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

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 gabrielteo@tanariverlifefoundation.org to your address book so that our emails will not be blocked by your Spam filter.

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Bringing Light to Students in the Tana Delta


Students from Kulesa Primary School receiving their lamps

Rural schools in the Tana Delta have been usually left out from development plans. The communities live off the grid as the power infrastructure doesn’t reach their villages. Without light, students are unable to study nor do homework when the sun goes down. Providing solar lanterns will be enable students to do their homework in the evenings, providing them the opportunity to do better in national examinations. Beneficiaries are upper primary students in Class 7 & 8, aged between 12-15 yrs.

The foundation is working with schools to offer the students in the nearby villages with lighted classrooms, as well as take home lamps to do their homework and evening self-study. Many of the villages lack electricity and as a result students are not able to do their homework at night. The solar lanterns will provide electricity for lighting classrooms at night. Students in these rural communities are able to study and compete with students from other parts of the country who have better facilities.

Since 2017, we have been helping more than 200 students per year who are preparing for their primary school leaving exams. This will improve their results & chances to advance to secondary school.

At Bubesa Primary School, the solar lanterns had a tremendous impact on the performance of the students in the national exams last November. The graduating class emerged top for the first time in the Garsen North Zone which comprises of ten schools. The mean grade obtained by all the graduating students showed an improvement of 20.44%.

It has been shown that young people who have had more years of education are less likely to engage in behaviors detrimental to their communities eg. Join tribal militia that engage in tribal violence, teenage pregnancies but help their families. Health of these families will also improve due to less smoke inhaling.

Read about the progress of the project :


From 9pm Wednesday 18th July ( Singapore time ) funds raised will be matched. Be the light ! 





TRLF Mitumba 2016

Dear friends

I hope this note finds you and your families well.

I am now tying up matters over here in Tana as I prepare to make my trip to Asia at the end of March. It has been extra hectic because of the on-going construction of the new school ( Emmaus Centre Project Phase 1) which restarted late last year and also because we expanded our bursary programme to assist students from Term 1, especially those who performed well in the primary school leaving exams and were not able to continue to secondary school because of financial limitations. Thank you very much once again for your support for our work here in Tana Delta.

Classroom North Elevation

I expect to be at my mum’s place in JB by 1st April and in Singapore by the evening of 3rd April. I hope we can meet up sometime in April or May. I will be in Singapore the whole of April and again in the last two weeks of May. I will be in Malaysia during the first two weeks of May as well as the first two weeks of June before returning to Kenya by mid-June.

We will have our Mitumba Project collections again this year from 8 – 16 April at Nativity Church Kindergarten, the same venue as last year. Collection details and wishlist are available for download here.

In the last year, together with a few volunteer friends from Singapore and Malaysia, we registered Tana River Life Foundation Pte Ltd. One of its activities is the sale of Kenyan handicrafts in Singapore & Malaysia, with all profits going to support TRLF projects in Kenya. Soapstone carvings featuring safari animals and Christmas figurines have been the first products. If you would like to view or find out more, please contact Iris Tay at tanariverlifefoundation@gmail.com.

When in Asia, I will be contactable at +65-98338401 (Singapore) / +6012-6237040 (Malaysia) or Whatsapp to +254723521774. I look forward to meeting you during our time in Asia.

Until then, may God bless you and your families.

5th March 2016
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Gabriel and Tana River Life Foundation featured in Millionaire Asia

Thanks to Brian Yim and the team at Millionaire Asia, Gabriel and Tana River Life Foundation were featured in the Issue 33 of Millionaire Asia. Here’s the article.


Ubuntu : An Evening in Aid of Tana River Life Foundation

DSC_0007A big “Thank you” to all who supported us at the Amara Hotel on Friday 19th April at “Ubuntu: An Evening in Aid of Tana River Life Foundation“. Your generous support has enabled us to raise the amount needed to build the community library that is part of Phase 2 of the Emmaus Center Project. Our heartfelt appreciation also goes out to those whose sponsorships help us keep the cost of the evening low, and those who worked for months to put the evening together. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXjzVDe6xrA&feature=youtu.be

