A message from our founder

Twenty years ago this month I arrived in Kasigau for the first time as a volunteer with Africa & Asia Venture (AV) and in so doing the course of my life changed forever.

Within five years African Promise had been born and here we are now, in the sixteenth year of the charity, having invested almost £2million to support the lives and futures of thousands of children across a network of eight primary schools in the Kasigau community.

It has been an incredible journey of ups and downs, highs and lows, blood, sweat and, frequently (especially in the early days) tears, however the work is far from done.

Before African Promise was born, when my plan was just to support Jora Primary School – in the village where I had been based as an ‘AV’ and which is now my second home – the vision was to make that school the best public primary school in rural Kenya. That is a vision that is still yet to be realised at Jora Primary, although there are perhaps others amongst our network that may lay claim to being – at least when measured by how they look!

Every day, my team and I work alongside headteachers, teachers, parents and the wider community to build a brighter and better future for the 3,000 children that attend these schools at any one time and the many thousands more that will do so in generations to come.

It is not easy work, especially at the moment in the face of some of the most significant ever changes to the Kenyan education system and the cost of living and climate crises which are having such a devastating impact on a community that has traditionally been so reliant on subsistence farming for its livelihood.

There are challenges at almost every turn, some of which seem insurmountable, and very rarely are there easy answers.

One thing that makes it easier is to know that we have a community of supporters that stand alongside us. Many of you have been there the entire way. Thank you.

There is still a long way to go on this journey – if you want to call it that – and there is no hiding from the fact that our partner schools are hugely reliant on AP; without our support they would quickly fall into a state of disrepair, largely be unable to provide their pupils with a daily lunchtime meal or water, and have insufficient funds to meet even basic running costs.

I don’t know what the future holds for the charity and what role it will be playing in the life of the schools in another fifteen years but I know that Kasigau will always have a place in my heart. Thank you for keeping a space for it, and for African Promise, in yours.