Milami Primary School is in Joska, Machakos County. The school is fully registered, a KCPE exam centre and established as a community school not a privately owned business. Their first KCPE in 2013 saw all 19 kids pass with marks between 295 and 409! Quite an achievement for any school, and this was with no power, no water and few textbooks.
Headmaster Michael worked as a translator and in 2006 he was translating for an Australian lady in Tanzania. Michael told her his wishes to set up a school for children that could not afford to attend school (while primary education is ‘free’ in Kenya there are still uniforms, books etc which some families cannot afford). She had 50,000KES in travellers’ checks at the end of her journey and gifted these to Michael to begin his school.
Michael bought a 50 x 100 foot plot in Joska, Machakos County, where there was a great need for a school for kids living in what was then rural poverty. This is on the Kangundo Road just beyond Kamulu which is the limit of greater Nairobi. The area is very dry and dusty; not very successful as a farming region.
The school started in 2006 with just 4 students (who all left), regrouped and saw the school grow. Michael worked at another school in order to feed his family and build the school. His wife Melab is also a teacher and now the headmistress.
Brenda, a friend of the Australian that made the initial donation moved to Kenya in 2011 and visited the school to see how it was going. She found one mabati classroom block, a dilapidated latrine and another two classrooms. All dirt floors, no water or power connections. 175 students, with around 100 paying little or no fees. Michael had been a good steward of that seed funding! Brenda saw the passion of Michael and Melab and began fundraising through her network in Australia, a little at a time.
Recently the power has been connected to prepare for teaching computer studies in 2015.
Pop-Up Nairobi has donated money for a kitchen to be built so the school can start a feeding program as some children carry lunch from home while others go hungry.
Other areas that need funding:
- A computer laboratory with computers;
- Uniforms and school fees for around 45 students (Uniforms are 4000 KES and fees are 8000 KES/year) as the heart of the school is accepting students that cannot pay and looking to fundraise to cover the costs;
- Donations to the feeding program – not all families can afford school lunch;
- Textbooks and readers;
- Permanent classrooms and extension of classrooms to cater for growing demand.