’ rather than simply going by academic achievement.
Alongside this programme, we aim to take a holistic approach to meeting the educational needs of the individuals we support and we respond to requests from our committees in-country. This might include providing funds for extra resources to help them study (e.g. books, stationery etc), supporting the economic development of their wider household, meeting healthcare needs or ensuring they are in a safe and secure home (e.g. that orphans are housed by relatives).
Rafiki ‘Eat Well to Learn’ – school meals programme
Rafiki Thabo Foundation supports a schools feeding programme at Kamuganguzi Janan Lewan Memorial Secondary School, Uganda. This programme was established in recognition of the fact that many students struggle to raise enough money to pay for school meals and often spend days at school trying to learn with no food. Rafiki has really been able to make a difference by covering the cost of lunches for 70 students who were going hungry.
Rafiki Community: Helping girls manage their menstruationOne in 10 African girls skip school during menstruation as they cannot afford to buy disposable sanitary towels. Girls in Kenya miss an average of 4.9 days of school each month because of periods, adding up to around 20% of the school year (Duke Global Health Institute). Some drop out entirely because they lack access to sanitary products (UNICEF). Others are forced to find alternatives such as leaves, ash, or rags which can lead to infection.
Our Uganda committee raised concerns about the girls in their secondary schools who are unable to afford sanitary protection. We therefore worked with a local partner in Uganda, Days for Girls, to provide training to 189 girls at Kamuganguzi Janan Lewan Memorial Secondary School on reproductive health and reusable sanitary kit construction. To our surprise, 158 boys also attended the training as they wanted to pass on the knowledge to their mothers and sisters! By providing these girls with the training and kits, we have made it more likely that they will complete their secondary education.
Rafiki Community: Improving the learning environment
In each of our focus countries we have a close link with a rural secondary school, via our local committee members. Our link schools are ACK St. Bartholomew’s School in Kenya, Ha Fusi School in Lesotho, and Janan Lewan Memorial Secondary School in Uganda.We supported the construction of Ha Fusi Secondary School in Lesotho and continue to contribute to its ongoing development. The school is in a remote area and enables local students to continue their studies beyond primary school. The community of Ha Fusi had already drawn up the plans, bought the school site and fenced the compound but then funds ran short. Since 2006, Rafiki Thabo has been pleased to contribute financially and happily, Ha Fusi secondary school is now fully functional and self-sustaining.
In 2015, Rafiki Thabo merged with the Kazi Mingi Foundation, which had supported the construction and ongoing development of ACK St. Barthlomew’s School in Voi, Kenya. We are proud to continue KMF’s support to the school’s development and remain responsive to the school’s requests for funding. We are currently seeking funding to provide the school with new IT equipment.As mentioned above, we support a school meals programme and have provided training to girls at Janan Lewan Memorial
Secondary School in Uganda. We are also supporting the school’s infrastructure development. In 2016 we sourced funding for the renovation of the girls’ dormitory so that the school’s 300 girls have the option of staying over at school rather than risking attack on their way to and from school every day. We are also supporting the school to develop a piggery in order to improve the nutritional value of the school meals provided, to make the meals programme more sustainable, and to generate additional income for the school.