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Class of 2021

This is the class of candidates who graduated from the Achungo Primary School, Rodi Kopany, 8th grade in 2017 and are entering secondary school (high school) as of January 2018

 Ashlene Akoth Onyango

 Ashlene is a hardworking 13-year-old who came to Achungo in 2016 as a seventh grader. She was living with her parents in their mud hut and was helping them with field work to get enough money to survive. Sometimes they didn’t even have money for lunch, let alone for her school fees. This forced her to leave the primary school she had been attending.

She says, “I like Achungo because it is a hardworking school.” Her earlier primary didn’t have enough teachers and the quality of teaching was poor, but she appreciates the level of teaching and support she gets from her teachers at Achungo.

After classes and during school holidays, Ashlene likes to play soccer. She wants to become a pilot and “fly to different countries.” And she is willing to work hard to accomplish that dream.

 Caroline Achieng Okoko

After Caroline’s father died in a road accident, the family had no income and she was forced to leave Komito Primary school that she had attended since first grade.  She is from nearby Kochio living with her mother and two siblings in a small thatched-roof hut. 

She joined us at Achungo in 2015 for sixth grade and immediately noticed the difference from what she’d known at Komito where the teachers had been absent much of the time.  She appreciates the great teaching at Achungo and how that results in exceptional exam performance.  And she likes the atmosphere of collaborative learning, as she says,  “At Achungo the teachers cooperate together with the pupils.”  She especially likes Math and Science and loves boarding at the school with all of her friends.

After classes, she likes to play volleyball and football (soccer) and during school holidays she helps elderly neighbors by carrying their water for their homes.   
Caroline wants to become a heart surgeon because she has a desire to help those who are sick. 

Census Onyango

Census and his four younger siblings have lived with his elderly grandmother since the death of both his parents in a road accident.  In 2014 he was introduced to Achungo by the area chief and enrolled in the sixth grade.

Census is a bright young man who excels in all his subjects.  He enjoys playing football (soccer) and reading storybooks in his free time.   His ambition is to become a doctor.



Dephy Oyaro 

Dephy is a serious and highly focused student. She is organized and readily shares her books and supplies with fellow students.   She told us that Achungo Director Michael found her on the street, “crying bitterly after my parents had to take me out of school because they could no longer pay the fees.  He listened to my story and then we went to my parents.  He sympathized with our life at home.”  And he admitted her to Achungo, knowing that it would make every difference in her life. 

She was living with her parents and 2 brothers and three sisters in a hut with one room divided by a curtain.  The little they have comes from selling the produce from their garden.   “Our one daily meal consists of kale and ugali, if God is gracious.  It was hard to sleep at night because we all slept on the same matt and there wasn’t even room to turn over.”

Prior to Achungo, when she was able to attend the public school, she had very little time for studying.  It took a long time to walk home from school and then she had to spend most of her time doing chores around the home and in the garden.

Dephy came to Achungo in January 2016, joining 7th grade. She is ecstatic, “I am at one of the best schools in the district and even in the state, where the education is excellent. Being in this school makes me feel proud of myself.  The most exciting part of it is that the children are very disciplined.”  Her favorite classes are Language, Math and Science and she gets almost all A’s. 

Dephy likes dancing and is a poet. She has written 8 poems and likes to teach her fellow students how to write poems.  She wants to become a surgeon and help people to not die from injuries.  She feels that if her mother had had better medical care she might not have died.  She wants to “change Kenya to be a better place.”  She wants to be a role model to young girls.  She wants to help the poor by building orphanages and schools to help them. She says, “ I won’t neglect them because they have life dreams but can’t achieve them because of their circumstances.”  

 Edna Awuor Otieno

Edna (14) has a beautiful voice and often leads the worship singing. She is unassuming and very helpful to her classmates. She is at the top of her class at Achungo.

Edna came to Achungo in 2013 entering fifth grade after 4 years at St. Anne’s primary, a public school, where, she says, “we were not being taught well compared to Achungo.”  She lost both parents about three years ago and has three sisters and three brothers, one of them in second grade at Achungo.  The family was quite poor and in the end didn’t have money for school fees or even some basic needs.  Since her parents’ death, her siblings moved into a hut with their uncle and his children.  He supports this large, extended family by doing housework around the village.

