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Author Archive for daveshorten

Covid Update 3

We have just sent George Mwakisha a second sum of money to help the challenges of Covid in Kenya. Both his Upper Planet Training Centres are closed ( we are of course contining to pay all staff salaries) but the shop at the Kitukunyi Centre remains open.

Many people have been made redundant (there is no furlough scheme!) and have no money to pay for food they buy from the shop. George said in a recent email:

The extra grants you sent has really helped us since we have customers who lost their jobs and some, although still engaged but are not being paid. We have been giving them food on credit hoping that when situation improves they will pay up their bills. We also have families from poor back ground and as the economic situation is currently is , we had to extend a hand of help , though they promised to pay when situation changes.

We will keep the situation under review. Although we are digging deep into our reserves, we will not hesitate to send more funds if the situation becomes even worse….

Covid Update 2

We have helped Selina at Mvono Clinic to make herself, her staff and patients safer and more secure. She has now bought appropriate PPE and fitted an extractor fan in her consulting room. We just hope and pray that the number of cases in Kenya stays as low as it currently is…..

Covid in Kenya: update 1

Like all Kenyan children, the kids at Grace Mwatate Children’s Home are off school, but they are coping well. Local Community Officer Esther provided everyone with masks, staff included. The new field behind the Home is proving to be a superb area for daily games of football.

Support for our Kenyan community during the Covid-19 pandemic

We at Education Exchange have been proactive in our support for our Kenyan family as they prepare for the worst of the virus.

We have sent funds to help everyone who has a shop or kiosk which sells groceries and provisions to buy in extra stock before prices go up even higher. So this week they’ve been buying beans, maize and flour. As the crisis bites and people have no money they will be able to obtain these provisions from the stalls and kiosks without paying- and then pay the shop whenever they are back in work.

Selina at Mvono Clinic will clearly be at the centre of fighting the pandemic in her community of Wundanyi. She currently has no protective equipment. She has no air extraction system in her office. She needs to create a safe place (a holding room) where patients displaying corona symptoms can wait to be seen. Education Exchange has funded all of this. We want her to be as safe as possible so that she can help her community and come out safe at the other end.

Trustee visit 2020

On our last day we all had supper together. We celebrated what we have achieved and renewed our determination to do even more in the coming year.
Back row: George, Habel, Dave, Simon, Scaver, Sammy
Front row: Sue, Christine, Selina

Sue & Dave spent two weeks in Taita late Jan/early Feb 2020. We visited all the projects that Education Exchange supports, meeting and hearing the stories of people who have benefitted from the generosity of our donors.

It’s safe to say that things are going well: each project has an exciting agenda to take forward in 2020. Each leader has our confidence and the high-level skills to make even more progress this year.

Familia Education Exchange

On our last night in Wundanyi, February 21st, Education Exchange trustees invited everyone connected with our work in Kenya to meet us over a meal. There were eleven of us: one person was away on a training course and could not be there. this was the inaugural meeting of Familia Education Exchange (The Education Exchange Family)

It’s difficult to overestimate the importance of this meeting. Three things emerged: firstly, the sense of common purpose shared by everyone around the table and the warmth of friendships that have been developed over the last ten years; secondly, the determination to ensure that we continue to work to help the needy far into the future (we talked about how our working relationship would look in 2030 and 2040); and finally the opportunities that each project currently had to help the work of the other three projects. (For example, with IT, with health, with practical skills)

Since we returned home, our Kenyan colleagues in the Taita Family have met again. They have committed to drawing up a joint action plan which they will share with UK Family members later in May. A massive step forward for everyone involved in this organisation- and that includes all our donors and sponsors!

Children move in to new Home

How impressive the new building looks!

How impressive the new building looks!

Staff and children on the front porch

Staff and children on the front porch


Although there still is quite a lot of work to do, and  more funding needed from Education Exchange, the children have moved in to their superb new Home.  The rest of the work will be done as everyone settles in over the next few months. Fantastic progress! Less than three years from start to finish! And nearly £35,000 raised! Thanks to all our amazing donors!

Full details under the Current Projects tab


We’re close to moving in!

Progress has been so good at the Children’s Home that the plan is to move in before the end of August. There is some painting to do and glass to put in the windows, then the premises will be ready for the children to move in. Home Manager Habel says that “…. we will do the rest as the children enjoy their new premises…..”



Our Kenyan evening went down well!

38 people came to our Kenyan evening on July 6th. It was a real mix of ages from a wide local area.

In the first half of the evening, Dave talked about the differences between life here in the UK and life in Kenya. He was at pains to challenge the preconception  that we do all the giving and our Kenyan friends do all the receiving. It’s much more of a two-way friendship, with both countries doing some things very well and other things far less well… Dave highlighted the Kenyan capacity to share and give, as well as the joyful faith that most people demonstrate on a daily basis. As one person remarked that evening…”in the UK we take ourselves too seriously….”

Then came the food: there were several traditional Kenyan dishes on offer and all were very well received:  pilau, matoke, sukuma wiki, green grams and ugali, with mandazis as a tasty pudding. All washed down with a cup or two of chai. People also appreciated the traditional beginning to a Kenyan meal, where, before grace is said, the hosts pour water for each guest to wash their hands.

On a beautiful summer’s evening,no-one wanted to go home and people stayed and talked for a long time……… that’s a very Kenyan end to the evening!

The roof is completed and we’re moving inside!



This photo was taken mid June and shows our new children’s home with the roof completed. Compare this with how the building looked in January



Education Exchange has now received copies of all the receipts for this work.This enables us to send the £7500 needed to finance plastering and electrics for the inside of the building and to pay for the two new stoves which will dramatically improve how food can be prepared and cooked in the new home.

We are now well on the way! This is such exciting news for all our donors!