Posts tagged Kaingu
Catching up - Kenya 2017 (Part 2)

In our last post we caught up with Amina, Isaac, Riziki, Saidi, Steven, Edward, Emmanuel and Josephine who all live in Mtwapa. Over the years some of the children Milele supports have started to attend boarding schools (this is the norm for Kenyan Secondary schools) which means the past few days have been spent travelling across coast province tracking down sponsored children and finding out how they have been getting on. The eldest sponsored child in boarding school is Charo who is coming towards the end of Form 3 (of 4) at Chasimba high school. Charo is doing well at school and has really thrown himself into school life being an active member of both the student council and the Christian Union. As head of the Christian Union he often leads prayers in school assembly and holds services with the other students showing his natural aptitude for being a great leader. He is also now a prefect, which apparently means he gets to wear a special blue shirt instead of the normal white uniform!


We got to experience Charo's confidence and leadership when visiting Chasimba. Charo was excited to have use visit his school and was keen to show us his classroom. He strode confidently into the classroom which to our surprise was still full of students (the lesson having finished a few minutes ago). When Amy asked about the swahili words on the board Charo immediately instructed a class mate to give Amy a summary of what they had been learning and to our even greater surprise all his classmates happily went along with this!

Chasimba High School
Chasimba High School

As well as seeing Chasimba, we also visited Kilifi Township Secondary School, which is where Safari and Kaingu have been attending. We were so pleased when they got into the same school - these brothers have been in classes together since they were 7 and 8 years old and it is lovely to see them continuing to support and look after one another through high school too.

Kilifi Township Secondary School
Kilifi Township Secondary School

Kaingu and Safari were both very smart in their uniform, albeit with Safari's shirt slightly more untucked and his tie slightly more lopsided than Kaingu's! Both boys appear to be settling into Kilifi Township well. They are now coming to the end of their first year there in Form 1 and have had a big transition from primary to secondary school. The first thing for them to get used to is the very strict rules and regulations which secondary schools in Kenya typically have. I'm sure you can all imagine how this can be a bit of a shock to the system coming from a small, nurturing primary school - I have to say I can remember my first days as a new year 10 student in a vast college, feeling like a very small fish in a very big pond!

Safari and Kaingu
Safari and Kaingu

Despite this, both Kaingu and Safari have made lots of friends and are getting to grips with their new school - learning the rules of the dormitories or 'pods' and the new canteen. They are taking Biology, Chemistry and Physics separately now as well as some new subjects such as History and Geography. The sciences seem to be causing them some difficulty, but we are confident this is just the new experience of learning them separately. We are going to try to get hold of some subject specific resources which Rieder could use to help scaffold their learning over the long December break. Kaingu is particularly good at maths and we feel he is likely to have a natural aptitude for physics too when he gets used to the subject.


Thank-you to sponsors who sent gifts for all three of the boys (Charo has started carrying his torch around in his shirt top pocket already... he will be the king of the school when the power cuts out!)

Stay tuned for more updates including the next child to join the Milele family!

The Big KCPE and KCSE Exam Week!

Exams are a very important part of the Kenyan education system and are taken very seriously indeed. This week is the week of the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams for Safari, Kaingu and Pendo and the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams for Josephine. We thought you might like a little bit more information on them.

The Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams are ran by the Kenyan National Exam Council and take place at the end of primary school. They cover a wide range of subjects including English, Kiswahili, Maths, Science and Social Studies and are used to decide which school the child is able to attend.

Government run secondary schools are ranked and put into three categories:

  • National
  • Provincial
  • District

A good result (usually more than 75% average grade) will secure a place at one of the prestigious national schools which have the best facilities and usually get the best grades. For those who are not lucky enough to gain entry into a national school they may be offered either a provincial or district school depending on their grade.

Pendo is sitting her KCPE exams this week

Unlike with primary education, the government runs some the best secondary schools in Kenya. Private schools exist but they are usually either of a lower quality or specialise in progressing poorer students. Mtwapa Elite Academy (where many of the Milele sponsored students do their primary education) runs a secondary school and has had great success helping students to increase their grades between primary and secondary.

The Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams take place at the end of secondary school and are used to access college or university. If a student scores above a certain mean grade (usually B) they are automatically offered a place at university with some government funding. It is also common for students to take a college course which offer nationally recognised qualifications that can be 'topped up' to become a degree at a later date. This option is often preferable as it generally allows the student to work along side their education which is near to impossible at university.

Josephine is sitting her KCSE exams this week

All four children sitting exams this week have been working incredibly hard.  We really hope they will be able to achieve their full potential and go on to be very successful.


Trip to the beach for our sponsored children!

Visits to the beach are extremely rare for children from Mtwapa; since, despite being just a few miles away, they are mostly owned by hotels and therefore completely out of bounds for local people and children. However there is one public beach about 15 minutes drive away, so whilst out on our trip to Kenya we arranged for two buses to take the whole Milele group plus all their brothers and sisters out on a trip to the beach, in total 32 people. Excitement brewing on the bus!

The children were extremely excited and had an absolutely amazing time. It was a great fun day out for all of us and of course they were all absolutely perfectly behaved!

Splish Splash! The whole Milele crew plus all their families enjoying the beach outing!

