Fairtrade premiums renovate Thenge-Ini Primary school
Thenge-Ini Primary school is regarded as a village school that is now an academy. Before Gikanda received its Fairtrade certification in 2009, the school’s hygienic and academic standards had dwindled. Jiggers had invested the dusty, impoverished structures, sending both teachers and pupils away.
Gikanda Farmers’ Co-operative Society took leadership in anti-jigger campaign by renovating the school; cementing the floors, the walls and building modern toilets, setting up a tank for clean drinking water, and providing sinks where pupils and teachers wash their hands after visiting the toilets.
Mary Kiune, a teacher who has been in the school since 2007, recalls how the situation was before and how it is today.
“The population was low, and we had very few children enrolled. The classes had no windows and children always suffered from malaria because of the cold. The classroom floors were dusty which made the children susceptible to flu every time. Thanks to Fairtrade premiums we have built better classrooms.”
The situation was worse in the sense that in 2009 only eight students sat for their final exams and they all failed. Teachers had no place to sit and they asked to be transferred from the school.
“We really thank Fairtrade. We have good class rooms and the population has now increased to around 300 and we are expecting more enrollment next year. Our mean score has improved very much especially for our class seven and eight,” says Mrs. Kiuna.
The old toilets a short distance from the new green painted modern toilets reminds the school of the devastated compound that stood before Fairtrade came in.
Elsewhere, Gatundu secondary school was born in 2008 when Gatundu primary school donated land to start a secondary school in the area.
The community pleaded for a secondary school to be started to help children from the coffee farming community to get education.
Fairtrade constructed classrooms and the staff offices. It also constructed a kitchen, a laboratory and equipped the lab.
Currently the population of the school has increased from 26 students to 230.
The school principal Maurice Mwangi says currently the school has only two streams and he is hoping that with more premium, more classrooms will be added and a boarding facility.
“We need to have a modern laboratory, a computer lab to see the students getting access to ICT, and in future to have a hall for the school to hold performances and meeting”, says Mr. Mwangi