Communal Living and Youth Formation Programs

Dear Friends

At the outset, I would like to express our sincere thanks and gratitude to all of you who have taken the time to meet with me and my student Salati during my first trip to Singapore. Your continued support and help are very much appreciated. I am now back in Singapore for a second stay until 20th May 2023 and look forward to meeting up with more of you.

Allow me to provide you a brief update on two of our programmes – both of which are aimed at empowering our students and youth with more than just academic opportunities. The Communal Living and Youth Formation programmes also build character and nurture good values, while developing skills and competencies of the young people being assisted.

Communal Living for secondary school students and youth volunteers

The TRLF Community in Idsowe has grown over the years. We now have 55 fully sponsored secondary school students living together with 15 youth volunteers, for whom I act as guardian.

The TRLF Hostel to permanently house the Idsowe Community is under construction and is scheduled for completion by December 2023. The Hostel will also house the guest rooms for visitors.

Over the years, the older youth and students living at the TRLF community home in Idsowe have matured to become responsible mentors and role models. This has enabled us to increase the number of students we can accept into our community each year.

Youth Formation Programme

In January 2023, we welcomed 15 youth to this 2-year full-time live-in formation programme, which provides the path to full tertiary level sponsorship commencing January 2025.

Besides the different skills they learn from their varied tasks, e.g. house management, catering, financial literacy and project management, the youth also internalize values and good work ethics, such as diligence, focus, planning, target-setting and time management. They also learn how to engage respectfully and empathize with the communities we assist, crossing barriers of tribe and religion.

In carrying out their income generating projects, such as vegetable farming, livestock keeping, fish farming, bee-keeping and moringa oil production, the youth are encouraged to blend ancient wisdom with new knowledge.

The exposure they get from all these tasks helps them to learn how to give adequate and just responses to difficulties and challenges faced by communities around them, while sensitizing them to the importance of maximizing the impact of donor funds.

At the end of the day, the formation they receive helps the youth become more complete persons, maturing into capable and caring young men and women who are able and willing to look after, and to look out for those who come after them.

Aside from these programs, the foundation supports secondary school students through two other programmes, i.e. General Bursaries and Tana Delta Merit Scholarships. We will be sending out a separate report on the Secondary School Programmes.

Your kind support enables us to carry out all these works and we thank you. God bless.

Gabriel Teo Kian Chong

Singapore, 20th May 2023

Whatsapp / Telegram : +254723521774

Email :

Greetings from Tana River Life Foundation

Dear friends,

Greetings once again. It has been some time since our last communication at the start of 2023. We have been very busy with both project work and admin tasks since the start of the new academic year on 23-Jan-2023 and were therefore unable to prepare this report earlier. Attached are some updates on the Enhanced Sponsorship Program for secondary school students. 

Looking back at the past twelve months, we are humbled and grateful for all that was enabled for us by God through your kind support. Thank you once again and be blessed.

I arrived in Johor Bahru on Monday 10-Apr, and will be here at home to attend to some family matters before I go into Singapore on 20-Apr. I look forward to meeting up with as many of you as possible, both in Singapore and in Malaysia, to personally thank you for your kind support and friendship. I will be moving between Singapore and Malaysia until June when I return to Kenya.

Please do send me a message on Whatsapp or Telegram to my Kenya line @ +254723521774 if you are able to meet during this period. You may also drop me an email at Finally, in order to receive our regular reports via Whatsapp broadcast, kindly save my Kenya number on your phone’s address book.

Thank you once again, and I look forward to meeting up again.

Gabriel Teo
Johor Bahru


To all our dear friends, we are all now back in Kenya, and very grateful for the stay in Asia and the opportunity to have met up with so many of you from both sides of the causeway. Thank you all very much once again. In transferring my data to my new phone, I changed my whatsapp contact number to my Kenya number +254723521774. In case you messaged me between 11th Sept to date, and did not receive a reply from me, could you please resend your messages here to my new whatsapp.

