It’s not every day we hear positive stories about Uni students doing something noble in and out of campus. But a group of Daystar University students is making a difference in their community by building and running a primary school through a student-run Community Based Organization (CBO).
Daystar Uni students registered Lukenya Pillars of Transformation in 2009, making the CBO the first registered Community Based Organization in Machakos County.
Some students identified the need to have a public primary school in Lukenya, as most of the schools in the community were private and out of reach for most residents.
“The school came about after we realized that there was a need. We approached one of the community members, Mama Mary Mulandi, and she was so generous as to donate two acres of land. Other community members donated ‘mabati’ and few things here and there so as we could put up temporary structures,” says Metrine Namalwa, currently the Executive Director of Lukenya Pillars of Transformation, and also a fourth year social work student.
The school got its name – Daystar Mulandi School – as a result of the cooperation between students and Mama Mulandi. Several other partners have since then joined the cause including Waridi Flower Company -which contributed the one permanent structure-, AIESEC, Lukenya Getaway, Lukenya Motors, Simba Cement, ADCU among others.
However, challenges still remain. The growing number of students in the school – now at 120 – is stretching the inadequate physical facilities. The school also faces an acute shortage of teachers.
The CBO is keen on seeing that it does all it can to address these challenges by working through partners.
“Well wishers include Mama Mary Mulandi who has gone ahead to increase her land donation to three acres. Other partners include AIESEC, which has been bringing in volunteer teachers. Currently, three from China are in session. Last semester, we had two from Iran. We’ve had some from Ethiopia and Tanzania as well,” says Dan Mburu, a second year education student, also Projects director at Lukenya Pillars of Transformation.
“So far we have only four government teachers. We are still working to get the school registered under the government so that we can get funds for free primary education as well as the feeding program,” adds Metrine Namalwa.
Daystar Mulandi School has changed the lives of community members and children can now find an affordable, more convenient school to attend.
“I used to school at K.M.C. primary school before I joined this school. I had to wake up at 4.00pm to catch the 5.00am staff bus heading from Daystar University. I was usually sleepy and tired by the time I got to school,” says Alex Maina, a class seven student at Daystar Mulandi School
Another student, Faith Nduku, says they used to come across wild animals like hyenas on their way to their former school in Athi River.
The student-run CBO is not stopping with the school project. Plans are underway to start a clinic, poultry project and the dhobi (laundry) project. The clinic project is meant to see to it that the community surrounding Daystar does not have to go all the way to Athi River for treatment, while the dhobi and poultry projects are income generating.
Besides these, the CBO has programs. They include sexuality program, Bible study, mentorship, and life skill trainings. All these are meant to equip the community with leadership skills that will ensure sustainability in all aspects of life.
These students are truly living up to the true calling of servant leadership.