Edna says, “The best day of my life was the day when I came to Achungo.  I feel at home here.  Here I am fed and feel safe.  I have a place to sleep and a place where I can learn.”  She enjoys reading (“Pride and Prejudice” is a favorite), dancing and singing, and playing volleyball.  She goes to the Sunday services on campus (“Achungo Salvation Church”) with the other girls from the dorm.

“I study hard to achieve my goals.  I want to grow up to be an international journalist –I like news and writing and I like reading newspapers.”

 Euvern Allester Awuor

Euvern was orphaned about three years ago when her father was murdered one evening on his way home from his workshop.  “It has been very hard on my mother as she tries to take care of my 5 siblings and find money for food and school fees.”  Their mud hut has a thatched roof that leaks when it rains and “the water comes in like a flood.” 

Euvern was attending St. Alfred Academy but had to leave when they could no longer afford the fees.  She came to Achungo last year in 7th grade.  “The teachers help me study, give me advice, and help me to achieve my goals.”  She says it is much better education than St. Alfred.   After classes she likes playing soccer and volleyball.  On holidays it takes her about two hours to walk home unless she is given money for a motorcycle taxi.  She likes helping her mother wash clothes and care for her 5 younger siblings.

On Sundays at school she likes worshipping at the services in the Achungo dining hall along with the other students and the dorm mother. 

“I pray God will help me achieve my goals.”  She wants to become a TV and movie actress.  “That will help me take care of my family.”

Evance John Odhiambo

Evance (14) came to Achungo this January (2017) from his home near Homa Bay (8 miles away) where he lived with his mother and aunt and two brothers and two sisters.   His father passed away some years ago in a road accident and his mother is unable to work.  They now share a hut with his aunt.   The family struggles even to have enough to eat.  Evance told us, “often we have only porridge to eat and then we sleep, just waiting for the following day.” 

They could no longer afford school fees for his primary school, the Christine Academy.   Evance says that at Christine they were “short of teachers and the teaching standard was poor.  But Achungo has good teachers and this has resulted in good performance.”  His favorite subjects are Math and Science and he likes the teachers and the dorms and the whole environment of the school.  “They are much better than where I was before where I could only drink water and sleep.”

After classes he likes drawing pictures and playing soccer with his friends.  He likes boarding on-campus with the rest of the eighth grade because “boarding gives me time to study, especially at night.”  

“ I am working hard to become a surgeon so I can save our family and my siblings.”

 Faith Awuor Aketch  

Faith has a gentle spirit and curiosity about the world beyond Africa. Although she has had a difficult life, she loves going to school at Achungo, loves to sing and is full of joy, with a ready laugh. 

Her parents were in a road accident a few years ago that left both severely injured, her father losing his hands and a leg.  Both are in wheelchairs but her mother helps sell vegetables to support Faith and her three brothers and three sisters.   Faith told us, “My life at home can be difficult because sometimes we do not get enough food or clothes or medical care. “

She came to Achungo in 2012, joining the third grade.  She says, “the director and teachers treat us like their own sons and daughters and they teach well.”   She loves Math and Science and after school, enjoys reading storybooks and playing volleyball with her friends. 

On weekends, she likes going to Achungo Salvation Church (the on-campus services) with her school friends and when she is home, going to the Seventh Day Adventist church with her family.  On holidays, there’s a lot of work to do at home and she helps wash clothes, fetch firewood, cooks for the family, and picks vegetables from the garden.

She wants to grow up to be a lawyer because she wants everyone to be treated equally and given their rights.

Felix Otieno Asewa

In Felix, we have a budding engineer.  He loves reading about new inventions, and studying about all kinds of machines and technologies.  His uncle worked for a Civil engineer before retiring.  He says Kenya lacks enough good engineers. 

He joined Achungo in 7th grade in 2016 from Nyangweso where he lived with his mother and two younger siblings.  His father was murdered one Saturday night in 2016, and after that, his mother could no longer pay his school fees. 

