Voices from 8th Grade – Class of 2021

Recently our 8th graders finished their exams, meaning that they are done with 8th grade and will move onto high school in January. We are spotlighting these students, who are the highest performing class we’ve had yet!

In Kenya, even public high school has a tuition. The better high schools tend to have higher tuitions, and students are placed in a high school by their exam scores. These students are bright and promising. Read about them below. High school classes are the most in need of sponsorship because their education is more expensive. If you’d like to sponsor their class during their high school years visit the Sponsor Students page. 


Sime Willyster Akoth

I have been at LightHouse Academy for six years. I like being a student at LightHouse Academy because of the good performance. I like playing football [soccer] and singing. When I reach college, I would like the course of a nurse. When I grow up I would like to help our community by building more schools and helping the orphans.

-Sime Willyster Akoth, 14 years old



Teddy Joshua Alando

I have been at LightHouse Academy for two years…and by God’s grace – wishing it to be the last year. [Because he will graduate.] As a student at LightHouse, I really like much about my school: my good friends, our beloved “Mums” here for us, our studies, our teachers, only to mention a few. My hobbies are reading magazines, drumming and playing music. About courses, I would like to take “journalism”, if possible! For my community, I would first find a way on how to help them live a deep life in a way of not spending a lot of money on buying things that “we can make ourselves”. For example, the planting of trees as a result of using them in building up schools; we must create an awareness on the importance of replacing a traditional way of making charcoal by not cutting or bringing down the trees. By all these, this will leave my community not having to live a life of losing just to have.

-Teddy Joshua Alando, 17 years old


Opere James Oahiambo

I have been at LightHouse Academy for four years. I liked becoming a student at LightHouse because the performance was good and students were disciplined. My hobby is playing soccer. I would like the course of piloting in college. I am planning to help the community by building schools for the orphans and starting some projects which could help the community to grow economically.

-Opere James Oahiambo, 14 years old


Scholar Achieng


I have been in LightHouse Academy for four years. Being a student at LightHouse has made me benefit much in my primary education and it has made me and other pupils to have good performance. I like swimming in the river during my free time. I would like to take of journalism in my college level. I am about to start a Youth Group in the community that can help them to earn their living standard.

-Scholar Achieng, 16 years old


Effie Adhiambo



I like being a student at LightHouse because of the good meals they provide, the good performance they have and the quality teachers they have. I like swimming as my hobby and I would like to take journalism courses in college. After completing college, I would build hospitals and start some projects that would help my community.

– Effie Adhiambo, 15 years old




Tonny Austine

I have been at LightHouse Academy for four years. I like being a student at LightHouse Academy for the better and good teachers who are employed. I am a boy talented in football [soccer] and dancing. I plan to have a course of becoming a doctor when I grow up. I plan to help the community after my education by building more schools for the orphans and health services for those who are sick.

-Tonny Austine, 14 years old



Linda Akoth

I have been at LightHouse for ten years. In LightHouse, what I like is how we are being aught and how we do play during physical education. My hobby is playing in football [soccer] matches. I like it very much. When I finish my secondary education, I would like to be a doctor in the future. If I finish college, I would like to help my community by building a hospital for them to have better treatment.

-Odera Linda Akoth, 13 years old



Siwo Abigael Aluoch

I like dancing and reading storybooks. I’ve been at LightHouse Academy for four years. I like being at LightHouse Academy because of the good performance in the school. I would like to train in nursing in college. When I grow up, I would like to help my community by planting trees and building hospitals.

-Siwo Abigael Aluoch, age 15



Anna Adhiambo

I have been at LightHouse Academy for 8 years; I like being at LightHouse because of good performance and proper hygiene. My hobby is reading storybooks, dancing and playing volleyball. If I finish college, I want to be a lawyer in the future. After finishing all that, I would like to help my community by building schools for orphans and needy people.


– Anna Adhiambo, 13 years old



Lovintronner Akoth


I have been at LightHouse for 6 years. I like better teaching and good performance at LightHouse. I like playing soccer and I would like to be a pilot in the future. I would like to build schools for the orphans and provide basic needs for the widows in my community.


