Bissil School of Hope near the Kenyan/Tanzanian border was a beehive of activity in April with over 60 learners coming in every day.
The local community “the Masai” who are cattle herders, have had a good season after the rains in March, there is plenty of pasture and water.
It’s the traditional duty of children to take cattle out to the grazing fields but this school holiday the young people have had more time to study                                              as they don’t have to drive the animals too far from their homes for pasture.

      A life skills session was held recently at Tumaini SoH in the informal settlement of Gituamba on self-worth,                                        self- respect and citizenship. The session was facilitated by the Centre for Urban Mission.





So excited !
Young learners from Burka School of Hope in Arusha in Tanzanian who remained behind after school hours to enjoy the latest supply of new text books that the SoH had just received.





The SoH at Bamburi, in Mombasa, had to be moved from the church compound, which was put up for rent, to Bamburi Primary School less than a mile away. The SoH is now accommodated in one of the classrooms but still continues to serve the same community.
The SoH committee is active and meets monthly, and the supervisors are keen. The good news is that the number of pupils has risen in the last 3 months to 70 learners (31 girls and 39 boys). Cricket, football and table tennis are played regularly.
Muslims girls who have been shy to play football and cricket have now taken up table tennis especially as a well-wisher realising the problem donated table tennis equipment. 
A reading club takes place every Saturday and learners are actively reading and presenting book reports to their peers.














ChallengeAid is now working with Tanzania Rugby to introduce rugby to our SoH’s in Arusha.  Kiranyi was the first SoH to be introduced to rugby with the other three SoH’s following shortly.
A two-hour coaching session took place and training will now taking place every week with the Supervisors and students to create a new team.

Photo of students already revising for their end of year 2018 exams from Salei SoH in Arusha, Tanzania in partnership with tGF and 4B in Mathare, Nairobi !
The scores that we have so far accumulated from the 2017 results are that 220 secondary school leavers from a total of 18 SoH achieved an average score in the Kenyan Certificate of Secondary Education of 5.82 as opposed to the nearest government schools in their areas of 4.31.
This represents a 35% value added improvement achieved by our SoH’s.


After many months of searching around for a suitable tablet that could be used for eLearning, today we had our initial training on the use of the tablets. The event took place at Meru School in Arusha with four    SoH’s. This would not have been possible without  the support of tGF.



Recently Okerian SoH committee visited Burka and Salei SoH’s to learn from                                      their  experiences when they were first set up.  The population of Okerian is                                          5,000 with 700 children at the school.  There was a committee meeting last week at Okerian our latest SoH created in partnership with tGF.  It is now up and  running with brand new tables,  textbooks and book shelves and already has 73 students attending regularly and we are only in the first few weeks!!!  The SoH has two lady supervisors who live in the school compound and are very committed to the students.



Very happy students from Kirayni School of Hope in Arusha, Tanzania receiving a supply of sanitary pads.  ChallengeAid wants to continue providing sanitary pads for 1000 girls attending our Schools of Hope (SoH) programme.  This will allow each girl at least 2 packs per month for the next 12 months. This has already had a hugely positive effect on both the numbers of girls attending our SoH’s and the fact that they are now not missing any schooling each month due to a lack of sanitary pads. The improved results are incredible. We want to secure this funding for at least another year. This amounts to just over 20p twice a month for the next 12 months or £5 a year.

So far, we have raised £2,789. Our target is to raise £5000!

Please give generously here through JustGiving below…/challengeaid/sanitary-pads

Life skills sessions were held two weeks ago at the weekend with the focus on goal setting, self-worth and self-esteem. The two Schools of Hope that took part were Huruma (Kambi Moto) and Gitathuru, both in the Mathare cluster of Nairobi.

Life skill sessions have also recently taken place at Bissil School of Hope (near the Kenyan – Tanzanian border). 57 pupils attended.
There were discussions about setting goals, self-value and caring relationships.
A similar session was held at Moshimoni SoH (part of the Mathare cluster) where 35 pupils attended.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

This pic is of the Wanjerere School of Hope conservation club which is in Aberdares, near Nyeri. The Wanjerere SoH is the latest in the cluster of seven               SoH’s in this area.  A tree planting activity was facilitated by our partner Rhino Ark.





Our numbers at one of our Schools of Hope in Arusha, Tanzania has risen to 80 per day, with students having to attend in shifts which necessitates some

sharing seats at the moment. We are in the process of providing 30 additional seating spaces.



        Kiamutisya village in Mathare got burnt in January. I am informed that 80% of the village was destroyed
        Kosovo also burnt down at the end of December.
        About 850 families have been displaced and our two Schools of Hope are housing small children for now.
        Reconstruction is beginning. Kiamutisya is now home to 157 families. The SoH are temporarily closed to host the displaced families.