Felix is very soft-spoken but clearly bright and motivated.  He is very grateful for the opportunity to be at Achungo and enjoys boarding here.  He says they get meals cooked “by a great cook” and that the food is “not just good, it’s perfect!”  But he says the best thing about Achungo is the level of learning, more than at any other school he knows.  He is impressed with the library and computer lab and that every classroom is cement with a tiled floor.

On weekends Felix likes going to Achungo Salvation Church (the on-campus services) – “it’s a good church.”  He also helps clean the rooms.   He enjoys soccer and other sports. 

His goal is to finish his schooling and become like the Director and sponsor orphans in school.

Godfrey Ochieng Ouma

Godfrey (13) is the top student in the eighth grade and often leads the class, demonstrating Math problems on the blackboard as he carefully walks the class through the solution.  With his height and aptitude, he is a natural leader. 

He came to Achungo in 2011, joining the second grade class after starting school at Yago Primary.  He says, “When I came to Achungo I was surprised to see the high standard of teaching compared to what I’d known.” 

He was living nearby with his aunt and sister.  His mother left the family in 2015 and his father lives about 4 miles away with his step-mother and 4 brothers and a sister.  Life at home involves constant chores and fetching water from the river and tending the livestock.  On holidays, he also helps his elderly neighbors and finds time to read the Bible and attends the nearby Full Gospel Church with his family.

In addition to the teaching at Achungo, he appreciates the computers in the computer lab and all the books in the school library.  His favorite subjects are Math and Science.

Godfrey wants to be a surgeon and says he plans to work very hard to achieve it.

 Ian Derick Kaumba  

Ian is very bright and always willing to speak up in class and provide the careful analysis to support positions he takes on any given topic. 

He came to Achungo in 2013, having grown up in Ojunge village with his mother and 4 brothers.  His father divorced her several years ago and his mother could no longer pay Ian’s school fees.  He had to leave Ojunge Primary and stay home to help in the garden and to sell bananas in the marketplace.  He says their thatched roof would leak with every rain and they only had food for one meal per day.

Ian heard about Achungo from a friend and came to visit.  He was impressed with the buildings but the Director was busy that day, so this persistent young man came back a few days later to ask about being admitted.  Director Michael looked into Ian’s situation and then admitted him to Achungo, much to his delight.

He likes reading and playing soccer and volleyball with his classmates.  On weekends he attends the local Seventh Day Adventist church.  

His goal is to become an electrical engineer, and he wants to outfit their home with electricity. 

Lavena Akoth Otieno

Lavena told us “The best day of my life was when the director brought me to Achungo.  It is safe here and I can learn and achieve my goal of becoming a nurse.”  This fourteen-year-old has been at Achungo for three years and comes from a few miles away where she lived with her parents and two younger siblings until both her parents died.

She told us, “The teachers are the best thing about the school.”   She likes reading, playing volleyball and jump rope with her classmates.  On the weekends, she washes clothes together with her dorm-mates, and goes with them to the on-campus church services (Achungo Salvation Church).


Mary Celestine

Mary says:  “I pray that God will help me finish my studies and get a good job.  I hope to become a surgeon and help people recover.”  When she was sick in Nairobi, she met a friendly surgeon who obviously made quite an impression on Mary. 

Mary is from 10 miles away (a several-hour walk, she says), where she lived with her mother, grandmother and two younger brothers in a thatched hut.  They were extremely poor and often did not have money for their basic needs, let alone school fees, so she had to leave her school.   She came to Achungo two years ago, entering sixth grade.  Her previous experience in public school was frustrating, with teachers often absent from class.  She told us, “When I came to Achungo, the teaching I experienced immediately made me happy.”

Her favorite teacher is Mr. Felix because he helps her with her studies and sometimes gives her advice for her future after school.  After classes she likes playing handball, basketball and volleyball with her friends.   During holidays she goes home to help her mother with weeding the garden and caring for their flowers, corn and millet.