-Lovintronner Akoth, 14 years old




Mary Patience Akinyi

I have been in LightHouse for 9 years. What I like in LightHouse is proper hygiene, proper teaching, and a balanced diet. My hobby is listening to music and reading storybooks. I would like to be an actress. I would like to help the community by distributing basic needs to the needy and the poor, and organizing an orphanage school and children’s home.

-Mary Patience Akinyi, age 14



Ann Ogutu


I am Ogutu Ann Akinyi. I am a Kenyan aged 17 years old. I have been at lighthouse for 6 years. I like the good performance of Lighthouse and how the cooks are humble to me. During my leisure time, I like visiting the needy and playing football [soccer]. When I grow up, I would like to be a teacher. I plan to help my community by building schools for them.

-Ann Ogutu, 17 years old


Kevin Onyango

I have been at LightHouse for 7 years. I like my teachers and pupils. Ialso like our cooks and workers for they are obedient and gave me advice when I got onto a wrong path. My hobby is playing soccer and reading storybooks. I would like to do the course of piloting in college. I am planning to help the community by respecting my elders and therefore showing a good example.

-Kevin Onyango, age 14


James Onyango


I have been at LightHouse for four years. I like our teachers, our school, our breakfast, our lunch, the school manager, our performance and all the subjects that we’re being taught. My hobby is playing football [soccer]. I would like to do a doctor course in college. I plan to help the community by respecting the elders and doing things that may lead to development in my community.

-James Onyango, age 14


Collins Odukah



I’ve been at LightHouse for 10 years.I like the performance of students of LightHouse and the teaching of their teachers. I like playing football [soccer] as my hobby and I would like to do a course for a game warden. When I finish my course I will build an orphanage at my community and some project that could help the community to grow economically.

-Collins Odukah, age 17


Jacklyne Akinyi



I have been at LightHouse Academy for four years. I like how they teach, also how they cook. We always eat a balanced diet at school daily. My hobby is playing football [soccer] and reading novels. I always spend my leisure time playing football [soccer] and reading storybooks. If I finish my school, I will help the community by helping the needy, contributing food to the orphans and building the nation. I would like to be a pilot. I will go to Aviation College.

-Jacklyne Akinyi, age 15



Esther Akoth

I have been at LightHouse for 6 years. What I like about being a student at LightHouse, is how the teachers are teaching and the pupils are performing. My hobby is playing football [soccer] and farming. The course I would like in college is nursing. I plan to help the community by building a school for orphans and helping the needy.

-Esther Akoth, age 17



Irine Opudo

I have been in LightHouse for 9 years. I like being a student at LightHouse Academy because of the good performance in the school. I like reading novels. I would like to be a banker in the future. I am planning to help my community by building a school and a hospital in the community.

-Irene Opudo, age 14




Mercy Achieng



I have been at LightHouse Academy for 4 years and I like the teaching and good performance of LightHouse. I like singing as my hobby. I would like to do nursing as my course and I am planning to help the community by building water projects for the people to have clean water for drinking

-Mercy Achieng, age 17

Sex and World Peace: Why We Need to Care about Gender Equality

In her eloquent and timely TED talk, Susan Stall discusses gender equality. How does gender equality in health, education and work improve economic development, promote peace and improve the performance of companies and governments? Susan Stall has answers for us.

Light House Academy, Rafiki Africa’s K-8 school, is 75% female students.

We recognize what these girls have to give to their families, communities, their country and the world. We know what we miss out on when we disenfranchise them. Help us empower the next generation of world women. 

Sponsorship Spotlight: Wendy Teresa Adhiambo

My name is Wendy Teresa Adhiambo, aged 23 years old. I am a Kenyan by birth.

I have experienced a lot with Rafiki Africa since I joined LightHouse Academy in 2004, in grade 4.

