Make a Difference Schools – Mombasa was registered as a charity in 2013.

1. Education and training for children with special needs

Our first project was to build a school for children whose parents could not afford school fees and this we completed in 2016. Since then the school has gone from strength to strength, having added an extra classroom to meet the increased demand for places.

Our next project involved assisting a lady who was working with special needs children in a live-in building which flooded every year.

Over a three-year period, we raised funds to fence off a piece of land, dig a well and help her to move to new brighter, cleaner premises with extra showers and toilets.

On a visit in January 2019, we met the head teacher of the Utange Primary School near Mombasa and, in discussions, the idea of a much-needed special needs unit (later to be known as The Rainbow Unit) was born.

In December 2020 the dream became a reality with the completion of the building. Official opening is planned for February 2021.

2. Mothers who haven’t the funds to feed their children or have them educated.

Over this same period, we have been helping mothers who are in desperate need by providing seed money to start small businesses: two ladies were each provided with a motorbike to run a taxi service, sewing machines and training were provided for a group of ladies who now make, amongst other things, school uniforms for the local children and funding was given to two ladies who had small shops to enable them purchase much needed stock.

In the last year, money has been provided to purchase and set-up a posho mill. This is a small machine which grinds flour and maize which together form the staple diet of the people. The mill is now fully functional and the women have won contracts to supply two schools so far and with more in the pipeline. As a by-product, the husks are sold to feed chickens.

With the help of Jane, the head teacher at Utange State Primary School, these projects have proved a resounding success and it is really satisfying to visit Utange and see the women happy and smiling and working together and helping one-another. And, of course, to see their children now at school with full tummies and proudly wearing the uniforms made for them.