Mary told us, “I like studying here and enjoy studying with my friends.  I need to focus on studies because it will help me with my future.“

Mike Ouma

Mike never knew his parents, who apparently died in a road accident.  He has lived with his grandmother for as long as he can remember.  “She is very old and I must do much of the housework including cooking and fetching firewood.”  They live in a mud hut and have a small vegetable garden that is their only support.

Mike came to Achungo in preschool over 11 years ago.  He says, “Achungo is the best school in the county on the national exam.   I like how well the students are performing and how well the teachers teach.”  He also mentioned how well-behaved the students are.

He likes computers and his goal is to become a pilot. He knows that being at Achungo is going to help him realize his dreams.

Mike Tyson Otigo

Mike (14) told us that he appreciates Achungo because the school helps its students do well on exams.  He enjoys helping his classmates with their studies as they prepare to pass the year-end, all-important KCPE exam.   

He has been at Achungo for two years and loves his teachers, with his favorite subject Science.  He enjoys playing volleyball and is good at computers .  He comes from about two miles away where he lives with his grandmother.

Mike wants to become a pilot and fully expects to enjoy “controlling the plane.”

Nicole Cathy Owuor

Nicole came to Achungo in January 2016 after her parents were no longer able to work.  They all moved in with her grandmother and including her siblings, there are 12 in the household.   Her grandmother is the sole provider but is very elderly.  She sells cups and plates while Nicole and her siblings take fruit and vegetables to the market to sell to help support the family.   

Understandably, Nicole loves living on-campus with the other eighth graders because “I get time to study.”  Her favorite subject is Science and she thinks Mr. Mwai is the very best teacher.   She likes the quality of teaching at Achungo and that everyone passes the eighth grade exit exam (very unusual in Kenya where average passing rate is less than 50%).  Her earlier schooling was at St. Paul’s Academy where she says, “there was not always a teacher and they did not teach well.”  Now she has plans to go to a top tier high school.

During her free time she likes to jump rope and enjoys drawing.  She wants to become an artist and earn her income from selling her drawings.

Pesiliah Nikita Onyango

“The happiest day in my life was when Director Michael paid us a visit and decided I would be accepted into his school,” says Pesiliah.  

Before Achungo, Pesiliah attended school intermittently.  Her uncle, the provider for her family, died when she was 5 and her parents are very poor, so she often did not have money to pay exam fees.    Sometimes she would have to stay home for two months selling vegetables to get enough money for the family. 

The students at school would tease her when she didn’t have the money for exams.   When she did have money for exams and did well on a test, a group of students would beat her.  The girls would stand in a circle throwing stones at her while the boys would punch her.  This continued for years and left her traumatized.

Director Michael learned about her situation and brought her to Achungo where she has been boarding for three years.  When she first came to Achungo she couldn’t speak to any of the students or teachers for three months.  It was Headmaster Mwai who eventually helped her talk about her painful past and assured her that Achungo was different from the other school and that there would be no abuse here. 

Pesiliah told us, “When I came to Achungo I found life very different.   I was never sent home for school fees or exam fees, and people accepted me the way I was.  When I found out that everyone in Achungo showed me great love I found many reasons to be happy and this made me like Achungo more.   Achungo is the best school I have ever gone to because even though some of us do not have parents, we are treated in such a good way.  We do not feel lonely but have everybody’s company.  We are given healthy food, dressed well, and treated with love.  Everybody feels happy at all times.  We are also taught very well by our kind and good teachers.  I pray every day and thank God for his kindness.  Without Him I would not have come this far.  I want to work hard to achieve my goals.”

Now, Pesiliah has found her voice and is the chairman of the Achungo church, often singing or preaching to the students!

Her ambition is to become an actress in musicals on stage and in the movies.  She enjoys reading storybooks, and writing scripts.  She told us, “I have written three dramatic scripts that will be used as my first movie.   I want to use my talent for people to enjoy my stories and movies.  This will make me rich and I’ll have the opportunity to build my poor parents a big house.  I would also spend a lot of my money in helping the needy and orphans.” 

Phabish Okoth Odoyo

Phabish came to Achungo in 2012, joining sixth grade.  He was living in a village about 4 miles away with his parents and three siblings.  His father is a teacher at Achungo (Mr. Erick) but his mother is not working. 

