Have you ever heard of a Kenyan town called Kimilili?
Neither had I, until about three months ago. To be honest, I would have been hard presssed to even come up with a single city in Kenya, including Nairobi (the capital). All I associated with Kenya were safaris and the Big Five.
That is, until I became involved with School4Life.
I became aware of this Swiss charitable association in June of this year, when I met Astrid, one of School4Life’s four board members. At the time, Astrid was giving a presentation at the local Kiwanis club.
Her talk had grown men reaching for their tissues.
With her presentation, Astrid was asking for donations for School4Life’s charity project: a school in rural Kimilili, Kenya. A school, which, in 2011, consisted of a single crumbling mud hut. 200 students were being taught there by 7 uneducated teachers (mostly parents of the students themselves).
They had no electricity, no running water, no bathrooms – and no school books. Because the building threatened to collapse and bury the kids and their teachers, the school was about to be closed down for good.
Astrid’s twin sister, Agnes, and their friend, Alex, visited Kimilili that year. They came as volunteers, to help out in the school for a few weeks – and they left as board members of their newly founded charity organization, School4Life (then called CBSM).
They had one goal in mind: to keep the school from closing and improve its conditions to provide the children of Kimilili with a high-quality education.
… to today
Fast-forward 6 years, to this past Friday, when I went on a road trip to Zurich for a special occasion: School4Life’s 6th-anniversary celebration.
It was a wonderful event that celebrated what School4Life has accomplished and built in Kimilili in the past 6 years: Today, the school boasts not only a permantent building (or several, actually!) with clean water, electricity, a computer and science lab, and even a library! There’s also an orphanage for 30 children, a special needs school for handicapped children, and a free lunch program for the now 800 children attending the school and their 50 certified teachers.
I’m in awe of this achievement.
I’m in awe of School4Life, or rather, the four women who run it. These are four women with jobs and families, who still find the time, love, compassion and energy to devote their spare time to this great cause – and garner such results.
Astrid, Agnes, Alex and Miriam: hats off to you! Congratulations for 6 successful years of improving the lives of over 800 needy children and their families. Thank you also for inviting me to the anniversary celebration in Zurich. I’m happy and proud to be a part of School4Life, and can’t wait to visit Kimilili next year to see what you’ve built with my own eyes.
So why am I even mentioning all this on my author website?
Well, I have a small teaser for you:
In the coming year, I’ll be writing a book about Kimilili and School4Life.
More details to come… 😉
School4Life plans to build a new kitchen for the school in Kimilili. So far, they have raised 5,000 of the 50,000 Swiss Francs required to do so. If you’re thinking about donating to a good cause, but aren’t sure what that cause might be or which organization to trust, I can promise you this:
School4Life keeps nothing for themselves; the board members pay for marketing and events like the anniversary celebration out of their own pockets.
100% of the donations to School4Life reach the children in Kimilili.