September 2017                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Great News – There are 66 boys and 71 girls already attending regularly at the School of Hope in Burka, Arusha, Tanzania. This SoH was made possible with the great partnership of The Goodall Foundation.

Pupils from Salei and Unga Primary Schools studying together at Salei School of Hope. There are 100 learners who attend consistently in two shifts each day.
Salei SoH was opened in partnership with The Goodall Foundation.

Adam from Rhino Ark and Sophia Kamweru, ChallengeAid Africa visited Wanjerere yesterday. They met close to two hundred parents from both the secondary and primary schools.
They discussed with them how the School of Hope could help in improving educational achievements.

Photo shows handing over a cheque for the SoH

There was much excitement and enthusiasm from both parents and students.

There is a committee of nine in place, which includes teachers, parents and local leaders. The committee has decided that the support given will all go to buying books and that they will provide the furniture. For now, they will use the available desks and cabinets.                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Olkerian is the fourth School of Hope partnered with the Goodall Foundation and the fifth SoH in Arusha, Tanzania. Mr Heikki Lucas Tluway is the Headteacher with 700 pupils in his school. The overall population of Olkerian is 5,000.

Burka and Salei are two newly formed Schools of Hope (in partnership with The Goodall Foundation) in Arusha, Tanzania. They have only been in existence for a month and already playing football against each other.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Life skill sessions held by Centre for Urban Mission in the informal slum settlements of Nairobi as the violence seems to be subsiding since the court ruling ordering a second election.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     





May 2017


Known by the simple and unromantic title of 4B, this is one of the more dangerous areas of Mathare where safety is an issue.  We are setting up our latest SoH there as it is badly needed but the local Community leadership group insist that it will be safe.  It is a rough part of Mathare with cases of mugging, house breakages, attacks are the order of the day with much drug abuse.  Students are already using the facilities.



A meeting with the committee in the room to be used as the SoH, with the recently acquired chairs. Lots of work has been undertaken to make this a splendid room.  The stairs have also now been built.





This School of Hope is close to the Tanzanian border in a town called Bisil. It has only just opened in partnership with the Goodall Foundation and has caused huge excitement.  There is an excellent room available which can take 50+ learners.  We have also agreed to install a water tank for collecting roof water for use by the learners as there are frequent droughts in the area.  Two Masai children a boy and girl both walked 25k and back from a neighbouring town twice last week just to access the SoH!!!

BURKHA (In Arusha)

This is a new SoH intended in Arusha in partnership with the Goodall Foundation. This is currently the library which will become the SoH room.

This splendid room is ready to accept students

There is huge poverty in this area but also there is much more greenery than you find in the informal slum settlements.





    SALEI (In Arusha)

This is the room (above) that will be used as a SoH in Salei and along with Bisil and Burkha are in partnership with the Goodall Foundation.  There is plenty of greenery all around the SoH.  A smaller room attached can be used as a library and for the supervisor.

WANJERERE (Aberdares)

This SoH is in the Aberdares and will be created in partnership with Rhino Ark.  There are two Secondary schools in the area which will share the SoH.




One of our ongoing projects is to provide a year’s supply of sanitary pads for 1000 girls attending our Schools of Hope programme.
This will allow each girl 2 packs per month for the next 12 months.
Our target is to raise £5,000 and so far we have already raised over £2,800 thanks to you, our supporters.
Please help us to help these girls It makes such a difference to their education and positively contributes to their continued attendance.
Text PADS16 £5 to 70070 to make a donation of £5.00 to supply one girl for a whole year.



Following on fro  m our news release last month where 41 SoH leavers went on to University out of a population of 104, Form 4 pupils in our 17 longest running SoH’s . I now also have evidence that the mean score for pupils in five of our newest Schools of Hope is 275 marks. This compares to an average of 211 marks for pupils attending the nearest government schools. This indicates that we are value adding over 30% to the grade of every child who attends a SoH.


Iestyn was asked to give a presentation to over 20 people at the Kenyan Society in London in February and in front of the Kenyan High Commissioner.  The following day on Facebook they said “An inspirational talk by Iestyn Thomas. A sustainable initiative that provides such a positive influence to the children’s lives who benefit from a flexible education that follows the Kenya curriculum. The pass rate at these schools is above the national average with 40% of the students qualifying for the local universities. Pongezi Iestyn and Team ChallengeAid!”



