OKT and MKT July 2016 Newsletter

Dear Old Yorkist/Laibon

We are up. We are running. Perhaps only at a moderate speed for now, but the good news is, there are quite a few others now running with us and alongside us.

We seek to achieve two major goals; to help high performing but financially challenged Lenana students with our annual bursaries and to re-create some, if not all of the school’s once outstanding facilities and infrastructure that have fallen into disuse and decay. Our objectives have been facilitated by the conduct of the new Principal Mr Mwangi and also because more and more alumni of the school, both older and younger, are taking an interest and becoming involved in returning the school to its former prominence.

This is our third Newsletter since we established the Optimum Kenya Trust with the Charity Commission in the UK and the Msaada Kenya Trust which is registered with the Government in Kenya. If you did not receive those earlier Newsletters, or the original announcement of our Trusts’ formation, sent out back in July 2015, you can read those documents and more on our website http://www.optimumkenyatrust.org

Foremost amongst the other entities now actively engaged with the school is the Laibon Society, headed up by David Kabeberi and ably assisted by Johnstone Gikandi and Marvin Sissey, among others. The Laibon Society have recently announced that they have taken on a major project; to completely renew the school swimming pool, pool facilities and filtration system. The pool we all remember having had the use of, has been, amazing to say, unusable since 2008. Shock. Horror. The new pool, with a new uniform depth and new metric measurements will not only please all the pupils who will use it, but will also permit inter-school swimming competitions once more. Here are a couple of photos to show you how the pool is now.

P14 View of pool - 23-06-16.JPG

The cost of creating the new pool and facilities has been quoted as KS 15,000,000. That is around £113,000 at today’s rather sad Sterling exchange rate. This is an enormous sum and the Laibon Society are to be applauded for taking on the task. All the different year groups within the Society are now competing with each other to donate to the cause and doing some very interesting things to raise the required funds. The Optimum Kenya Trust, on behalf of the ’49 to ’69 year group, has donated KS 500,000 to the project already and we certainly hope that we shall be able to donate some more. Scheduled completion, if all goes well, is the end of the year.

We should recall that Lenana has a very rich infrastructure, both sporting and otherwise, but the Ministry of Education does not have the funds to maintain this infrastructure. I suggest that it is we, the alumni, who enjoyed its benefits need to step up to the plate and ensure that current and future generations of pupils get the opportunity to enjoy renewed facilities and infrastructure too. In the past it was perhaps understandable to be sceptical about helping, but in today’s new circumstances it is not. The Laibon society, amongst others, are now showing their commitment. So should we.
 
The Laibon Society have also now begun to provide bursaries to financially challenged but high performing students. Currently they have awarded 6 bursaries and hope that by next year that number will increase to 16. We, the OKT and the MKT have again donated our bursaries, each worth KS 100,000, to 5 new 2nd year pupils at the school. Below is a photo of the 5 new 2016 bursary winners accompanied by Mrs C Kasambeli who is the new person in charge of student counselling.

From the left; Mrs Kasambeli, Stephen Hayo, Abdulaziz Shemaka, Alex Magoba, Lennox Kahati and Aswa Philip Katiechi.

From the left; Mrs Kasambeli, Stephen Hayo, Abdulaziz Shemaka, Alex Magoba, Lennox Kahati and Aswa Philip Katiechi.

And now to the only bad news in this Newsletter. The 5 pupils to whom we awarded our bursaries in 2015 performed very poorly during the year. The reasons for this are numerous. As their right to receive the bursaries was conditional upon them maintaining their previous high performance level, it was decided to withdraw our funding to them after the end of the first term 2016. They have however been informed that, if during the rest of 2016 - during terms 2 and 3 - their performance returns to a high level, as before, we shall fund them once more during 2017. We hope that they do so and that we shall therefore be funding a minimum of 15 pupils during 2017.

I am pleased to say that our OKT income during calendar 2015, as expected, surpassed £10,000 which means that the annual return we filed with the UK Charity Commission website, is now in the public domain and our financial affairs are transparent. Let me again thank all of the OKT and MKT Trustees for once again absorbing all of their personal costs to date, associated with their Trustee responsibilities.

