The Rafiki Academy opened up in January 2012 in what was formerly known as the Newark Rotary Trade School. This is the first step in the process to bring education in-house for the children. We currently have pre-school and Classes 1 and 2 with excellent teachers in place. The business plan calls for each class to hold approximately 20-25 students. One third to be Rafiki children and two thirds to come from the community. This goal was set so that the Rafiki kids are not isolated from the community. In addition, those community parents who were paying school fees to the local primary school are now paying them to Rafiki instead. With that income, the school will be a major profit center for Rafiki. The plan calls for adding one class each year.
Although the classes are going very well, they were only half full, due to the fact we did not have a school bus to pick up community kids. The staff and the newly formed Parent-Teachers Association had been agitating for the procurement of a bus for many months. Thankfully, the Downtown Columbus and Capital Square Rotary Clubs, as well as First Community Church, came through to pitch in to fund a bus. The bus was purchased in Nairobi, and was kept as a surprise for the staff – only two Board members and Rev. Nganga knew about the purchase. The Kenya team was overwhelmed when the bus arrived during the annual celebration this past July- and, as they said, “we have gone from complaining to repentance!” Hopefully, with the new bus, the classrooms will fill up quickly to capacity.
Stay tuned for more progress reports as the school grows.