Rafiki has taught me a lot and I have achieved some skills through Rafiki, like library skills; in 2013 I was a librarian for LightHouse Academy. I’ve also gained teaching skills. I was teaching the lower primary (Grades 1-3)  at LightHouse Academy which helped me acquire skills in handling small children. I also helped with mentoring the high school students for a time.


Through Rafiki I have managed to achieve my certificate in the course of Diploma in Land Surveying at Kenya Institute of Surveying and Mapping in Nairobi. Rafiki has provided me with the necessary equipment, like school fees and upkeep fees. This enabled me to study in college very well and I also did my final exams with no problem.

What I am doing now

Now I am on my first job at the Civicon East Africa Company in Mombasa. Civicon East Africa is an engineering company that deals with civil engineering work and mechnical work. For now, we are doing construction at the port in which I am gaining different skills in land surveying, like leveling, setting out and calculation of volume of earth works.

What I want to accomplish in a few years

I am planning to go for my further studies, that is, a degree in Geomatics and Geospatrial Information (GIS) because diploma alone is not enough course; the world has become so competitive in the education section. I also hope to give a helping hand to the needy children, supporting them through their education, and to get a well paying job in the future.

Click here to learn more about sponsorship through Rafiki.

A Need to Read

by Amber Kepler

Even though it is summer here in the United States, school is still on the brain for one teacher.

Meg Diller, a preschool teacher in Lancaster, left in June for her second trip to visit LightHouse Academy in Alendu, Kenya. In 2015, Meg, along with other volunteers from the US, visited Alendu to work with the teachers of LightHouse Academy. That trip made an obvious impact on Meg and her husband, Ken.

So this summer, Meg will return to Kenya for a few weeks to continue the work.

Meg Diller traveled with the Worship Center team in the summer of 2015. On that trip, the team provided teacher training like Reading Assessment Training, training on analyzing data and creating educational goals for students and Special Education training. They also presented topics like computer/email training for all school staff members. Additionally, they hosted a Vacation Bible School for all students at the school, provided marriage counseling to parents and teachers, and taught conflict resolution skills to administrators at LHA. Needless to say, it was a busy trip for the team.

On her trip this June, she will check on the progress of the reading program started in 2015.

Meg will work with teachers to look at the assessments that they have administered. Together they will analyze the data and create new goals for the students. In addition, Meg will also work with the Pre-K – 2 teachers to share her knowledge of Early Childhood Education. Meg has been looking forward to this trip since her trip in 2015 and will be an asset to LHA’s teachers while she is there. When she returns, she will volunteer with Rafiki’s education board to help develop new goals for the teachers and students at LHA.

Sponsorship Spotlight: Calvince Otieno

The following letter was written by Calvince Otieno, who was sponsored by Rafiki Africa starting in the second grade. He wrote a letter of thanks to Rafiki Africa for the organization’s involvement in his and his family’s life. We edited the writing lightly, for comprehension.

My name is Calvince Otieno, one of the Rafiki beneficiaries. I come from a very humble family in Alendu, Kenya. I was born and raised in a family of six siblings. Four of my siblings died at tender ages due to malnutrition and easily preventable and curable diseases. My parents could not take them to the hospital due to inadequate funds and knowledge of their curable condition. I also lost my mother when I was only 8 years old. We were left in the hands of my dad, who was also affected psychologically by the sudden death of my mother.

The situation became unbearable for us, and we did not only lack the basic needs, but also the funds to pay for our education. This forced my only sister to drop out of school and get married at a very tender age.

Thanks to Rafiki, which came to our rescue. There are really no words to express my gratitude for all you have done for me.

Rafiki is like a candle that lightens the lives of others and brightens the future of those who have seen their future as the most black.

You shaped my mind and future and have made a huge difference in my life. You have gone above the call of duty for me. Thank you for your patience, thank you for giving me courage and making me a better person.

I am through with my diploma in nursing and, through God’s grace, I want to do more so that I can support and help Rafiki to touch and change the lives of many others, just as I was touched and changed.

My desire is to further my education and make it the world standard to have better opportunities to touch and change the lives of others. I went to India: it was a great experience and good exposure. I pray to achieve more and am certain Rafiki will help me realize my dream once again. Rafiki ni rafiki kweli. (Rafiki is truly a friend).

