The Shikamana School (formerly known as Peace Village School) was founded in May 2002 by Pastor Jackson Gitonga and Madam Eunice k. Peter, in order to provide education for children, who due to poverty would otherwise not be able to attend school. diani beach Shikamana School for Orphans & Disadvantaged Children Many of these children are Orphans, now living either with a relative or a guardian found by the school.
Many are from single parent families, HIV and Aids is a sad reality in Africa and many of these children have already lost a parent to the disease, and are now living in poverty due to their surviving parent being too sick to work. Many of these children may be HIV+ In the early days the school had just 6 children but 9 years on now has in excess of 360 children attending regularly.
The youngest children are barely three years old and the older children can be up to 19 years of age. This enormous age range is due to many children not having the opportunity to attend school until Shikamana expanded and by then they were perhaps 8 years old or more, and as they must progress through each class/educational step, and succeed in passing end of year exams before moving on to the next level, they are often still in Primary Education in their late teens. The children follow the Standard Primary Curriculum in addition to beginning with three years in Kindergarten.
Shikamana does not turn away any child who wishes to attend school. This means that many of the children attend despite their parents being unable to pay the very moderate school fees at Shikamana.
The school operates a sliding scale of fees according to what the parents can manage, those in work pay moderate but full fees, others pay what they can, but must do so regularly and at a predetermined rate, and for those who really cannot afford to contribute financially they do so by offering their service to a rota for cleaning, maintenance, gardening and helping in the kitchen. Very few parents pay full fees, but all take pride in contributing to their children’s education. The parents are also involved in many of the decision making processes at the school.
Shikamana School has had many problems over the years particularly regarding keeping premises for school use. On more than one occasion the building (barely more than metal sheeting and ply wood) was dismantled and moved to a new piece of land in order to continue to exist.
In 2005 Mr & Mrs Wood from East Lothian, Scotland, came across the school while on holiday in Diani. It had dust floors, no books or paper to speak of, and nothing more than teachers who were willing, for little or no money, to share their own knowledge with the growing number of children.
The Wood’s saw such potential in this school, they vowed to help. Mr & Mrs Wood are still trustees of the Charity they created based in Scotland and still assist with helping to allocate funds raised by various methods and from generous donations.
Little did they know that by 2009 their efforts and actions would lead to an American Benefactor stepping forward and agreeing to purchase the school a large piece of land and build a purpose built modern structure to enable the school to exist indefinitely.
The result of this incredible good fortune is the lovely school that can be seen and visited today. Some people may say that all the school’s troubles are now over. This could not be further from the truth.