He immediately noticed the difference in the quality of education from what he’d known.  “Achungo is different because of its high level of education.  I like the type of teaching at Achungo because it is understandable – all the teachers explain well and help us to understand.”   He likes to study and likes boarding in the dorm, because “We study together.  You get to know what they know.  And they know what you know.”   His favorite subjects are Computer, Math and Swahili and Mr. Mwai is his favorite teacher – “he is so kind.”

In his free time, along with playing soccer, he likes dancing, singing at the music competitions, and acting.  His goal is to be a movie actor.   “I like funny movies and admire the actors.  “

Phenny Akinyi

Phenny has been at Achungo since 2012, entering in the fourth grade because her guardians could no longer afford school fees. 

When she was in third grade, her father (a carpenter) and her mother both died of illnesses.  Then with her three younger siblings she moved into the hut with their grandparents in Mathindi (about 10 miles away).  They are elderly and unable to work, so Phenny and her siblings go to the market during their holidays to sell vegetables to help support the family.   In addition Achungo sends food home each month for the family.

She likes Achungo very much and tells us that the teachers are kind and loving and teach well.  Her favorite subject is Science.   Living in the dorm with the other eighth graders, she says, “we share everything together.”  She likes reading books from the library and was part of Achungo’s singing and dancing team that won 1st place at the county competition.

Her father used to encourage her to be a TV journalist because of her language skills.   She wants to work hard in school so she can become an international journalist.  She hopes to be able to provide support for her guardians and other people, including orphans.  

Ramla Aluoch Ariro

Ramla(14)  is very interested in everything and likes to be helpful to her classmates.

Her home is about 10 miles away where she lived with her two younger sisters and her uncle, who cares for them “ because both my parents died from illness.  We live in a grass-thatched hut with a family of six.  We don’t have much money but live in harmony and have enough for our daily needs.”  She had gone to school at Kuoyo Kaura Primary, but was eventually sent home because she couldn’t pay school fees. 

(Kenya public primary schools are supposedly tuition free but they charge fees for books, for exams, often for “enrollment”, and other incidentals that prevent attendance by the extremely poor.  They are then often forced to stay home which typically means there is no way to advance the economic status of the family)

She says the best day of her life was the day she came to Achungo two years ago in early 2016.  “Achungo was different because we are taught daily and taken care of.  We eat a balanced diet, get good medical care and are taught daily with so much care and love.”  She says coming to Achungo has provided her with the opportunity to gain knowledge and have a better future.  She is happy that she can be at a school that will help her pass her KCPE (exit exam) so that she can attend a good high school.   

Ramla loves Science, Math, and Reading, and loves all her teachers at Achungo.    And she loves living on campus.  On weekends she enjoys going to Achungo Salvation Church (on-campus services) with her school friends where they “show off their talents” by singing and dancing.

“My goal is to work hard and achieve my dream to become an actress to entertain people and make them happy and become a famous actress in Africa.” 

Robinson Okoth Ogal

Robinson (14) came to Achungo at the beginning of 2016. “My parents had heard about Achungo and its very high KCPE scores.”   He grew up a few miles away at Pap-Ndege village.   His father is a farm laborer when he can find work and otherwise burns found wood and sells the charcoal to try to support the family.  Robinson has three brothers and two sisters at home.

When he was able to pay the fees, Robinson attended Pap-Ndege Primary, but, he says,” there was no proper teaching and the pupils there had low exam scores.  Achungo is different from Pap-Ndege because there is maximum cooperation between teachers and students.  The buildings are well-built and classrooms are good and well-painted and larger for the children.”  He appreciates the higher standard of teaching at Achungo, “The environment is better at Achungo, and the teachers more involved.  They cover all the subjects during  a single day.  They prepare you to meet your goals.”

Robinson’s favorite subjects are Math and Swahili—he loves learning and appreciates how well the students are prepared for exams. 

His best friend is Godfrey – they study together and play a lot of soccer and volleyball.  He also likes to draw.  During holidays he goes home and helps his parents by washing clothes, herding the cows and fetching water, among other chores.

