In 2006 local residents decided that their highest priority was the building of a secondary school to enable children who qualify for entry into secondary school to continue their studies while staying close to their homes. and asked some of their friends to assist them in that endeavour. SONIA joined other organizations and individual funders to bring this project to completions. In less than 4 year the school was completed; it was built in a modular fashion in order to allow for school intake since 2007 and it consists of four large blocks for a total of 12 classrooms, a school office/teachers’ room, a library, a small multipurpose science laboratory and a computer training centre for an intake of 600 students. In 2008 a bursary fund was created to enroll HIV/AIDS related orphans and it has been well functioning since then. Up to 2010, there were 153 bursary awardees out of the 600 pupils in attendance. The school has also initiated an Institute of Technology that offers training in practical skills and that, as a by-product, generates income for the bursary fund through product and services sales. Amoung the programmes: one of tailoring for girls and one of carpentry for boys. Masonry, plumbing and electrification, should start soon. Also under construction is a Women’s Centre to provide counseling and training opportunities for women who have suffered domestic violence and intimidation or who have become destitute following unwanted pregnancies or widowhood. Training is intended to improve life skills as well as reproductive health and to help members become more financially independent. The group also started planning the construction of a dormitory for girls. Apart from saving them from the risks of walking to and from school in the dark, it will reduce the heavy domestic calls on their time when they stay at home.
In 2011 the project achieved excellent results, managing to sustain other 160 orphans and completing the construction of the Women’s Centre, aimed to provide counseling and training. Moreover, in addition to offering training in tailoring and dress making and woodwork, the Institute of Technology started a course in nutrition, cooking and catering.
Additional results have been achieved in 2012: 93 pupils sat the exam for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE), the school ranked 10th out of the 25 secondary schools in Bondo District, up from 15th in 2010. At least 12 former students are now studying at various universities in Kenya, 6 are at teacher training colleges, and one has completed officer training and is a member of the police force. Finally, the first phase of construction of a girls’ dormitory, for 96 girls, will soon begin, with initial funding from Bricks and Cartwheels.