There are lots of things currently going on at the school, most of them will be news to you, so I am going to let Ronnie Andrews, who is after all at the sharp end of it all, tell you about all those things in his own words;

QUOTE
Status Report for Activities of the Laibon and Old Yorkists to John O’Grady from Ronnie Andrews.
June/July 2016


This may be a long one…

Way back then; in fact in the Yorkist Magazine of 1970, there were several interviews and commentaries from the new Headmaster, Mr Kamunge, and two members of the Board (m/s Slade and Gecau) on the future of the school. In their speeches there was complete acknowledgement of the role of “Elite” schools in Kenya but similarly comment about the needs of the schools such as the Duke of York (only recently re-named Lenana) in the face of growing demand for funding from the education sector across the country. Lenana remained a National School and therefore among the Elite class of establishments in Kenya but as years went by, the commitment to the higher levels was forgotten and increasing demonization of the “Colonial” nature of the school was heard. Successive Heads made excuses for their own inadequacies by blaming the past, despite the fact that the pupils were increasingly proud of the heritage and history of the place.

To cut a long story short, a combination of tight budgets at a National level, inconsistencies and inadequacies in leadership in the school and a lack of commitment from the Old Boys, through despair, lack of interest and lack of coordination, led to the deterioration and in some cases complete destruction of the facilities at the school. However, a new era is upon us now and responsible leadership at the school, Board and Old Boy level as well as communication between all parties has led to a resurgence and a real feeling that Lenana is headed towards the top of the rankings again. And through all of this the one consistent piece of good news is….. the Boys. They are committed and proud and they honestly feel that they are part of something special. We must try to reinforce that feeling and return the school, its facilities and its history to a truly Elite position.

And so,
Since last writing for the February Newsletter, there has been a marked stepping up of activities and a growth in interest and commitment on the part of Old Boys who had up to now been rather slow to respond to efforts to assist. I believe this new enthusiasm is due to the new cycle which we have put in place and which follows the model of the Alliance High School, probably the most successful Kenyan ’National’ school in terms of enjoying the commitment of its old boys. We have had extensive discussions with the members of their Board of Management and their Chairman over the past years, exploring how we can meet the needs and provide possible responses for Lenana School.

The “Alliance Cycle” is as follows:

  1. The Old Boys are active, successful, influential and responsible members of society and have the best interests of the school at heart. They engage with the school and take pride in ensuring that the students aspire to the same high academic standards and to become similarly well-placed in Kenyan society. They also wish the best for the school, donate generously and use their influence to ensure continuation of the high standards through teacher placement and facility renewal.
  2. The Old Boys influence the placement of people on the Board of Management of the school, control the majority of places therein and also appoint the Chair from among themselves.
  3. The Board of Management then assists in appointing or is instrumental in approving the Head/Principal (who shares their vision) and they work closely with him to ensure the continuation of the standards expected and enforce diligence in the control of funds.
  4. The Head is therefore naturally inclined to work closely with the Old Boys and there is a complete understanding at all levels as to what is expected in academic and non-academic development.
  5. The whole group have strong links to government and thereby influence the lobbying process and then (hopefully) the disbursement of ministry funds and the continuation of ascendency for- in our case- Lenana School.

This was a revelation when we spoke about it some years ago with their then Chairman of the Alliance Old Boys and whilst we had up to then concentrated on building the Old Boys as a credible society of like-minded people with common background, it was clear that a step change was required to ensure deeper engagement with the Government of Kenya. The selection of David Kabeberi as the Chairman of the Laibon Society, the establishment of the Optimum Kenya Trust and its sister Trust in Kenya, the Msaada Kenya Trust, and the appointment of Mr. William Mwangi as Chief Principal all came together at a great time for the school and for its stabilisation and reconstruction. The progress in the last few years has been astounding and although there is a long way to go, there are certainly signs that we shall see Lenana School become one of, if not THE premier academic institution(s) in Eastern Africa.

