Tunarudi Shuleni — “We’re Going Back to School” Program

tunarudi shuleni event group photo

January 2013, the first 10 students joined the Tunarudi Shuleni Program, or the “We’re Going Back to School” Program, established by Common Ground for Africa as they prepare select students for Lenana Girls High School in Kitale, Kenya.

Tunardi Shuleni is a 12-month remedial school program that helps students with the transition from primary to secondary level education. The main objectives of the Program are:

•       get students on board with the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education curriculum
•       prep students for the national Standard 8 exam, a mandatory test for all students entering secondary school

The 10 young women selected for the Tunardi Shuleni Program have already completed an environmental course developed by Common Ground for Africa called Environmental Youth Action Corp (EYAC). The course trains them to be educators and advocates of conservation. The aim of EYAC is to enlighten the community about pollution and its negative effects on public health.

Unfortunately, the majority of communities are ignorant to environmental degradation and its threat to public health. Western civilization’s overuse of disposable plastics has encroached on rural African communities. When plastics are burned, they release chemical emissions which are highly toxic, such as dioxin.

Discarded batteries, along with other trash, are buried, burned, or littered, and are frequently handled by young children who put them in their mouths.  The batteries contain cadmium, lead, and mercury, which can cause cancer, birth deformities, and arrested brain development. Corroded and burned batteries also leak into the soil and drinking water.

Educating the public about these and other environmental issues can have a profound effect on the community’s health, productivity, and growth.

The young women selected for the Tunarudi Shuleni Program have also learned about the benefits of planting trees. At the end of the EYAC course, each participant planted a tree and took a pledge of advocacy. They were proud to each receive a certificate of completion and a button proclaiming, “I am an Earth Caretaker.” As part of the EYAC course, they will continue to meet regularly to share ideas and plan service projects such as cleaning roads and doing theater performances in order to spread the message of conserving nature and the community.

Soon they will begin a baking course in which they will bake bread for the children at nearby Pathfinder Academy. Common Ground for Africa will share the progress of the baking project once they have raised enough funds to implement it.

Since the construction of Lenana Girls High School has not yet been completed, students will study off-site until the buildings are ready. (You can read more about the school and why Lift the Lid has chosen to be a sponsor under Supported Schools.) It is only with good grades and skill training that these and other young women will be admitted into Lenana Girls High School. The Tunarudi Shuleni Program will help them to get there.