A Day in the Life of a Starehe Girl

Just like their contemporaries at the Boys’ Centre, female students are encouraged to support the culture and ethos of Starehe, by taking pride in their school – and responsibility for keeping it clean and tidy. These duties are balanced with a demanding academic schedule and a wealth of extra-curricular opportunities.

Sadia - Form 1 student at Starehe Girls Centre

Sadia - Form 1 student at Starehe Girls' Centre

05.00 a.m.

The girls rise at 5.00 a.m. and clean the boarding blocks before their first prep session, which starts at 5.45.

6.45 - 7.00 a.m.

The girls then have breakfast, before resuming prep - or taking remedial classes before assembly.

8.00 - 8.15 a.m.

At 8 o'clock, on Mondays and Fridays, all Juniors (Forms I and II) and Seniors (Forms III, IV and post graduate students) congregate outside the main office for Assembly. The National Flag is raised and the students pray together. The Director, teachers and other staff members also attend. At this time, girls' appearance is inspected by the Captains. After the announcements, the girls disperse and head to class. On Tuesdays to Thursdays, girls gather in the quadrangle every morning at 8.00 a.m. and every evening at 4.00 p.m. for announcements and prayers. Captains lead and the teachers on duty are also present. The Director or Deputy Director may appear if there is something of great importance to be announced.

08.15 a.m. - 12.40 p.m.

Morning lessons start at 8.15, and with the exception of a half-hour break mid-morning, continue until lunchtime.

12.40 - 1.10 p.m.

The girls have lunch in their dining hall, which currently doubles up as a classroom and common room, with some spilling over into an adjacent tent.

The staple meal is Githeri, a traditional dish of maize and beans, but the girls also enjoy fish from the school ponds, once or twice a week.

1.10 - 1.55 p.m.

After lunch, the girls have ‘common tests’, which underpin their learning and help to determine each girl’s ranking within her year and class; with top place a highly sought-after and motivating goal.

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2.00 - 4.00 p.m.

Afternoon lessons last from 2.00 until 4.00pm - by which time the girls have been up for 11 hours.

4.00 - 4.15 pm.

The girls come together again for evening assembly, and the school flag is lowered.

4.15 - 5.30 p.m.

After assembly, most of the students play sports. The only ‘facilities’ are a patch of uneven land between the school’s dairy cows and the classroom blocks, yet despite this, the girls’ cross country team progressed through the provincial level to compete at a national level in 2007.

During this part of the day, remedial classes are available to help those who are falling behind in their studies. And on Wednesdays and Thursdays, this time is set aside for Clubs and societies.

5.30 - 6.15 p.m.

The girls help to clean up and prepare dinner.

6.15 - 6.45 p.m.

Students have dinner, organising everything themselves on a rota system, from serving the food to tidying up afterwards.

6.45 - 9.15 p.m.

After dinner, all students have time to do their ‘homework’.

Roll call for Juniors is at 9.20, ready for lights out at 9.30.

9.30 - 10.30 p.m.

Senior students continue to study.

10.35 p.m. - 11.35p.m.

Roll Call for Seniors is at 10.35. Students may then resume their studies, if they wish, but all girls must be in bed by 11.35, when the day officially draws to a close.

Making the most of today

This may sound like a demanding schedule, but when you compare it to life outside Starehe, to the experience of rising at 4.00 a.m. to collect firewood and cook a cup of Uji (a millet and corn flour cereal), then running barefoot for 2 km, just to get to school... you can see that life at Starehe has a great deal to recommend it – now and in the future.

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Registered Charity No: 1158079