Principal Mwangi managed the expectations and performance of the teachers and students to see the school finish with an aggregate A- in the Kenya Certificate of secondary education (KCSE) exams for the year 2015. This is the first time we have managed that since the start of the KCSE exams back in the 1990’s! There were some outstanding results individually too and many ex-pupils have now gone on to international universities as well as to tertiary education in Kenya.

Between the BoM, the Old Boys and the Principal the school has also been successful in securing development funds from the Kenya Government totalling over one million U.S. Dollars and the work on a new library and tuition block (at the back of Thompson House) is nearly completed. See the photo below;

The school now has about 1400 pupils and classes have been crowded with 50 or more pupils, so these new facilities are essential! The BoM has just discussed the disbursement of the second tranche of those Government funds and will decide upon how they will be applied to the school’s needs soon. Old Boys now have a significant number of representatives on the Lenana BoM, so that is encouraging.

The funds provided by the Kenya Government have to be used for new development and so refurbishment does not receive the desired levels of attention. Although to be fair, the Principal has re-roofed the main block, painted it and re-done the hall and the paving in the quads. But maintenance and refurbishment are still insufficiently done – it is the overall look of the school that most dismays visitors and that look is now receiving the attention of the Old Boys.

Without unduly hampering this with narrative therefore, here are the main ongoing efforts and more detail can be obtained by contacting John O’Grady or myself for chapter and verse:

  • Block 6 started with the building of Mandela House – now about one year old
  • New tuition Block and Library nearly completed (see above photo) at the back of former Thomson House
  • ‘Banks and Braes’ hockey pitches ‘skimmed’, cleaned of grass, drained, marked, new goals.
  • Pool now “destroyed” to make way for a new 25m pool of constant depth. Funds being raised by Old Boys of all generations and the fund raising and work are now progressing well.
  • Plan in place and funds committed by Kenya Bunduki Ltd. for the re-establishment of the rifle range. Also to be used by the Nairobi Gun Club.
  • Donations and pro bono tutoring in the use of musical instruments has been provided and a new school band has been formed and is giving concerts, starting 30th July.
  • The squash court is being refurbished, funds committed by Old Boys who are heading up the KSRA. Msaada Trust may be assisting and donating towards this together with the owner of Kenya Bunduki, Renzo Bernardi.
  • Proposal in place for the refurbishment of the tennis courts and to put in place an all-weather surface.
  • The currently unusable Golf Course is being turned into a Golf Academy with 18 holes, compared to the previous 9, funded by the Ministries of Sport and Education following a request from HE the President to establish such a facility.
  • Kenya Rugby union (KRU) are using the school pitches for training of Kenya national teams and hope to make more use of them for internationals.
  • New Catholic Chapel is now in final stages of completion using the old Gym building as a base.
  • The Obuya Academy has installed and is using an all-weather wicket for the development programme for cricket in National Schools.
  • A recent Inspection has been carried out of the Sanatorium by MKT Trustees with a view to full restoration.

It is hoped that we can generate funds through closer cooperation with the KRU, the Kenya Golf Union, the KSRA, the Cricket governing body, etc., etc. The fact is that with such a large area of land to safeguard from those who may wish to grab it (and there have been several efforts to do so in the past ), we have to assist the school to make better use of it and what better use can there be than as a series of sporting academies which benefit the pupils and extend their learning facilities whilst also benefitting the surrounding communities.

The problem has been and continues to be ‘maintenance’ and our first few forays into assisting the school have proven that a partnership is required giving donors some say over the ongoing management and maintenance of the facilities. This all needs funding and it is certain that the Govt. of Kenya doesn’t have the funds or the inclination to be involved in that side of things! So Memoranda of Understanding are being drawn up for each project and we as Laibon or Yorkists are going to be involved on an ongoing basis and will then only have ourselves to blame if the facilities start to deteriorate once more. MoUs are also going to help protect our investments in the face of any new appointees who may not be as perceptive, balanced or helpful as Mr Mwangi has undoubtedly been. The Principal is fully in support of this form of Public/Private partnership and it is likely that there will be more about all of this in Newsletters to come.

