Learning & Skills for Life Education Programme

Providing educational subsidies and enrichment to under-represented children and young people in marginalised areas of Kenya, Tanzania and Malawi

Globally, more than 64 million children of primary school age remain out of school, leaving them without even very basic skills. In the areas where we work thousands of children are denied the opportunity to go to school, find a decent job and lift their families out of poverty. We see that education is key for development, raising people’s productivity and creativity, promoting entrepreneurship and reducing poverty by increasing opportunities for employment and regeneration.

By funding means-tested bursaries we have helped to improve school attendance by supporting school fees and providing extra-curricular enrichment activities such as tuition, homework clubs, library services and careers advice. These activities not only boost academic performance, but build self-esteem and confidence. We also deliver a comprehensive residential holiday tuition programme in Kenya each year which offers a range of extra academic classes alongside sports, drama, art and music.

More recently we have started to expand our community service mentoring programme, offering work experience for young people at schools, farms, community centres, guardian-run girls’ foster care homes and at the Mango Tree offices and model farms. These placements provide valuable practical work experience for young people, giving them new skills, careers advice and support, as well as adding value to the governments local education services and creating a culture of community social responsibility. We also deliver health and wellbeing projects to help reduce health related absenteeism and support sustainable livelihoods initiatives for the guardians of orphans to boost income levels so that they better afford to educate their children.     

Project Highlights

Kyela Orphan Support Programme (KOSP)

In Tanzania we have funded over 13,000 orphans, registered between 2003-12. The majority of these young people have now completed their secondary education and graduated with college or university qualifications and are employed in a wide range of professions. Around 15% of these students were sponsored at vocational training college and many of them attended The Kyela Polytechnic College. We continue to fund the remaining students through their education in partnership with Kanisa la Moravian, a faith-based organisation based in Kyela who ensure that these remaining students receive educational financial support and wrap-around social care services so that they can gain qualifications and skills for life.

Learning & Skills for Life – Kenya

We have supported around 4,000 orphans between 2006-12 in Kenya and estimate that over 3,250 have now graduated with college or university qualifications and are employed in a wide range of professions. Learning & Skills for Life in Kenya provides a range of educational projects and activities for our registered orphans, as well as other disadvantaged children and young people living in the rural areas of Homabay County. It includes means-tested educational bursaries, extra-curricular enrichment activities, extra tuition, homework clubs, library services and careers advice. A comprehensive residential holiday tuition programme is also delivered in The Mango Tree Kenya’s Education Training Centre, run during the school holidays, offering a range of extra academic classes alongside sports, drama, art and music.

After being sponsored through secondary school, those students who we have supported join our community service mentoring programme. They work as volunteers for one year as a way of ‘giving back’ to the community and building a culture of community social responsibility. It also gives young people practical work experience in local schools, farms, community centres, foster care homes and at the Mango Tree Kenya offices and model farms.

Kyela Polytechnic College (KPC)

Since our investment in the capital building project of Kyela Polytechnic College in 2011 nearly 2,000 students have graduated with a range of qualifications, the majority of whom are now successfully employed or self-employed. KPC offers a wide range of training courses, from carpentry, masonry and electrical engineering to business management, IT and journalism. The College subsequently starting running a ‘bridging’ qualifying course (Kyela Open School Qualifying Test) giving secondary school leavers an opportunity to retake exams so they can continue into further education.

In April 2022, KPC was successfully transferred to the Tanzanian government’s Vocational Educational Training Agency (VETA). This transition means that the College and its students will benefit from financial support from the Tanzanian government, securing not only the sustainability of the college but also the continuation of our vision to provide access to vocational training for disadvantaged young people across the district. 

Case Study

Ano Mwambange

Ano was born deaf. Like many of the most disadvantaged children in Tanzania, Ano struggled to complete secondary school with grades that would enable him to get into college or university. This is particularly an issue in Tanzania, where the quality of education remains poor and support for deaf students is limited. The Mango Tree has invested in supporting hundreds of disadvantaged young people, such as Ano, providing them with bursaries to attend vocational training colleges, giving them practical skills for employment.

“Having been taught the basic skills of furniture making I’m now learning about design. I am making furniture that customers want and really enjoy being a carpenter. With the money I earn I can support my family.”

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