First there were sports and drama contests and then there was “Mathare Got Talent”. 
Sophia Kamweru who runs ChallengeAid Africa held academic contest in February at Majengo ” School of Hope Primary Challenge”.  This is the first of the activities that has been planned for 2017. The pupils took part in a full day of academic challenges and questions contest. Learners up to age 9 -14 competed in five subject areas and there were also oral and written tests. Each SoH brought 3 learners from each year group.
The students from our SoH were competing to determine which SoH was the finest academically of them all!  Kosovo SoH was the overall champions.

Next up we have a Chess Tournament within the next two months.


We currently have thirty “Schools of Hope” in Kenya and Tanzania though largely in the informal slum settlements of Nairobi.
We are currently looking for thirty Schools here in the UK, probably Secondary, though Primary Schools will be considered, to join a partnership programme with these “Schools of Hope” in East Africa.
There will be opportunities for the children here to get a real flavour and create links with children there to learn about what it is like to be a young child living in these urban slums.
 at Majengo ” School of Hope Primary Challenge”.  This is the first of the activities that has been planned for 2017. The pupils took part in a full day of academic challenges and questions contest. Learners up to age 9 -14 competed in five subject areas and there were also oral and written tests. Each SoH brought 3 learners from each year group.
The students from our SoH were competing to determine which SoH was the finest academically of them all!  Kosovo SoH was the overall champions.

Next up we have a Chess Tournament within the next two months.


January 2017 Newsletter

2016 has proved to be a busy year for ChallengeAid.  The year ended with thirty Schools of Hope (SoH) having been established, not just in the slums of Nairobi but also in Nyeri and the Aberdares (Central Kenya), Mombasa and even Arusha in Tanzania.

In terms of education ChallengeAid was involved in sending forty students to university last year from a total population of 1,800+ young people from the ages of 10 – 18. 

The supervisors of each SoH received training as coaches in four targeted sports – cricket, rugby, football and volleyball.  Tournaments have been held during the year where SoH’s have competed against each other.  Pupils have also found themselves elevated to the Kenyan national team selection after performing in these tournaments. 


This year saw the innovation of a “Mathare Got Talent” festival.  Mathare is one of the largest slums in Nairobi which houses somewhere close to a million people and where we currently operate ten SoH.  The talent festival included singing, dancing, and poetry recitation as well as small playlets reflecting the lives of young people living in informal slum settlements.  The venue for “Mathare Got Talent” was the SoH in Kiamutisya, one of the 14 villages that make up the informal slum settlement of Mathare.  Over 200 children, committee members and supervisors attended from the SoH’s.  There was great talent, enthusiasm and energy among the children and the competition for the trophies became quite intense, though great fun.  The overall winners were Kiamutisya but all the supervisors from the other SoH are already planning for next year’s competition !!!

The sanitary pad programme which started in late 2014 has had a huge impact on the number of girls attending.  The percentage of boys to girls was 60 – 40% and this has been turned around to the current level of 60 – 40% with the majority now being girls.

SoH also operate a life skills programme tailored specifically to the lives of young people living in informal slum settlements with topics as HIV/Aids, personal sexual and drug abuse, essential hygiene being just some of the topics that are presented to the SoH pupils.

There has been an interesting development with our life skills classes in the School of Hope programme. There have been multiple reported cases of child molestation in the slums lately, both girls and boys have been affected. A young boy Nathaniel from the Eastern Part of Nairobi (close to Mathare) was kidnapped and murdered.  Because of this and other reasons self-defence, fitness lessons and awareness training started in September at Madoya School of Hope. It was agreed to include boys in these lessons.  

This training will be really useful in helping to equip children to stay safer.                                                                                                 

A recent innovation is that some of the pupils from our SoH are creating woollen plaited wristbands for sale in this country to schools and adults who undergo activity Challenges to support the SoH programme.


A student gap year programme was also started this year where a British school leaver travelled to Kenya to volunteer his time in some of our SoH’s.  He visited Mombasa, Nairobi and the Aberdares teaching English and other subjects as well as coaching sport.

Separate to our SoH programme, ChallengeAid also supports a pre-primary school for sixty children made vulnerable with HIV/Aids, many of whom are orphans.  ChallengeAid provides a “maize posho” breakfast, a nutritious lunch, good teaching and staffing facilities with provision for four medical visits per year for each child being as they succumb to illness very easily due to having weak immunity systems.

In August seven teams of boys and girls from seven of our SoH’s based with CUM held a cricket tournament at Ayani Primary School in Kibera where 200 young people participated or spectated. It was a great success and the momentum with cricket is definitely growing thanks to our partnership with Kenya Cricket. Tumaini Gituamba took the honours on the day.