And so… onto other things.

Old Yorkists held a meeting and curry lunch at the Kenya Regiment Club House sometime early in March this year and it was attended by nearly thirty people. Here is a photo of the occasion with the names of those who attended;

From left to right: Back row; Gayling May, Mike Andrews, Charlie Fraser, Peter Low 3rd row; Tony Massey-Blomfield, Johnny Havelock, Arnie Mitchell, Dudley Stannah Front row; Jock Anderson, Phil Leakey, Mike Odera, Jonathan Savage, Bill Okwirry, Peter Patterson, Henry West, Roy Carr-Hartley, Paul Young, Sam Mwaura, Joe Okwach, Chacha Odera, Ronnie Andrews, Jeremy Mott.

From left to right:
Back row; Gayling May, Mike Andrews, Charlie Fraser, Peter Low
3rd row; Tony Massey-Blomfield, Johnny Havelock, Arnie Mitchell, Dudley Stannah
Front row; Jock Anderson, Phil Leakey, Mike Odera, Jonathan Savage, Bill Okwirry, Peter Patterson, Henry West, Roy Carr-Hartley, Paul Young, Sam Mwaura, Joe Okwach, Chacha Odera, Ronnie Andrews, Jeremy Mott.

There is a scant list of local OY’s and we need all the contacts we can get and please also let us know if you are visiting because there are more lunches planned for Old Yorkists and you could tie in and enjoy Jock’s curry and a beer or three. There is also a regular Laibon Tuesday lunch once a month at Nairobi Club attended usually by about 40 Old Boys.

Richard Leakey (Chairman) and Kitili Mbathi (CEO) of the Kenya Wild life services burned Kenya’s stockpile of ivory last month – about 120 Tons. They are both Old Yorkists. The two who made the fires and set up the special effects for the whole event were Charlie Fraser and Robin Hollister – also Old Yorkists, both of Grogan House.

The school is doing better. It needs our assistance and efforts and we as old Yorkists must remain engaged and increase our engagement for only by doing so will we understand the issues, work to resolve them, ensure continuity of academic, sports and personal development standards. You cannot but be impressed by the boys and the teaching staff and especially by the Principal, William Mwangi who has re-ignited pride in the school at all levels. He is keen to meet you all but please do avoid disappointment by calling Ronnie Andrews or one of the Laibon Society personnel in advance to set up your visit with advance notice. Security is a very different issue now to that of the 50s and 60s and this has resulted in people being turned away at the gate, to their chagrin.

Please keep engaged. Engagement doesn’t need money, but money does also certainly help.

UNQUOTE

Here a few more photos;
This is where the new golf course will be. It is in the valley in front of the San and going upwards towards the athletics and cricket area;

Here are a couple of less than perfect photos of some of the attendees at a recently very successful Delamere House reunion, held in York, UK, and hosted by Mike Wilson to which a few non-Delamere intruders, such as myself, were invited.

The tide has turned. The older and younger alumni of the school are both demonstrating their interest and commitment to help current pupils enjoy the “all round” education that they themselves once did there. There is still a huge amount to do in order to return the school to its past prominence, but we can do it. We just need your help and donations. http://www.optimumkenyatrust.org/take-action/ Thank you.

With my very best wishes to you and yours,

John O’Grady

February 2016 Newsletter

Dear Laibon/Old Yorkist

This is our second Newsletter since we established the Optimum Kenya Trust with the Charity Commission in the UK and the Msaada Kenya Trust which is registered with the Government in Kenya. If you did not receive our first newsletter, or the announcement of our formation sent out in July 2015, you can read both documents in the “News” section, and more, on our website http://www.optimumkenyatrust.org

We are up and we are running, but we are certainly not yet at full speed.

