1. Major school refurbishment in Nairobi’s Kangemi slum, 2021/2022 – Kihumbuini Primary School

Number of People Impacted:

5,000 students, estimate over the life of the project




Major refurbishment of and addition to toilets, classrooms, windows and general maintenance of a 1,550 student primary school – Kihumbuini Primary School in Nairobi

Project Background

During a distribution of reusable pads at Kihumbuini Primary School in Kangemi Slums, Nairobi, we became aware of the terrible condition of the school. We felt compelled to help improve conditions for the school’s 1,550 mixed boy and girl student population, who all come from very poor backgrounds.

The school had only 34 toilets in total disrepair, blocked sewage pipes, cisterns hanging off walls, missing and broken windowpanes and completely worn-out classrooms, with no paint on the walls. The kitchen had also collapsed, so no lunch could be served. As the parents are from a poor background, they don’t have much leverage to get things sorted out by the government.

We arranged for a local contractor to do the work to keep costs as low as possible, and a volunteer for Help Change Lives, Pratik Shah, helped oversee the project from Nairobi, whilst Pallvee Shah supervised the project from the UK and was in touch with the contractor and the headmaster on an almost daily basis.

A big thank you to our major donors: Bhagwanji Raja Foundation and Devchandbhai & Kankuben Shah Foundation, as well as all the other donors who contributed towards the success of this project.

Project Impact

The impact of helping this school is that a very large student body will benefit for many years to come in terms of better sanitation, hygiene, nutrition and studying environment, leading to higher grades and less disease in the student population. This makes it a very high impact project to support. If we estimate 150 new students joining every year for the next 10 years, then over 20 years at least 5,000 students will be helped, including the existing school population.

How We Helped

1. Toilets and washrooms

The boys’ and girls’ toilets were terrible, with cisterns falling off from the walls so the toilets could not be flushed, no doors and peeling paintwork.

We replaced all the toilet bowls and cisterns, repainted the toilet blocks and put in new doors, including metal security doors to prevent vandalism at night.

We also built a large new urinal with capacity for 10 boys at a time, increased the number of sinks and fixed all the blocked sewage pipes. We also added a new girls’ toilet block with 10 toilets and 2 showers to help ease the congestion. We built this within a disused storage building to make the best use of our funds.

How We Helped

2. Windows

A lot of the windows were missing glass or were non-existent, and so the classrooms were open to the elements. There was no heating, and it got very cold and wet at times, such that the students were really suffering.

We made 37 new sets of windows and repaired another 5. This involved removing all the wooden frames and replacing with new metal frames, welding the broken window and grills, and plastering and painting the frames. We fixed or replaced all the glass panes, making the new ones from scratch to reduce costs.

3. Classrooms and admin block

The 21 classrooms and 5 room admin block were very dark, dingy and dirty. They badly needed to be repainted inside and outside, including the ceilings. They also needed new cupboards and blackboards.

We painted all the classrooms inside and outside, including the ceilings and blackboards. We also repaired the cupboards in the classrooms so that items could be stored safely.

How We Helped

    4. Entire building housing grade 3

    The entire building was in a state of total disrepair and needed a lot of work.

    We fixed the roof, repainted all 4 rooms inside, put in larger windows, repaired the veranda on which porridge is served, added steps to the side and widened the front steps to enable easier serving of food to the population of 1,600 students.

    It’s hard to believe it’s the same building! We also refurbished the storeroom inside in preparation for a new school feeding programme sponsored by a charity we introduced to the school.

      How We Helped

        5. New desks and chairs

        Students were sitting on the floor and studying, whilst others were sharing 4 to a desk meant for 3, writing on their laps.

        We provided the school with 105 new multi-seater desks, providing comfortable seating for 510 students. These desks were all generously sponsored by the Bhagwanji Raja Foundation.

          How We Helped

            6. New security wall, paving around heavy use toilet, food serving and kitchen areas, and moving gates

            We helped improve the security of the school, which is next to a huge slum population, by adding walls, increasing the height of existing walls and adding barbed wire on top.

            This was to help stop vandalism of the windows (metal is valuable) and food being stored for the lunch programme, and to prevent squatters using school areas at night and vandalising / damaging them.

            We also paved around very heavy use areas- the new toilets, kitchen area and food-serving areas- as the ground turned into slushy mud during the rainy season.

            And we helped move some gates around the school to improve access and security.

            2. Solar Power Project, 2020

            Number of People Impacted:





            Collaboration with trusted local company, including accessing supplier donations and discounted installation

            Project Background

            Konza Plainsview Academy is located in Kitengele (Machakos) Kenya with 387 students (268 boarders and 119 day students) and 21 teachers.  It provides excellent primary school education for children in Kenya’s Maasai community.

            It has fee-paying students that support the sponsorship of other underprivileged, but very bright students. There are approximately 120 students students waiting for sponsorship.

            Two of the trustees visited the school in August 2018 and were impressed. The school had the following issues: electricity was sometimes cut off without any notice, power was rationed, lights were switched off early to reduce cost (which impacted the boarding students), some areas did not have enough lights and money spent on electricity meant less children were sponsored.

            How We Helped

            Help Change Lives assisted by installing a solar powered lighting system at the school.

            We tapped into our local networks in Kenya to obtain the solar panels free of charge as a corporate social responsibility donation by the supplier.

            We were also able to obtain a discounted rate on installation for the system and free yearly maintenance visits. Installation of the system was completed in April 2020.


            • Power is being provided to 387 students, 21 teachers and 17 non-teaching staff.

            • Electricity bills have reduced by circa Ksh 240,000/- pa (approximately £1,600 pa) based on previous usage. As the school is using far more electricity now, the savings would be even higher.

            • An average of 4 students per annum will now be sponsored from the money saved.

            • There is now consistency in learning and an improvement in performance has been experienced across the school. Students can study at night and there is no rationing or power cuts.

            Security has been boosted by the increase of security lights around all parts of the school.