All three 40-footer containers underwritten by PIL Singapore arrived two weeks ago. All logistics re the shipment were kindly organized and underwritten by Logwin Air+Ocean Singapore. The containers were carrying school furniture from different sources, as well as study aids such as 50 laptops donated by NTU, and calculators.

Schools here are now closed for the second term break. We will start distributing the furniture items once the 3rd term begins in October.

I am sending with this message a four-page photo collage and a Chinese newspaper feature on my personal journey. An interview I recorded with BFM Malaysia was aired in early September. You can access the podcast here:

Once again, thank you all for your very kind support and friendship. May God bless you.

Easter Message from Gabriel

Jambo! (Swahili for Hello!) to all our friends from all of us here in Tana River. I am very happy to inform you that I plan to visit Malaysia and Singapore again in June and July together with one or two of our youth. It’s been a long absence and I am so looking forward to seeing all of you once again. Dates are being finalized and I will send them out as soon as they are confirmed.

Dear friends, although we will NOT be organizing any collection of Mitumba (used clothes/shoes etc) this year; we will be making a special appeal for used school furniture for which our village schools here in Tana Delta are in dire need of.

Specifically, we are appealing for:

(1) Classroom desks and chairs,

(2) Metal cabinets,

(3) Canteen tables and benches and

(4) Teacher’s tables.

One of Tana River Life Foundation’s (TRLF) core tenets is in education, both academic as well as in values formation. This is our key method in realizing our stated objectives of building individual lives and thereby entire communities.

Today, TRLF is a major development partner of the Tana Delta Sub County Education Department in Kenya, helping to provide quality, affordable education for many reaching even the most rural villages. We assist all the 72 public primary schools and 17 public secondary schools in the Delta. The furniture that we receive and ship to Tana Delta goes to help furnish these public schools.

I am accompanying this short note with some photos portraying our recent activities. We hope to have our annual report ready for distribution by the middle of the year. Thank you once again for journeying with us, and to all our Christian friends, we wish you the hope and great joy of the Easter resurrection.

May God continue to bless and protect us all.

Gabriel Teo
16th April, 2022

Click here if you’d like to download the letter to forward to your friends.

Building Individual Lives, and thereby Entire Communities…

Tana River Life Foundation – 2020 Annual Reports

Warm greetings once again, and apologies for the delay in sending out our reports this year. It certainly has been a hectic time ever since schools reopened in January this year, thus the delay in finalizing these reports.
I returned to Malaysia this month, accompanying our sponsored student, Kelvin Komora, who has started degree studies in Media and Journalism on full scholarship at UTAR, Kampar-Perak. The trimester has gone online, and he is studying from our home in Johor Bahru for now.

I will be here till the end of July, and may be able to meet up with some of you in Malaysia before I leave. Unfortunately, the earliest we expect to be able to travel to Singapore again will be in 2022. Until such time, and in much appreciation of your generous support in 2020, we are sending out these reports so that you may know how much you enabled, notwithstanding the unprecedented challenges and uncertainties you may have faced last year.
You can read the
 TRLF – 2020 Annual Report here, and if you are reading this on a mobile phone or on any low bandwidth platform, you may access the compressed version here.
Access the 
TRLF – 2020 Activities & Achievements here, and the compressed version here.
For a quick overview of our work last year, you may instead visit the 
TRLF – 2020 Photo Gallery here, and the compressed version here.

On behalf of all whose lives have improved in the last one year because of your generosity, we thank you and may God bless you and your families.

We appreciate your continued support in 2021, as we remain faithful in building individual lives of greater dignity, freedom and integrity, and thereby, entire communities.

Gabriel Teo Kian Chong
24th June 2021

A Letter from Evans Haron

Evans is a beneficiary of Tana River Life Foundation. The foundation sponsored his secondary school education in the Tana Delta, followed by his undergraduate studies at UTAR in Malaysia. We are happy to report that he has graduated. To thank the foundation and his sponsors, Evans wrote the following letter. He hopes it’ll inspire other young people on their journey in life. We hope it’ll inspire you to lend a hand to others in need and hungry for the opportunities we take for granted.