Early in 2015 we awarded our first 5 bursaries to 5 financially stretched but academically high performing 2nd year pupils at the school. Thanks to the donations received during 2015, we have now been able to commit to continue to support those 5 during their 3rd year at the school and we have also committed to support another 5 pupils, at least, who have just started their 2nd year at the school from January 2016. You may recall from previous correspondence that pupils are sent to Lenana by the Ministry of Education because they are top performers at their primary school and also performed very well in their KCPE exam, but without any regard for whether the pupil’s family or relatives can afford the school fees at Lenana, currently set at around KS 100,000 per year (£700, $980, oz$1365). There are therefore quite a few pupils at Lenana whose parents, relatives or guardians do not have the income necessary to pay the school fees. Hence the real value of our bursaries and our hope, over time, to increase the number awarded each year.

Besides the above, I am happy to say that there are now quite a few entities besides ourselves who are looking to restore the school to its former prominence. The arrival of the new, organised and more open Principal Mr William Mwangi in January 2014 has been instrumental in setting this process in motion. To inform you on where we are currently, I think I cannot do better than quote from an e-mail I recently received from Ronnie Andrews in Nairobi which demonstrates just how many entities are now at work besides ourselves, including, thankfully, the Principal, the Laibon Society and the Kenya Government.


Dear John,
Please take from the following what you may require for your upcoming newsletter. In the course of my membership of the Laibon Committee, being its Chairman and then working with the Msaada Trust I have a fair idea of the challenges and the victories so here goes – I’ll try to keep it short! But there is a lot to cover.
The Msaada Kenya Trust set up was completed in 2015 and started activities right away by implementing the desire of the parent Optimum Kenya Trust to start by helping the boys, as opposed to diving straight into the requirement for maintenance of school facilities – a formidable challenge! The intention was to make an impact immediately rather than set sights too high and too far out. Five very impressive boys have benefited this last year and they and another five will benefit further this year.

A note on realities: the Kenya Ministry of Education does not have the funds to support any school with complex and sophisticated infrastructure such as Lenana. Whilst it is considered to be one of the elite schools of Kenya it does not merit special treatment except in respect of development funding. The school now houses and feeds about 1200 boarding pupils – twice the size it was in the 70’s and three times the boarding pupils of the 60’s. Conversely the rebuild boarding houses Kinyanjui (formerly Delamere) and the newly built Mandela (on the vlei between Kirk and Grogan) and the refurbished Kenyatta House (formerly Lugard) following a fire which destroyed the building, were all funded by the Government. So too is the current ongoing project; building some new class rooms and a new library on the ground behind the former Thomson House.

The funding for this is from the Kenya Government but it must be remembered that the Principal Secretary in the Treasury is an Old Boy (Laibon) and he has assisted greatly in acting as a bridge between the respective entities.

From internally generated funds the Principal has now re-roofed the tuition block (the top classes were flooding in the rains!), the same for the San, refurbished his own house (allowing him to remove the buckets from all the rooms during the rains!), replaced the tarmac in the main quad with a concrete block walkway, painted the tuition block, replaced broken windows in the classrooms, and various other smaller refurb jobs which were required. 

 But the list of laudable causes goes on and on and, as can be seen from the above, relies upon external benefactors and/or some form of regular support. The school has been a National School for nearly 50 years and the deterioration has been huge. And help can come in many ways: the Optimum Kenya Trust and the Msaada Kenya Trust have embarked upon a programme of refurbishment of the IMMEDIATELY VIEWABLE items; the hockey pitches, the golf course and the Sanatorium. We forwarded some pics of the hockey pitches and they will be in top order from the end of February. (It should be noted that the Lenana team are the regional hockey champions and runners up in the regional rugby championship.) The effort to refurbish the pitches and that of the golf course has received pro bono support from the Karen Club Management who have given us free use of their weed killer mobile sprayer and who have committed to provide grass cutters and mowing for the golf course, an effort which is being supported by the Kenya Golf Union and the Junior Golf Foundation – both headed by Old boys! 