Thanks to Mr Milenko Prvacki and Mrs Delio Prvacki for curating the art works for the evening and getting their friends and associates to contribute their works to the event. The catalogue is available for download at https://tanariverlife.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/a5-tana-booklet_130326_full-set-low-res.pdf. Please contact tanariverlifefoundation@gmail.com if you would like to view the pieces of Art Available – 22 April 2013. Here are some photos of the evening as well as some behind the scenes pictures. IMG_1697 IMG_1675 IMG_1682 IMG_1706 IMG_1703 IMG_1704 IMG_1687 IMG_1673 And here are some photos of the evening : HR_FJP4766 HR_FJP5080 HR_FJP4755 HR_FJP4752 HR_FJP4748 HR_FJP4744-Edit HR_FJP4742 HR_FJP4862 HR_FJP4833 HR_FJP4810 HR_FJP4808 HR_FJP4806 HR_FJP4776 HR_FJP4783 HR_FJP4774 HR_FJP4768 HR_FJP4914 HR_FJP4896 HR_FJP4892 HR_FJP4888 HR_FJP4883 HR_FJP4870 HR_FJP5015 HR_FJP5014-Edit HR_FJP4867 HR_FJP5007 HR_FJP4971 HR_FJP5075 DSC_0140 DSC_0006 DSC_0030 DSC_0051 DSC_0045 DSC_0039 DSC_0037 DSC_0038 DSC_0078

Students at UTAR meet Dr Ling

Thanks to Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, 6 youths from Tana River are currently on scholarship at the Perak campus. The 6th student Prisca Habuya Mbaru joined them in January this year. She is the first female student from the foundation to be sponsored at UTAR and will be persuing a Bachelor of Arts in English Education.

Last December 5 of the students had the honour of meeting Utar council chairman Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik. http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/12/12/metroperak/12441045&sec=metroperak

Click here for a downloadable version of the article. The Star Online_ Kenyan Students Share their Experiences with Dr Ling – Dec 2012

Art works contributed by artist friends who visited Kenya

Ruth Chua and her artist friends visited Kenya in September 2012. They have generously contributed their works inspired by the sights of Kenya. Proceeds from the sale of these pieces will go towards building Phase 2 of the Emmaus Centre Project ( ECP ).

Please drop us a note at tanariverlifefoundation@gmail.com if you are interested to view or bid for these beautiful pieces.

Zebras - A Ritualized Fight by Ruth Chua. Acrylic. 90cm x 70cm Unframed. $3500

Zebras – A Ritualized Fight by Ruth Chua. Acrylic. 90cm x 70cm. $3500

Wealth from the Heart by Goh Ko Hwee. Pastel on Paper. 50.8cm x 40.6cm Unframed. $2500

Wealth from the Heart by Goh Ko Hwee. Pastel on Paper. 50.8cm x 40.6cm. $2500

Plight of the Rhinos by Claire Wee. Collage and Acrylic. 101cm x 76cm Unframed. $3000

Plight of the Rhinos by Claire Wee. Collage and Acrylic. 101cm x 76cm. $3000

Masa’ai by Suzanne Leong. Acrylic. 101cm x 76cm Unframed. $4000

Masa’ai by Suzanne Leong. Acrylic. 101cm x 76cm. $4000

Eyeing Their Prey by Ruth Chua. Acrylic. 60cm x 80cm Unframed. $3000

Eyeing Their Prey by Ruth Chua. Acrylic. 60cm x 80cm. $3000

Catch Me If You Can by Claire Wee. Oil. 60cm x 70cm Unframed. $4000

Catch Me If You Can by Claire Wee. Oil. 60cm x 70cm. $4000

Focus Pilates for Tana River Life Foundation

Tana River Life Foundation thanks the generosity of the management at Focus Pilates. They have chosen to support Tana River Life Foundation with a donation of $5,000 towards the Foundation’s Emmaus Centre Project. Every year Focus Pilates makes an effort to support the less fortunate, and Tana River Life Foundation is grateful for the support this year.

Karen Tan, Focus Pilates’ studio manager and instructor, volunteered her time during her visit to Idsowe, Kenya in July 2012. Read about her experience at the village. Click here for photos from her trip.

If you would like to contribute to the project, there are several ways to do this

Thank you so much for making a difference to the lives in the communities supported by the foundation.

Focus Pilates is an integrated studio and physiotherapy clinic who believe that everyone can reach their personal health and fitness goals and achieve their optimum state of health. They strive to ensure instructors have industry leading knowledge and technique to provide clients with the best level of instruction. They are well placed to do this as they are the proud host and appointed training centre for the internationally recognised Polestar Pilates Instructor Education Courses.