Girls’ Education

Study Time


Risper practising her sewing skills

Class in Session March 2013Jamila's Homework

The Kenyan Education System follows a 3 stage “8-4-4” process – 8 years of primary school, 4 years of secondary education, 4 years of higher education (college, university). Early Childhood Development (ECD) classes are also widely encouraged. Less than a third of Kenyan primary school leavers make it through secondary education – generally due to poverty and lack of means to pay school expenses – and fewer still continue into tertiary education. The quality of education varies enormously. Generally the more money that parents can contribute or pay for it, the better it will be. Government schools in poor rural areas are typically under-resourced, over-subscribed and struggle to provide a reasonable education.

At Vumilia we take every child all the way up and through tertiary level. Three have already graduated and gone on to employment and independent adult life. Six are currently at university, four at secondary school, and twenty-three at ECD and primary levels.

Primary Education

With the generous support of Aids & Child (a Swiss Foundation), and many private donors, we had earlier sent some of our children to a nearby private primary school, where the teacher-student ratio of 1:50 promises a better learning environment than in local government schools where the ratios are typically 1:120. We had seen how especially hard it can be for orphans, or children living away from the family, to succeed in a poorly equipped government school environment, due to the social stigma attached to them, and the ostracism that can follow. Unhappily even some teachers look down on orphans. In private fee-paying schools their social status is equal – someone has paid for them to be there! And they get more and better attention in better facilities and the quality of education is higher, so the children stand a far better chance of learning and developing. However it was proving very expensive to keep the girls in this nearby private school and so we have developed an alternative that maintains quality levels but cuts costs.

Home Schooling

In 2012 Vumilia started educating its younger children within the home. The very small children are taught by the Matron who is a qualified ECD teacher, and we now also directly employ two talented young teachers (instead of paying school fees) to teach those below secondary school age. We have already seen a marked improvement in the girls’ performance since we began. Often the children who are taken in by Vumilia have little or no education to start with, and the only way they can hope to reach the required standard is with this more focussed level of support. We believe that Home Schooling will prepare them well for the time when they go on to join secondary schools.

Secondary School

Once the girls have completed their KCPE (Kenya Certificate of Primary Education) we find and place them in national secondary schools. These are boarding schools located in different parts of the country. We pay all the expenses associated with their education. During school holidays the girls come home to their Vumilia family home. At the end of their 4th year they sit for their KCSE exams.

Higher/Tertiary Education

Depending on their KCSE results and their interests, we place our young adults at different institutions. Currently one is at medical training school, one doing nursing, another studying actuarial science, others pursuing degrees at national universities.

What We Need Help With

The greatest recurring expenses here are for the teachers salaries, and the school and university fees and expenses. There are uniforms to buy, transport and activity fees, plus personal items the girls need.

It adds up, and on average costs Vumilia around:

  • $700/£465 annually to provide primary education, 
  • $565/£370 annually for secondary school,
  • And anywhere from $150 to $3000 per year for higher education (We apply for bursaries, scholarships and sponsorships wherever we can).

Nearly half the costs of educating our primary and secondary girls (through to December 2014) are currently covered by the generous contribution of Aids & Child Foundation in Switzerland, Education is so important and so we invite you kindly to help us with your donation to be sure all the girls in our care get the education they need, safe and uninterrupted until they finish. And please think too of the girls going on to college and university. Every donation of any amount will help.