There is a requirement for refurbishment or replacement of the boarding blocks – they were built in 1949 and were expected to last just 25 years! The swimming pool, unusable for years, is receiving attention right now and is the principal current project of the Laibon Society. The squash court requires massive attention. The tennis courts are being worked on currently by us with the hockey pitches. The chapel requires new cork tiles. The Catholic Chapel (formerly the gym) is being developed. The San requires equipment. And that is just what one can see immediately. The school also needs personnel; specialist teachers, nursing staff, other.

In the end what comes from the school differs little, from any year of its existence. In the course of the interviews for bursaries last year we were impressed by the boys themselves and one cannot but be so. They are well turned out, developing a healthy respect for the traditions of the school and taking pride in their uniform and their ascendancy. The discipline is improving, and clarity over the boundaries of the school are being introduced more effectively.

And so it goes. Msaada’s Trustees are committed to helping and the Principal and school body know us and look up to us for guidance and support. Old Boys, both young and old, are definitely coming to the aid of the school and there is a good feeling that the Old Boys of the Laibon era are communicating, gathering, assisting. There are regular monthly lunches featuring our own era as well as more recent presenters, talking about issues of interest. The Laibon Chairman and Committee are working with the school, several of us are on the Board of Management of the school and we are hopeful that we shall soon have more alumni on the Board.

Lenana School is a leader in Kenya and should be a centre for learning in Eastern Africa as a whole. This can only be done if the school, the admin, the Old Boys of all generations and even the Kenya Government are joined up in their thinking. This linkage is better than it ever was, but is not yet ideal. The fact is that the Old Boys cannot be a separate and disjointed grouping of onlookers. Too much is at stake for the current pupils and for Kenya and however small the contribution, it will make a difference. Just communicating will make a difference. But the school is definitely on its way back up. It may never be again the way any particular generation remembers it, but it can still be the best in East Africa.
The current state of the school pool and squash courts

The current state of the school pool and squash courts

Mr William Mwangi and we have been successful in kick starting the regeneration process, but it is only a start. As Ronnie says, there is still a great deal that needs to be done.

We expect in the coming weeks to distribute a further newsletter which will identify the five, minimum, recipients of our OKT/MKT bursaries for 2016 and confirm the renewal of last year’s five fortunate recipients. We shall expect to report on the completion of the re-establishment of the Murram hockey pitches and the tennis courts. I hope that we shall also be able to confirm the start date for the golf course renewal and the refurbishment of the Sanatorium.

This shows the state of both hockey pitches last year

This shows the state of both hockey pitches last year

This is the Braes pitch a few weeks ago: work in progress

This is the Braes pitch a few weeks ago: work in progress

For your information, the only OKT expenditure so far has been the 5 bursaries that were awarded. All of the Trustees have personally paid all of the expenses they have incurred in fulfilling their roles, duties and travel thus far. The same is true of the MKT Trustees. Donations received to date, to both OKT and MKT now exceed £17,000. Our grateful thanks go to all those who have donated thus far.

Also for your information, there is a Delamere House reunion taking place on the evening of Saturday the 27th February at the ASK Italian restaurant in York, England at 7pm, organised by Mike Wilson. And another OY 1949-1968 reunion with a curry lunch prepared by Jock Anderson and Ronnie Andrews will be enjoyed at the Kenya Regiment H/Q in Nairobi at 12.30pm on the 2nd March.  

Besides your deciding perhaps to attend either of these reunions, I would like to encourage you to do two things;
1.    Help us to expand our contact list by letting me have any e-mail addresses of any OY’s/Laibon that you know to be currently valid.
2.    And please donate to the cause, if you can afford to do so. The various ways you can do so are explained on our website http://www.optimumkenyatrust.org/take-action/

With my best wishes to you and yours.

John O’Grady

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September 2015 Newsletter

In September we sent our first newsletter to those who received and opened the initial announcement. This is the contents of that newsletter.

