A Big Picture School in Africa!

Support Kenya Big Picture School
In Kenya, moving from 8th grade to high school, or from high school to university means passing a test.  Students only get one chance. Naturally, not all of them pass. Young people in Nairobi's poorest neighborhood schools often end up out of school due to lack of money, leading to a 25% failure rate for these tests, and effectively ending their chance to move out of the cycle of poverty. Both boys and girls wind up out of school, unemployed, unable to find a job. 

Kibera, the largest urban slum in Africa, contains nearly 1 million people in a 2.5 square kilometer area. Most (75%) are under 18, and nearly 100,000 children are orphaned.

It is estimated that about 50% of Kenyan youth from informal settlements drop out of school and/or get an education that doesn't prepare them for the job market.
Some young men are forced to earn money from politicians, who pay them to protest. These protests often end in bloodshed, and even death.

Kenya Big Picture School offers an alternative. For less than $36,000, for an entire year, we can establish partnerships with three community schools and reach over 100 students by running Advisories on campus, by working with local businesses to provide month-long internship intensives and by coaching students academically so they increase their chances of passing the high school exit exams.

In addition, we will work with another 20 un-schooled youth, ages 14-25, at a location right in the Kibera shantytown, providing training and resources for entrepreneurial activities, internships and job placement. Nearly 50% of these youth are unemployed; the rest work in unskilled labor.

Our budget also includes funding for rent, school supplies, stipends for uniforms and other costs, plus work for local support staff.

Educator, teacher, coach, mother of three and designer, Carol Owala, who herself rose up from Nairobi's Kibera neighborhood, has studied Big Picture Learning's distinct approach to empowering young people for several years, and is now ready to embark on the challenge of starting the first Big Picture School in Kenya.

To raise funds, she's started a sewing cooperative, employing local women to make hand bags with exotic prints and colors. Carol designs the bags, sources the fabrics and pays the women in the cooperative, who in turn use the money to help pay for their children's uniforms, books, lunches and tuition at school. It's a beautiful circle.

Selling handbags helps  a lot of families. Selling enough handbags might even build a school someday. But we'd like to move the process forward a little faster. In fact, we'd like to raise enough money to start working with more students as early as January 2018.

Which means we're pretty busy! Volunteers are working to develop a website, social media platforms, nonprofit status, bank accounts and all of the basic organizational structures to support the work. Some of this is happening in the US, and some in Kenya. All of the work is done by volunteers right now.

We could use your help.

Naturally, we're writing grants, giving speeches, telling our story, selling more handbags.  In addition, the school model in Kenya is designed to be self-funding through family support and, eventually, government funding. Right now, though, we're spreading the word to friends and family, as widely as possible, to get this project launched.

Please take a minute to do 3 things:
1. Donate whatever you can afford
2. Leave us a comment.
3. Spread the word about our work by sharing this fundraiser widely.

You can give students a second chance.
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 40 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $120 
    • 40 mos
  • michael welch 
    • $250 
    • 41 mos
  • Judy Williams 
    • $100 
    • 41 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $30 
    • 41 mos
See all


Scott V Young 
Nevada City, CA
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