Robinson’s ambition is to become an engineer.

Sammy Gift Odhiambo

Sammy Gift (13) has been with us ever since preschool, coming to Achungo in 2006.  He told us, “We live near Achungo and one day my mother heard about the school and how they love and care for little children, so she brought me to Achungo.  Now I have been here for years and years.   It is a good school with a high standard of education.”

His father died when I was 7 in an accident but I lived a very happy life while was alive.  He lives with his mother and younger brother at Kangeso.  She tries to support the family as a tailor.   “When I’m at home I help my mother by fetching water and fetching firewood.  I also help the needy around us and carry water to their homes.  I also tend to our animals and water them.”

Sammy Gift loves being at school with all his friends and all the sports, especially football (soccer).  He loves the teachers and learning in class with all his friends.    

He wants to become a lawyer and help people.  HE says his second career choice is to be a doctor.  He hopes to come to America some day.

Sophia Akinyi Omanya

Sophia (15) is an outgoing young woman. She loves being at Achungo and is grateful for the opportunity to work hard at school.   

Her father left for Nairobi 10 years ago to look for work and the family has not seen him since.  She says, “we do not get any support from him at all. He doesn’t even know how we are at home, whether we have food or can stay in school.”  She lives in a small mud hut with her three siblings.   Her mother sells vegetables and fruit on the street to support the family but she does not have the money to pay for her children’s school fees.

Sophia attended Asumbi Girls until there was no more money for school.  “That school had dirty water and not enough food for the children.   Achungo is the best – how they teach is perfect.  I’m improving way more here.  Teachers show up for class at Achungo.”

Sophia came to Achungo three years ago, joining the sixth grade. “I like our classes and our playing field and the computer lab.  I like learning to type and learning more about computers.  I like singing and dancing and reading, especially novels.  My favorite teachers are Mr. Mwai and Mr. Michael.  I like how they teach.  They are understanding.  They are the best teachers ever!”

Sophia goes home on school holidays via motorcycle taxi and works on her studies and practices her dancing.  She attends Kager Vision Centre (her church) with her mother.  “I pray to be able to pass the exams and to finish school so I can accomplish my goals.”

“I want to become a lawyer.  I like learning about law and I want to be able to advocate for justice for people.”  She hopes to attend one of Kenya’s top high schools after she gets the results from the KCPE (Kenya’s eighth grade exit exam).

Stephen Otieno

Stephen joined Achungo in 2013 in fifth grade from St. Terrycam Primary in Asumbi.  When his parents could no longer afford their school fees, he was sent home. 

He was living with his aunt and his parents and siblings (eight of them in a small mud hut) and it was hard for him to be home from school.  He loves to study, to read (he says he didn’t really know how to read before Achungo).  , Stephen’s favorite subjects are Science and Math and his favorite teacher is Mr Mwai “because he is loving and likes to teach.  Here I enjoy the computer lab and the highly trained teachers who teach well.”   Stephen enjoys soccer and other sports after class.

“On Holidays I like helping my parents with the house chores.”

“I want to become a pilot after my studies.”

Teddy Eugene Odongo

Teddy is very intelligent and works hard in class.  He takes meticulous notes and has excellent penmanship.  He works through complicated Mathematical word problems with ease and confidence.

Teddy came to Achungo at the beginning of 2017.  He learned about Achungo because his Uncle, Mr. Benson, is a teacher here.  He was living in Kagan (about 7 miles away) with his mother and 4 siblings. They had a hard life because his father was away, working on a farm, and couldn’t afford to send much money.  They are in a small hut and have a small garden (“shamba”) that doesn’t provide enough food for the family.

He loves it at Achungo and is friends with all his fellow boarders.  He likes the school environment, the computer lab, the books in the school library and enjoys playing football (soccer) and volleyball.  He also likes making pictures with crayons and water colors (although he can’t currently afford them).  English and Social Studies are his favorite subjects.  He says he is confident in reaching his goals because of the better teaching at Achungo.

During holidays he helps his parents and needy neighbors when he can, and attends Elimu Catholic Church with his family.

His goal is to become a lawyer specializing in property law.