It’s my hope that you are all doing well during this tough time. All is well with me. I am writing to inform you that I have completed my studies in Bachelor in Petrochemical engineering. Thank you for the sponsorship you offered me from the beginning of my secondary school days till the completion of my studies. Thanks to all the staff at TRLF for the time they invested in advising and coaching me throughout my studies, the time they spent in helping me budget for my living expenses both in Kenya and here in Malaysia, correcting me when I was on the wrong path and thanks to all the donors who have contributed to positive changes in my life directly or indirectly.

Just to give a brief background on how I joined TRLF. I completed my primary school education was placed among the top 3 in my class. Unfortunately my parents were not able to afford the school fees for my to continue on to secondary school. At the start of the term, my friend Komora Benedicto, who also graduated recently from UTAR, shared his notes from school with me so that I could study them on my own at home. He was being sponsored by TRLF then and he advised me to apply for a bursary at TRLF.

The first bursary that I received was worth KSH3000 which is equivalent to RM114 ( ~S$38 ). It did not cover my whole school fees for that semester but it instilled hope and determination in me. I pushed myself to the limit as I knew that with good results I could be awarded another bursary. And that is how my life with TRLF started and here I am today with my bachelor’s degree in Engineering.

RM114 may not be that much but it can change someone’s life as it did mine. There are many young people going through what I had experienced. Some won’t be strong enough, they may be discouraged at a young age and their efforts and life might completely go to waste. Thanks to sponsorships from TRLF through the kind donors and staff, young people receive an education and opportunities in life which were previously unavailable to them.

So thank you once again for the opportunity and I can’t wait to continue giving my services when I’m called upon.

Yours sincerely
Evans Haron


Constructing a Two Classroom Block at Miticharaka Primary School : Funded by Charis Singapore And Parents of the Students

In late 2018, a team from Tana River Life Foundation visited Mticharaka Primary School situated in a most remote part of the Tana Delta. The journey took 2 hours by road, an hour by car and another by motorcycle. During the wet season cars run the risk of getting stuck on the muddy roads. This is part of the delta borders Kilifi County, and is located near Kurawa village (mis-spelt Karawa on Google Earth), a short distance from the Indian Ocean.

The local school probably ranks as the most dilapidated school in the Delta. Despite its physical condition, the school enjoys a very high enrolment.
The students are extremely talented. That day they performed choral verses in three languages, Giriama, their mother tongue, Kiswahili, the National Language of Kenya and English, confidently, and flawlessly for the TRLF team.

We were determined to provide these children and their families the motivation to strive for a better future for themselves through education. In early 2020, Charis Singapore provided funds to TRLF to construct a two classroom block for Mticharaka Primary School. Like all other public school infrastructural assistance projects undertaken by TRLF, this project is a joint effort by the donor ( in this case Charis ) and the parents of the school children, in the ratio of 80:20

The TRLF team visited Miticharaka school at the start of March 2020 to meet with the parents and community leaders, together with the Headteacher and his staff. We explained and outlined the methodology for the assistance, and what was expected of the parents. Parents could contribute money, labour or locally available construction materials, e.g. building sand, water supply.

Work commenced immediately and progressed even after schools were closed in late March due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, delays were experienced when movement restrictions were imposed in April, stalling purchase of building materials from the neighbouring Kilifi County. The rains in May led to road closures delaying their delivery. In the meantime, the metal doors and windows were being fabricated at the TRLF workshop. The classroom block was finally completed at the end of September in time to receive the Standard 8 examination candidates when schools in Kenya were partially reopened on Monday 12th October 2020. Parents contributed their share as agreed enabling the completion of the project.

The TRLF team visited Miticharaka Primary School on Tuesday 13th October 2020 to officially hand over the building to the local community via the Headteacher.

