Ngochoni village, kenya
Started in 2001 by a youth outreach group in Nairobi, Petals has grown from very humble beginnings to a primary school serving over 300 children, both day and boarding. Its rural, peaceful setting near the Tanzanian border was not always peaceful. The school is located on the boundary between two formerly warring tribes, the Luo and the Kuria, and the area was once considered “dead” because of the discord and violence. But when the school opened, things began to change. Children from both tribes started to attend Petals, and representatives from both tribes now serve on the school board and attend the nearby church. Petals has been called “the healing school” and is widely credited with bringing harmony to the area.
Academic results at Petals have been exceptional! Students do very well on national tests, consistently outranking other schools in the district. In 2018, Petals was the #1 school in Migori County (out of 798 schools). The students do not take education for granted, and they are hard-working and disciplined. Best of all, because of the school’s emphasis on character, the students have a reputation for not cheating.
The majority of Petals students come from impoverished backgrounds, and the school typically helps 20-25 orphans along with 45-55 “partial” orphans - students whose single mother is most often a subsistence farmer. Usually about half of the graduating class cannot afford to go on to secondary school, which is not free in Kenya. E3 has set up a sponsorship program to help these students get that all-important high school education, which will open doors to higher education or skill training.
Petals owns farmland, and the school currently grows much of its own maize, the staple of the children’s diet. They also grow kale and other vegetables, and are planning to start a chicken business and a dairy to bring income to the school.
Petals is in the process of upgrading its infrastructure, and the entire community takes great pride in the progress at the school, which is a symbol of hope and progress.