Even in this increasingly digital age, students of all ages all around the world still rely on the printed page and the books they’re contained in for much of their educational growth and progress – especially for those in sub-Saharan African countries where textbooks, reference books and even works of fiction are the primary, if not sole, source of information.
In 2015, Bread and Water for Africa® began our partnership with the then newly-opened Kebeneti Secondary School in rural Kericho, Kenya, providing students graduating from nearby primary schools to be able to continue their education without having to walk several miles one way each school day, or leaving their homes and community to attend a boarding school.
Through our longtime relationship with generous Bread and Water for Africa® supporter Dick Landis, and many others across the U.S., together we were able to support the nascent secondary school which began with only a few dozen students which by 2019 had grown to serving a student body of 455 students.
Along the way, always with the generous support from Mr. Landis, as the school grew so did our shared commitment to ensure that no potential students would have to be turned away due to concerns of overcrowding so we constructed additional classrooms as the need for more arose.
Over the years, we provided grant funding to construct a modern high school chemistry laboratory for students to conduct hands-on science experiments, of course stocked with the most up-to-date lab supplies and equipment.
Without a cafeteria or kitchen large enough to accommodate the growing student body, students had no choice but to “enjoy” their lunches while sitting outside on the ground under a shade tree.
But that all changed in 2019, we completed the construction of a kitchen large enough to provide meals for all of the students every school day, and a dining hall with seating for hundreds.
Last year, Kebeneti program manager Eunice Lessan applied to Bread and Water for Africa® once again for grant funding to construct a much-needed library for the school which now has more than 1,200 students including 591 girls and 625 boys.
“For better learning, a library is essential so that students can widen their knowledge by reading and researching from books in the library,” Eunice said.
She explained that while “we have promises of donations of books for a library from well-wishers, but we have nowhere to put them, and no space for students to read them.”
And now we are pleased to announce that the construction of the library has just been completed, reported Kebeneti patron Titus Korir, who we have worked closely with over the years to enhance the educational opportunities for the school’s students.
“This being a school library, the project is very important since the school community of staff and students did not have a library before. This will enable them to do more research work.”
So again today, thanks again to Mr. Landis and all of our generous supporters, Titus notes, “Students and staff now have somewhere to sit and do research or prepare quietly for examinations.”
The students themselves are also grateful for their new school library, with Harriet telling Mr. Landis and us how much all the students appreciate all that he and Bread and Water for Africa® have done to expand their educational opportunities saying:
“We promise to work smart and utilize what you have given us. We appreciate all you have done for us from the bottom of our hearts.
“You have made Kebeneti Secondary School to best place to be!”