Kenya is still a developing country, and whilst the Government has succeeded in providing free primary education to all its citizens, the provision of secondary education – totally free of charge - will take many years to achieve. The government pays approximately £150 to the Starehe schools per pupil per year, but it actually costs the schools £1,000 per year to provide a home and education to each student. However on the positive side because of the Starehe schools financial independence they are free to pursue and promote their unique and successful educational philosophy, without interference.
Many Old Starehians already support the schools both directly and through Starehe UK, in addition to helping members of their extended families through school and assisting their home communities, e.g. by building houses and paying for wells to be dug. Old Starehians sponsor children at the school, and virtually all of them support fundraising efforts within Kenya, e.g. by participating in the annual fundraising golf day and race day. In 2007, the Old Starehian Society set up the Griffin Memorial Endowment Trust which raises funds to support the schools.
Despite educating poor bright students free of charge, Starehe Boys’ Centre and Starehe Girls’ Centre receive no more money from the Kenyan government than any other secondary school. Students receive simple food and lodgings that are far from luxurious - and both centres aim to be self-sufficient in as many areas as possible, such as food production (at the Girls’ Centre) and investing in renewable energy sources (Boys’ Centre).
This is outside of Starehe UK’s sphere of influence. However, Starehe is continuously reaching out to other schools in Kenya, who are keen to replicate the Starehe model. Long-term, as Old Starehians move into increasingly influential positions within the Kenyan government, they will undoubtedly harness Kenya’s resources to improve the situation for others in the future.
Many former Starehians stay in Kenya and make a vital contribution to the country’s economic and political life – and other spheres of influence. Others are employed by international or governmental organizations, which require them to work abroad. For example, old boys are currently employed outside Kenya by respected organizations such as Reuters, the BBC, Citibank and Google. However, it must be remembered that Kenya is still an emerging economy in a developing continent and unemployment is high. Even a degree is no guarantee of a job and, as a result, many Kenyans are obliged to seek work outside Kenya and this inevitably includes some former Starehians.
Both schools receive funding from a number of different sources, including:
- Grant from the Kenyan government, including Teachers’ salaries.
- Grants from overseas non-governmental organisations.
- Student fees (currently, at the Boys’ Centre only).
- Income from Centre-led fundraising events in Kenya e.g. sponsored walks, golf days and dinners.
- Private donations from individuals in Kenya and overseas, including former pupils.
- Donations from the Griffin Memorial Endowment Fund.
- Donations from Starehe UK.
- ‘Earned’ income, e.g. band hire fees and publications revenue (Boys’ Centre), and sales of foodstuffs such as fish and honey (Girls’ Centre).
Starehe UK is a UK registered charity with direct and close access to the Directors of both institutions, and to other key staff members. Monies are transferred directly from Starehe UK to the school bank accounts; there are no third parties involved. Starehe UK passes 100% of all sponsorship donations or gifts for capital projects to the relevant school. Trustees of Starehe UK closely monitor the schools’ activities and receive reports on any funds granted, as well as annual reports from the Directors of both institutions.
The Director of Starehe Boys’ Centre is accountable to:
- The Starehe Managing Committee - responsible for scrutinising, approving and signing the Annual Report & Accounts, which are audited by Ernst & Young.
- The Board of Trustees - the property of the Centre is vested in charitable Trustees, comprising a minority who are core members of the Managing Committee, additional members representing relevant government Ministries and a few experts.
- The Director of Starehe Girls’ Centre is accountable to:
- The Starehe Managing Committee – appointed by the Board of Trustees and comprising the Directors of both Centres, three child welfare specialists and three distinguished individuals nominated by the Trustees.
- The Board of Trustees - responsible for scrutinising, approving and signing the Annual Report and Accounts, which are audited by Ernst & Young. Trustees include business, education and charity experts.
What the schools needs above all is money; to help meet pressing short-term capital needs and to protect the future of free places at both Centres. However, in certain circumstances we may be able to investigate how expert volunteers or gifts-in-kind could be used effectively. This would be discussed and agreed on an individual basis.