We played and splashed in the sea (some of the littler people went skinny dipping and others wore spare t-shirts and shorts because of lack of swim kit) and had a wonderful time! Even our co-ordinator Rieder joined in, splashing all the children and having great fun!

After a couple of hours I was keen to get everyone out and dry, so suggested that they might all like to have a camel ride (a very popular pastime on the beaches in Kenya... perhaps the kenyan version of the english donkey ride...) and never have I seen children move so fast! They raced back to the beach at lightening speed and we all enjoyed a fab picnic with juice and biscuits all round - a real treat. Little Emmanuel (who isn't actually that little anymore) was allowed to take charge of taking back the leftover biscuits to the children in New Light Children's Home (where he lives) which he was absolutely THRILLED about. Regular readers of this blog will know Emmanuel as the child who can never be given quite enough biscuits!!

Back to Front: Linet, Naomi, Peris and Janet enjoy their camel ride

After the beach everyone had a go on the camels and shrieksof nervousness and excited delight rang out all afternoon(the camel holding Tamira, Linet, Peris and Pendo's younger sister Faith was particularly noisy!!)  and I'm sure the children will be talking about it for years to come! When we dropped off some of the children that evening and stayed for a brief chat, Shakeel, who is just four years old just kept exclaiming "mummy, we went on a camel.... we went on a camel mummy... It was really big!!" every few minutes!

Little Saidi with his older sister Riziki have a turn!

The whole thing came in at less than £40... camel rides, picnic, beach, private buses and iced lollies for 32 people! Unbelievable! We finished up a trip back to Mtwapa with some very sleepy and happy children. A huge success all round. Enjoy the photos!

Best of friends already! New sponsored child Thomas (left) makes friends with Kaingu

Our Boy’s Termly Reports

Mtwapa Academy 2009 Today Charo in his role of elder brother (which he fulfils perfectly) escorted us around his and his brothers classrooms for a version of an English parents evening. You sit and talk through your child’s mark with the teacher, then receive their school report. We were very pleased to find that all four of our children had glowing reports in all areas.

Charo proudly showed us to his classroom where his teacher went through his marks with us. Overall he has done exceptionally well, getting 740 marks out of 800 and rising to position 2 in class. He only needs to rise one more position and he will achieve the coveted rank of first in class, meaning his name will go on the board in the school courtyard for everyone to see! Charo has achieved more than 80% in every single subject this term, in English and Swahili reading and in English writing he received 100%; and in maths he received a 96% score. These are clearly impeccable marks and he is justifiably very proud, showing us each piece of class-work bound together in his folder. Charo’s teacher reported to us that she is very happy to have him in her class, that he is a polite and extremely responsible boy and that he has the best handwriting in the whole class! She also told us that this term Charo has been given the honour of class monitor- someone the teachers select to be responsible for their classmates; he is (of course) carrying out this role perfectly!

Our four sponsored boys Charo (back left), Kaingu (Left), Emmanuel (Front) and Safari (Right)

Kaingu and Safari’s teacher was also very pleased  with them. Both are achieving very high marks. Kaingu this term achieved a total of 709 marks out of 800, making him position 6 in class out of 24. In English and Swahili reading he received full marks, 100%. The teacher informed us that she will be working with him during tuition over the holidays to improve his spoken English (in which he got 76%) and social studies (74%), which are his lowest subjects since he prefers to talk in Kiswahili all the time!! We discussed his weakness in social studies, suggesting that this might be because it includes CRE (Christianity). The boys did not learn CRE in their previous home, so now approaching this subject in school is challenging for them. However overall she said he is a very hardworking boy, though a little shy, and very bright, always looking up to his brother Safari!

Safari’s report was just as positive, overall he managed to get 724 marks out of 800 in his first term in Standard 2, and got into the top three being position 3 out of 24 students in his class. Once again Safari managed 100% in English and Swahili reading, and English writing, and very high marks in maths (96%). It would seem that he takes after his big brother Charo in these things! Safari’s weakest subjects are Kiswahili (80%) and Social Studies (80%). He seems to have a specific problem in understanding ‘opposites’, within the Kiswahili exam and so the teacher is going to work on this with him during tuition over the holidays.

Emmanuel is in Standard 1 now and so it is his first year in the lower primary classes! Since he is such a big boy now this has meant a change in his uniform and he struts proudly around wearing exactly the same clothes as his big brothers, which he is extremely happy about! Emmanuel has achieved 3rd place in class this term, showing how well he has settled into proper primary classes. This move also means he has started computer classes, a subject he is throwing himself into and really enjoying. We have been told that if the teacher overruns in any subject and it is time for computer lessons, all the students in the class immediately let her know! Teacher, Teacher, it is computer time now!!

We are very proud of all of them and how hard they are clearly working to have achieved such high marks. After only four terms in school all the children have improved hugely. When they started at Mtwapa Academy, Safari was getting 640 marks out of 800, and was position 5 in class, after 12 months worth of schooling he is now getting 724 marks and has risen to position 3. Kaingu began in position 7, with 530 marks and since then has risen to 709 marks. Charo 12 months ago was position 14 in class, receiving 680 marks, and has since shot all the way up to position 2, with 740 marks. We are very pleased with how quickly the boys have caught up with their classmates despite their shaky start in life.

All the children’s sponsors will receive their full end of term reports in the post immediately after we return back from Kenya next week. Keep your eyes peeled, let’s hope Charo manages to get top place in class next term!!