The Kipungani Schools Trust is a charitable organization, administered without cost, that rebuilds primary schools along the coast of Kenya, funds related community projects and sponsors scholarship students to move on to secondary education. Its ethos is to ensure that every penny raised arrives in Africa without deduction and is spent in an ethical, efficient and economical way, demonstrating to both Kenyans and donors alike that small sums of money, effectively spent, can and will change Africa.
The Kipungani Schools Trust was started in 1999 by John Seagrim and Georgina Hood, the founder of Paint Pots Montessori Schools in London. In October of that year, while on holiday on the island of Lamu off the coast of Kenya, John and Georgina walked into a village called Kipungani and came across 3 committed teachers, 60 tired children and a "shack" for a school that was near complete collapse. Kipungani School was then no more than 3 earth floored, mud and block walled classrooms, with hot shallow tin roofs and no doors or windows to speak of. There were hardly any desks, one blackboard and a few school books that, like the buildings, were largely in pieces.
Inspired by the enthusiasm of the teachers, the hopes of the children and with the enthusiastic support of the governors, John and Georgina decided to to set up a charity and rebuild Kipungani School. They returned to London and with the considerable help of Cas Donald, The Kipungani Schools Trust was born.
By the end of 2002 and at a cost of just £16,500, Kipungani had a new School. Where there had been just 3 tin roofed mud huts, there were 8 white washed, stone walled and cement floored classrooms with steeply pitched makuti roofs and mahogany doors and shutters to keep them cool; Where there had been just 60 children there were 120, each with a desk to sit at with their own books to read and pens to write. And where there had been just 3 teachers now there were 8, with a small staff room and a library. The village of Kipungani had a second well and a school of which they were enormously proud.
Six years and six schools later the The Kipungani Schools Trust is still building schools, is still employing local people and using local materials, is still funding teachers and sponsoring students, is still demonstrating what money carefully spent can achieve and, most importantly is still giving the people of Kenya a Hand Up not a Hand Out.