On behalf of the students and parents of Miticharaka Primary School, we thank all our benefactors at Charis Singapore for improving the learning environment at Mticharaka Primary School, Tana Delta, Kenya.

Gabriel Teo Kian Chong
17th October 2020


We are grateful to all Donors who assisted us with budgeting funding to buy food and blankets for the victims of the floods in Tana Delta during the month of May and June. For a detailed report on this emergency program, you may go to  From your generous assistance, 296 families were assisted.

Thank you and God bless you all.

2020 Updates from TRLF

Dear Friends

Warm greetings from the Tana Delta in Kenya. I hope this message finds you and your families safe. It is a challenging time for all, and from here in Tana, we continue to be united with you in prayers. Kenya started reporting cases of Covid-19 recently, with closures and curfews nationwide, although there are no cases reported here in Tana Delta to date.

I was to leave for Asia by mid-April, but have postponed my trip indefinitely. As such, we will NOT be having a Mitumba collection this year. However, if we are able to travel later this year, we hope to proceed with our collection of school furniture and study aids.

Grade 6 pupils from Onwardei Primary School gladly transporting classroom chairs from Singapore to their school across the River Tana using a traditional dugout canoe.

Since we are not likely to meet anytime soon, I have prepared two reports to give an insight into what we were able to do with your support last year.
Please click here for the 2019 Tana River Life Foundation Annual Report
If you are reading this on a mobile phone or on any low bandwidth platform, you may access the compressed version here.
For details on the 2019 Tana River Life Foundation Activities and Achievements, please click here
If you are reading this on a mobile phone or on any low bandwidth platform, you may access the compressed version here.
On behalf of the many young people and their families, and entire communities here in Tana Delta, that have benefited in one way or another from your assistance last year, we thank you very much.

We hope you will continue to journey with us in 2020, as we strive to build lives of greater dignity, freedom and integrity for many.

May God bless and protect you and your families.

Gabriel Teo Kian Chong
15th April 2020

P/S : Please add to your address book so that our emails will not be blocked by your Spam filter.

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Subject: Report on the Successful Completion of Studies and Return to Kenya

Mama Anita (LHS) and Aunty Karen (RHS) with Komora at his Graduation Ceremony

I hope this report finds everyone well. First and foremost, I would like to express my gratitude to TRLF and all its donors for journeying with me for nearly five years of my tertiary education at UTAR Malaysia. I have successfully completed my studies there, attaining a Bachelor’s degree with Honours in Financial Economics, having graduated on 18th August 2019. This would not have been achievable if it wasn’t for your generosity and help. I returned to Kenya on 30th September 2019, and am pleased to find everyone back home well and in good health. From here on, I will be seeking employment opportunities within Kenya whilst simultaneously volunteering with TRLF to help in the different roles that I will be assigned to.

Interacting with Delta Mustard Seed Academy Pupils along with TRLF youth- Justine Wario.

Despite the fact that I may secure an employment opportunity elsewhere in Kenya, I am committed to giving back to the community of Tana Delta through TRLF in whatever way I can and with the time that is available to me. On a personal level, I am ever grateful to Mama Anita Teo’s family in Malaysia, for the care and hospitality showered upon me. She opened her house to me, along with other TRLF UTAR Students, for us to reside in during our semester break, and all along after my Graduation in August 18, 2019. I am also grateful to Mama Anita and Aunty Karen Tan for attending my graduation ceremony held in Kampar Perak, Malaysia as my guardians. May God bless them abundantly.

Komora with his 89 year-old grandmother

In addition, I am thankful to all TRLF donors who have been journeying with the works of the foundation. I would like to assure you that your efforts have contributed vastly to the development of the villages here and have had a tremendous positive impact on the lives of many, bringing a positive change to our community at large.

Your TRLF Beneficiary,

Komora Benedicto

Reported by Benedicto Komora,

Edited by Alexander SR Pang