All posts by thikaalumnitrust


The NEW YEAR has brought some excellent news for TTAT. After months of perseverance and in pursuit of exacting requirements, The Thika Alumni Trust has been granted ‘CHARITY STATUS’. Our thanks go to Dalpat, TTAT’s Communications Officer, for all the hard work involved in submitting applications to the Charity Commission. We can now carry forward with confidence our vision of supporting students in Thika.

TTAT delivers on the e-Learning Centre

In June 2017, Harpal Punia, TTAT’s Project Manager, went to Kenya to complete the promised installation of power points, computers and the RACHEL server. In a few days’ time, he had the e-Learning centre fully functional for student use.

CBHS eLearning Centre pics

TTAT devised and sponsored a system consisting of 30 Clients (interactive stations) based on Raspberry Pi hardware and the innovative RACHEL (Remote Areas Community Hotspots for Education and Learning) server as the source for the educational material (software that includes an encyclopaedia (Wikipedia), video lectures (Khan Academy), textbooks (CK-12), agricultural information, educational games, coding programs, medical resources, Swahili Wikipedia and much more. Harpal also took with him other teaching and learning aides – projectors, speakers, science equipment, whiteboards, Raspberry Pi books, Learn to Code books and numerous other items.

Using a local contractor, power points were fitted to the desks followed by the installation of  computer  monitors, keyboards and mice and the required Ethernet cabling and routers. And ‘hey presto’ it was all up and running by the 29 June for the grand opening in the afternoon.

In his speech to the big gathering of local dignitaries and the press, Mr Peter Kariuki, Principal of Chania High for Boys, thanked TTAT for their support to the school over the past years. ‘We are so grateful to this group of alumni who have been assisting us through various programmes. They started by donating KES 100,000 (c £750) worth of books for our library and then supplied furniture worth KES 64,000 for our Dining Hall. They have today supplied 30 computers and e-learning material worth KES 1.5 million,’ said Mr Kariuki. He explained that this latest project would assist in motivating the students and incorporating them into the global village. He acknowledged that the school was now on par with other world top-rate schools in terms of accessibility of learning content, a factor that will go a long way in improving the students’ achievements and their adaptability to the global environment.

Well done, Harpal, Shanti Bhardwa (TTAT’s Technical Consultant) and Elizabeth Punia!

The story was almost immediately published on the Thika Town Today’s website. Access it at the the link below:

CBHS eLearning Centre pics 2

Chetana’s interactions much esteemed

Chetana, our education chair, recently spent six weeks in Kenya visiting old haunts and had some very productive meetings with students and staff at Chania High.

Her mission was to take some resources for the Rasberry Pi system we helped to install at the school and to work with the staff in an advisory capacity. She undertook lesson observations and advised on staff appraisal and the use of ICT in teaching Science. Having conducted lesson observations in a number of curricular areas using her experience as an Ofsted Inspector, she provided open, frank and constructive feedback to the staff.


She also suggested we purchase a number of items that would greatly enhance teaching and learning in various curricular areas, in amongst them a lap top, a projector, electroscopes, mini white-boards, basket balls, educational posters and noticeboards for classrooms. The Thika Alumni Trust has started the process of delivering these to the school.


The staff appraisals via lesson observations, something quite routinely done here in the UK, are still fairly new at the school and Chetana conducted these with Mr Kariuki, the principal. Through her acute observations, Chetana was able to throw significant light on the considerable benefits of appraisal in raising standards. These interactions were warmly welcomed by all the staff.


The old library had been converted into an eLearning Centre furnished with tables and chairs, however, it was now waiting for the hardware and software to be installed for student use. Harpal (as Project Officer) and Shanti (TTAT’s Technical Consultant) had looked into this and TTAT had agreed that they would help populate it with computers and appropriate equipment and cabling, housing for computers and ensure power was available. This process is well underway and we are hoping the eLearning Centre will be up and running by the end of April.


As if this was not enough, Chetana also managed to visit the Chania Girls’ High School thus opening a new channel for further welcome interactions with schools in Thika. Leaving behind her a trail of admiration and appreciation, Chetana has to be congratulated for all that she managed to do.


Harpal has an instructive time in Thika

Armed with RACHEL (Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning) Server equipment for the Solar Lab, Harpal descended on the welcoming party at Chania High.


There was the Headteacher Mr Kariuki, Mr Mwangi, the chairman of the Board of Governors, and Mr Samuel Njunu, another Board Member, to greet him.


He had a most humbling time. He had an extensive tour and he also got to address all the pupils. Modestly he told them ‘I am what I am because of the education I received at Chania High, here where you now stand.’ And judiciously he told them how important it was for them to focus on their education.


He had a lot to report on his return. ‘Although they had little, with sheer hard work they managed to achieve a lot,’ he said. Their KCSE (Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education) results told their own story. Five years ago they were barely achieving an average grade C but in 2015 it had improved to B-. The continual improvement showed the calibre of leadership and excellent teaching.


He said some areas needed investment. The Science Labs and Workshops lacked facilities and the present computers were used solely to teach students how to use computers rather than to master other subjects. He felt these were areas that TTAT could well help champion.