 

Dear Laibon/Old Yorkist
 
You are receiving this, the first OKT/MKT Newsletter, because you were one of the 165 ex-pupils of the DOY/Lenana school who received and opened our initial announcement e-mail, sent out last month, concerning the formation of the Optimum Kenya Trust and the Msaada Kenya Trust. We sent out 550 e-mails to what we hoped were valid e-mail addresses but only 160 were opened, a mere 30%. More on this topic later.
First of all, a correction. The UK Charity Commission has changed their website address from that which was mentioned in the initial announcement e-mail. The new address and the best place to start is www.charitycommission.gov.uk/find-charities. Our registration number is 1154051. There is not much information on there for the moment, as our income has yet to exceed £10,000 in any one year, but we sure hope to achieve that this year.
As of today’s date the Optimum Kenya Trust has received donations and pledges to donate amounting to £11,208.50 thanks, in the main, to a few very generous individuals. This Pound Sterling amount equates to 15,287 Euros, US$ 17,288, AUD 24,218 and KS 1,822,872. The only expenditure to date has been the cost of awarding the first 5 OKT/MKT bursaries, as mentioned in our initial announcement e-mail and on our website: www.optimumkenyatrust.org. Our grateful thanks go to all those who have made donations which have successfully started us upon our way.
Besides ourselves, there are several other entities also pitching in to help the new Headmaster restore the school to its previous prominence. The Kenya Government, no less, has stepped up to the plate and the Principal Secretary at the Ministry of Education, Mr Belio Kipsang, as was reported in the Daily Nation on the 24th August, has committed over KS 50 million to build a new classroom block and a new library at the school. This will enable the school to both increase its student population but also reduce the number of pupils for some classes. Here is a photo of a model of the new block which will be located between Thomson/Kibaki House and Upper Junior/Tom Mboya House.

The Laibon Society are currently considering a proposal to repair and refurbish the school swimming pool. The East Africa Cricket Foundation is also refurbishing the school’s cricket facilities and has provided the school with the necessary equipment.
Some Msaada Trustees met with the Headmaster recently and agreed to fund an initial project which is to clear and make playable once more the 2 murram hockey pitches at the entrance to the school. You can see the current state of the pitches in these 2 photos.

Other possible projects were discussed with the Headmaster and cost estimates will be sought and priorities will be set. There will be an update in the next Newsletter.

Which brings me back to the subject of donations and e-mail addresses. I am confident that many of our fellow ex-pupils who did not receive and open our initial announcement e-mail will want to donate to the cause, but they did not get the opportunity as we had some out-of-date e-mail addresses and some of them may have had a spam filter turned on which rejected our e-mail. Whatever the reason, I would like to reach out further beyond ourselves. So, I therefore ask you, if you will, to kindly send us all the valid e-mail addresses for our fellow ex-pupils, of which you are aware. Over time, with the help of your feedback, we can extend our Newsletter distribution, perhaps re-connect with some old friends and also increase our financial commitment to the pupils and the school and eventually help Kenya to prosper. We appear to have our timing right. We have an opportunity to help with the redevelopment of the school. Let’s do it.

With my best wishes to you all.

First Bursaries Awarded by Optimum Kenya Trust and affiliated Msaada Kenya Trust

The first donation of 5 bursaries, each worth KS 100,000, were handed to the Lenana School Principal, Mr William Mwangi at a weekly roll call and assembly in front of the chapel and the school bell. Ronnie Andrews (pictured), representing the Optimum and Msaada Trustees delivered the good news to the lucky five students who had been selected by the Trustees to be the first recipients of the OKT/MKT Trust bursaries.

In handing over the cheque Ronnie re-stated the intentions of the Trusts to support high-perfoming but financially needy pupils, to contribute towards refurbishment of infrastructure at the school and perhaps, later, to assist outstanding performers with university scholarships. 

The Principal thanked the Optimum and Msaada Trusts and underlined the need for the Old Boys to be involved by assisting in the rebuilding of the school. He pointed out the on-going work in the refurbishment of the courtyards, boarding houses and dining halls and called for assistance in further development of the school.

