Sololo school opens

3 MAY 2011: A new school is providing education for marginalised Christians in isolated Sololo, in the remote deserts of northern Kenya.

Tumaini Academy has been built by Kenya Christian Education Partnership (KCEP), a partnership between local Rev Qampicha Daniel Wario and concerned Americans.

Sololo is a forgotten area which borders Somalia and Ethiopia. The Christians, poor and nomadic, account for 20% of the local population, and are further marginalised as a result.

KCEP discerned that the best way of supporting them is to help their children who have no way obtaining a good Christian education without intervention from outside Kenya.

Their goal of building the school in time for the 2011 school year seemed ambitious when, a month before is was due to open, there was no construction, no teachers and no students.

Daniel quickly acted as the project manager and construction commenced. Funding came in for all the initial costs, and two qualified Christian teachers from southern Kenya agreed to work there. The local community was ‘a-buzz’ about the new school and student applicants started coming in.

New hope

KCEP Chair Janet Helms reports, ‘Tumaini Academy opened on time with a new building, approximately 35 students in each classroom, 16 beautiful desks which can seat three children each, two wonderful teachers and a latrine.’

‘The students are very happy, learning English, receiving lunch – which may be their only meal of the day - and doing great in this stable and loving environment.’

Janet continues, ‘It was the most beautiful and fulfilling feeling I have ever had: to see these children waiting for us, having found new hope that God hears and answers their prayers. Now they are able to be educated and express their faith in Jesus.’

Overcoming ‘difficult terrain’

Sololo, as with many other parts of northern Kenya, is in a grip of a prolonged drought. Herds are dying from lack of water.

Janet describes the 4½ hour road trip from Marsabit as ‘the most difficult terrain I have experienced.

‘It is a desert of volcanic rock with no vegetation or water for mile after mile, yet I saw herdsmen searching for water. This brought home the difficulty the people have in Sololo getting from one place to another and the isolation they experience.

‘It impressed upon us the difficulty of just getting supplies to Sololo.’

Our aircraft have therefore provided helpful support for KCEP. We frequently fly many missions and agencies to the far north of Kenya, overcoming the harsh terrain and vast distances.

Janet enthuses, ‘MAF certainly makes travelling there not just a possibility, but a reality!’

Looking ahead

There are plans to expand Tumaini Academy this year with two more classrooms and other facilities.

Janet is hoping to fly with MAF again soon. 'That would be a God-send since it is such difficult terrain to drive between Marsabit and Sololo', she declares. 'Blessings to you and thanks to Mission Aviation Fellowship for making this all possible to do this important mission work.'

"MAF certainly makes travelling there not just a possibility, but a reality!"Janet Helms, Chair of KCEP


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