Sew Long, Poor Attendance!

Rafiki Africa strives to provide women and girls with feminine hygiene education and materials.

The beauty packs available for our girls help us meet this goal. Starting in April, the new tailoring class will meet the needs for other schools, as well as LightHouse Academy.

Disposable sanitary pads in Kenya are expensive: not every girl can afford them, and not having sanitary pads means girls miss a week of school every month.

To meet this need, the current Women & Girls group are learning to tailor sanitary pads and panties. These garments are made of cotton fabric on the outside and the insides consist of an absorbent woolen material. The girls can hand-wash the garments with soap and reuse them for three months. The cotton material is relatively inexpensive because they grow and process cotton in the country. As well, the reusable nature of the panties makes this project more affordable.

The local and neighboring schools have said sanitary pads improve the girls’ performance and school attendance, so there is a strong market and need for these materials.

Therefore, after meeting the need in Alendu, this group will start selling the panties to neighboring schools, increasing even further the impact Rafiki Africa has in the greater community.

How you can help:

Pray for the current group of women and girls who are learning to tailor pads and panties.

Sponsor a Beauty Pack- 1 girl for 1 year – $50.

Sponsor a sewing machine, which allows the girls to make the garments -$150.

Being a Friend to Kenya

Featured in the November 2012 issue of the Fine Living Lancaster magazine. View in the PDF version of the issue here.  You can find the article on page 142.

Written and photographed by Jordan Bush of Jordan Bush Photography.

Take a stroll through Lancaster Central Market on a Saturday morning. Weave through the communal hustle and bustle and you will find far more than fresh, aromatic foods, where Rafiki’s Deli is among the many stands offering one-of-a-kind delights.

Not only will you find authentic African dishes full of color and flavor, but you will be greeted with the same hospitality that, through this very market, offers refuge to the AIDS-ravaged community in Alendu, Kenya.

The beautiful remote village of Alendu rests just south of the equator, not far from Lake Victoria, and is the birthplace of Dorothy Dulo, who with her husband Roger Godfrey, are the founders of Rafiki’s Deli as well as Rafiki Africa Foundation. In 1996, during a visit home from school in the United States, Dorothy returned to find 13 children living with her parents. Orphaned by AIDS, they had no place to find refuge. These children were no exception to the rule, as the entire Nyanza Province has been decimated by AIDS,  losing nearly an entire generation to the disease. Consequently, this has led to greater preventable disparities, reciprocating poverty, illness, HIV, malaria… the list is seemingly endless. It was then that Dorothy started on this journey; it was then that Alendu started to find hope.

The community may not know what they need, but they know deep hurt. Rafiki’s approach is to start with that and work with the community to identify their needs, providing training, equipping, and supporting both individuals and families.

Rafiki’s goal is to achieve optimum health: the capacity of individuals, families and community working together to transform conditions that promote sustainable spiritual, emotional, physical, social, environmental, and economic well-being. While it may seem unfathomable, the dismal collision of cultural tradition and oppression make it difficult for the community to discern even the causes of transmitting HIV/AIDS. Through the  loss of so many, there has been a breakdown in passing on education, technical training, and life skills.

LightHouse Academy is a school founded exclusively for children who have been orphaned, abandoned, and would otherwise not have the hope of an educated future.

Their teachers are immensely invested in their students, to the point that they will often cover student fees independently. In a country where resources are limited, Dorothy had established the anti-private school. Rafiki provides medical care to the students and, as resources permit, to the surrounding community at a small fee — a means to instill ownership. This is often met with great animosity, as the “Missionary Model” of free services has replaced independence with entitlement through generations of fruitless handouts. The development of Rafiki’s farm provides some of the daily food needed for breakfast and lunch for their students, often the only consistent meal in their lives. The following stories from Alendu intimately reveal hope that Rafiki has bestowed upon the community.

Read more: Benta’s, Meshack’s, George’s and Evans’ stories.