Mr Mwangi also thanked the Laibon Society and particularly the Principal Secretary at the Ministry of Finance, Dr Kamau Thugge, himself an alumnus of the school, for his efforts in securing funds for the school's next phase of development.

Congratulations once more to our first five hard working students!

Ronnie with Mr. Boniface Ngure, old boy and member of the Laibon Society with the five recipients

Ronnie with Mr. Boniface Ngure, old boy and member of the Laibon Society with the five recipients

Our photographer sneaks behind the scenes

Our photographer sneaks behind the scenes

From left to right: Isiah Kipngetich, Jack Muricho Kituyi, Kenneth Olendo, Oliver Wafula, Hosea Suter Kipkemoi

From left to right: Isiah Kipngetich, Jack Muricho Kituyi, Kenneth Olendo, Oliver Wafula, Hosea Suter Kipkemoi

Tuck those shirts in!

Tuck those shirts in!

School Visit January 2015

Here are just a few pictures which were taken during our all-too-brief visit to the school back in January 2015. They indicate some potential projects which, if funded, will improve the school and the lives of the pupils there.

The hockey pitches are partially covered in grass.

The hockey pitches are partially covered in grass.

This is the Physics Lab. You can see that there is a lack of equipment.

This is the Physics Lab. You can see that there is a lack of equipment.

This is the back of the Carey Francis/Tom Mboya (Lower/Upper Junior House) kitchens. Note the absence of glass in the windows and the return to wood-burning stoves.

This is the back of the Carey Francis/Tom Mboya (Lower/Upper Junior House) kitchens. Note the absence of glass in the windows and the return to wood-burning stoves.

The swimming pool has been unusable for quite some time.

The swimming pool has been unusable for quite some time.

The whole school and all the Houses need redecorating. The windows and roof of the main tuition block have, however, been repaired this last year.

The whole school and all the Houses need redecorating. The windows and roof of the main tuition block have, however, been repaired this last year.

It's not all doom and gloom. Here are a few positive pictures which indicate that things are getting better since Mr Mwangi took charge;

It's not all doom and gloom. Here are a few positive pictures which indicate that things are getting better since Mr Mwangi took charge;

The sanatorium has a new roof and has been redecorated.

The sanatorium has a new roof and has been redecorated.

The pupils are still smart and will soon be helping Kenya to prosper.

The pupils are still smart and will soon be helping Kenya to prosper.

In spite of often being around 50 to a class, the school's results for 2014, Mr Mwangi's first year, Lenana is back in the Top Twenty, having been lower than that for some years. The objective is Top Ten.   

In spite of often being around 50 to a class, the school's results for 2014, Mr Mwangi's first year, Lenana is back in the Top Twenty, having been lower than that for some years. The objective is Top Ten.   

Trustees Visit to meet the Headmaster of Lenana School

In January 2015, some of the Trustees of both Optimum Kenya Trust (OKT) and the Msaada Kenya Trust (MKT) visited Lenana School to meet with the Headmaster to assess the situation at the school and to discuss how best the various organisations can co-operate to help the students, the school and Kenya. 

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Present at the meeting were, from left to right: David Kabeberi, Chairman of the Laibon Society, John O'Grady, Headmaster Mr William Mwangi, Nigel Gaymer and Ronnie Andrews

Prior to the meeting with the Headmaster, the Trustees of the Msaada Trust had met at the Nairobi Club to confirm their approach to the school. From the left; Gayling May, Chacha Odera, Ronnie Andrews. Jonny Havelock, Nigel Gaymer, Peter Gachuhi, John O'Grady. Dr Robin Mogere had also attended the meeting, but was called away to attend an emergency operation before this photograph was taken.

Prior to the meeting with the Headmaster, the Trustees of the Msaada Trust had met at the Nairobi Club to confirm their approach to the school. From the left; Gayling May, Chacha Odera, Ronnie Andrews. Jonny Havelock, Nigel Gaymer, Peter Gachuhi, John O'Grady. Dr Robin Mogere had also attended the meeting, but was called away to attend an emergency operation before this photograph was taken.