Noel School – Rusinga Island, Kenya

Coming from a life of abuse, abandonment, sickness, harassment, and personal loss, kids at Noel School get a fresh start and a promise of a better tomorrow.

Children at the Noel SchoolNestled by the edge of Lake Victoria in the scenic corners of Kenya, Noel school is located in the Mbita village, in Rusinga Island.

The school was established by the selfless and relentless efforts of Mrs. Tom almost 22 years ago and has received support and guidance from the Women Like Us Foundation for 10 years now.

A humble beginning with only a handful of kids and a bare structure is now a proper education facility with 270 students and 15 teachers.

We owe it to Mrs. Tom for dedicating her life to this noble cause and we are proud to be her partner in turning around the lives of the children, and thereby the families of Mbita community.

However, the journey has not been easy…

The child

What an average person would call trauma, is in fact everyday life for most of the students attending Noel school. Being able to come to school is a huge leap for most. Their initial few days have less to do with academics and education, and more to do with recluse, refuge, and respite. Their young hearts have been tormented, their eyes trust nothing. Fear constantly grips their breath which makes academic learning a monumental task. Even consistent attendance is not a surety. They fall prey to their aforementioned difficult lives repeatedly – losing health, family, and hope!

It is the dedication of the staff that gives them a chance and a reason to have faith. They work with the kids on their emotional well being first, helping them find trust, friendship, and care. It is a place where the kids can be at ease and have the freedom to be a child again. To laugh without care, to eat well, enjoy music, and start exploring themselves. They get to know a world beyond their boundaries, and an understanding of their options. Their innocent hearts learn to heal their wounds and they engage better in education. Noel school’s efforts are beyond just enrollment and teaching. They impact the Mbita community at large, setting an example of the value of education and evolution.

The wins

Despite the adversities, the school continues to make progress.

School Children Receive Books

CBO status

Noel school has Kenya CBO status, recently installed fresh water faucets, a modest stock of textbooks, and educational supplies.

From a few students and metal sheet enclosures, it is now at 270 students, 15 teachers, and a few brick walled classrooms.

School Girls


The school is certified to educate until 8th grade. Beyond 8th grade, students are evaluated for their readiness for secondary school level and if qualified, promoted further.

These students attend secondary schools, get vocational training, and make a better future for themselves and others in the community. The latest batch had 8 students qualify for secondary education.

Students return as teachers at the Noel School

Students return as teachers

After finishing their secondary education, some of the students have come back and chosen to become teachers at Noel, giving back to the place that provided them a foundation when it was needed most.

Fresh Water

The Women Like Us Foundation drove the initiative of bringing a fresh water supply to the school. Until now, they only had access to stored water which had to be brought in from the lake. It was severely contaminated, was difficult to filter, had to be physically guarded against water theft, and was susceptible to algae and disease. Now, they have direct access to a self-sustaining supply of clean and filtered water.

The entire project took one and a half year of planning, buying, negotiating, and driving commitments. Our team hit the ground running, and installed the entire set up in 3 weeks, working 12 hours a day.

This milestone brought about a momentum for the Mbita community, rekindling a spirit of togetherness and an immense sense of achievement.

Our sincere thanks and a special shout out to Terry Kaiser for bringing the school to this level of success and for continuing to take it forward. Her next vision is to install flushing bathrooms and wash basins/sinks with running water, which would then be followed by concrete walled classrooms that would replace the existing metal sheet enclosure.

Our best wishes to this landmark project. The foundation keeps in touch with the school and applauds its progress.