Project Report: New Year, New Solar Lanterns

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Feb 11, 2019
New Year, New Solar Lanterns
By Oscar Raha – VolunteerOzi Primary Students with Solar Lanterns

Ozi Primary Students with Solar Lanterns

Happy 2019 to our donors over the world and Gong Xi Fa Cai to our donors in Asia as you usher in the year of the pig. Your donations on this project is making a huge impact to many students in our community as so far over 200 households in Tana Delta Sub County have benefited since 2017. This year we were at Ozi Primary which is one of the most rural parts of the county as the nearby village is only accessible by boat and by motorbike during the dry seasons. Ozi village is situated at the mouth of the Tana River where it flows into the Indian Ocean. The school has a population of 461, with the highest enrolment being from the lower primary level.

The Government has installed solar in one of the classrooms to support its Digital Learning Programme to the lower grades during the day but parents are not willing to send their students to school during the night due to security concerns as well as worries about safety of the female students. It’s for this reason that the Foundation has donated 52 solar lanterns to the students of class 7 and 8 to ensure that they can conduct their night preps. This particular type of Solar Lanterns have a component that enables parents to charge phones during the day hence serve as an income generating resource to cover some basic necessities.

This year’s class 8 comprises 17 students, with 15 of them being girls and boys being only 2. It is a unique scenario in the area as mostly the number of boys in classes is usually higher than that of girls. This had a negative impact towards studying at the school at night as their class teacher Mr. Ngoka was quoted, “The community don’t want to bring students to school especially the female pupils. I have a hard task of convincing the parents on the benefits of letting their students do night preps. It wasn’t making sense to give students homework over the week as I was sure they can’t do it at home. Now I can give them assignments that I am confident they can do.”

After donating the solar lanterns, Bakari a class 7 student had this to say, “Although I scored 200 /500 for the last exams, I am very confident that I can improve my performance to at least 300. This is mainly because at home usually I don’t study at night but now I have the resources to. I have a sister also in this primary school and we will help each other study.” While Aisha a class 8 student said “I am grateful to all donors who had a hand in this project, as my results are somehow poor and I do hope that this year I can do a lot of personal studies at home to ensure that I improve significantly come the end of the year.

Oscar conducting an interview with Aisha

Oscar conducting an interview with Aisha

Demo on how the solar lantern works by TRLF Youth

Demo on how the solar lantern works by TRLF Youth

Bakari receiving his Solar Lantern

Bakari receiving his Solar Lantern

Road to Ozi Primary

Road to Ozi Primary

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About this project:

Solar Lanterns for Tana Students Solar Lanterns for Tana Students

by Tana River Life Foundation

ke.gifKenya, edu.gifEducation

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

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May Update on Solar Lanterns for Tana Students


Solar May Report

Thanks you for your continuous support. It is the second term in Kenya and students just began the second term. This period instead of just giving the solar lanterns to the students, a small team of youth volunteering at Tana River Life Foundation was selected to give an encouragement talk to the students. By doing this, the youth could also get a better insight of what the Foundation does as well as give a chance for them to share their experiences to the students. We were at Onwardei Primary School and donated 24 solar lanterns to the class 7 students.

Although we will continue giving out solar lanterns to the students, in the next month we will be revisiting the schools where we donated and check whether the lanterns are still functional as well as monitor the impact it has on the students performances as well as their families.

The foundation is very grateful to your contributions and we do hope you can continue sharing about the project so that we can be able to reach the goal of lightening the lives of many students and families in the county.

Solar May Report 2


Oscar – Volunteer and former beneficiary

Donate Now

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 ! 





Gabriel featured in the Sunday Times

Gabriel Teo, founder of Tana River Life Foundation was featured in the 10th June 2018 edition of the Sunday Times.

Image of Cover of Sunday Times 10 June 2018

Here’s a link to the article:

Watch a short video of his work in Kenya :

If you would like to find out more, please contact us at :




Pre-trip Letter from Gabriel

Dear friends,
We are already in March 2018, but I hope it is not too late to wish all of you a good start to both the New Years. We are grateful for the year behind us, which provided much opportunity for learning, and greater development for many. Thank you all again for helping us create hope and opportunity for so many families here in the Tana Delta.We are now at the onset of the short rains, and as while we look forward to the expected showers, we are also taking precautions to mitigate any problems that may arise from flash floods and roads being cut off.

Mitumba Project
I will be in Singapore by 18th April to start the Mitumba Project collections, details of which are attached here and in our blog at Over 60 needy families benefited from the sale of used clothes, shoes and bags, enabling them earn extra household income to cater for their children’s school fees and other needs.

1st from Right: Mama Ade from Dumi Village has two orphaned grandchildren under her care studying at DEMSA

School Furniture from Singapore for Tana Delta 
The used school furniture donated by Singapore schools last year was refurbished by TRLF youth and distributed to over ten schools in Tana Delta, bringing a huge change to the quality of learning for many students. We are grateful to all at PIL Singapore Pte Ltd and PIL (Kenya) Ltd. Mombasa for arranging the freight forwarding and clearance of the shipments in 2017.

TRLF staff and youth help deliver refurbished classroom furniture using the TRLF school bus..

..enabling a more conducive learning environment for the most marginalized communities across the Tana Delta

Plans for more Infrastructural Development Support for Tana Delta schools
Many schools in villages along the only tarmac road in the Tana Delta have developed over the years with input from the various education stakeholders, including Tana River Life Foundation.
There is however, still a great need in villages off the tarmac road and in the most interior locations. In 2018, we hope to continue assisting in the infrastructural development of these remote schools in the Tana Delta.

Fabrication and Welding Workshop at Emmaus Community Centre
In 2017, we employed a mechanic-cum-welder and started fabricating most of our furniture and fittings, e.g. security grills for windows and library shelves. Beds fabricated in our workshop were donated to the students’ dormitory in Idsowe Primary and Sane Girls Secondary schools in 2017.
We also built the dormitory roof at Idsowe Primary School and a twin-chamber toilet for the girls at Buyani Secondary School.

Lighting up children’s future with solar lanterns
In 2017, we provided 50 children from three remote primary schools with solar reading lights. This has enabled them to read and write at night as well as allowed their parents to continue with income generating activities such as weaving mats, carpentry, and tailoring, even after nightfall.

Bubesa Primary School candidates emerged top in their zone with all but one girl going on to secondary school in 2018

Children from Bubesa Primary School are mostly children of subsistence farmers, who sometimes have to miss school to help their parents in their farms especially during the harvest period. The students themselves organized study groups and met to revise and do their homework under the light of a solar lantern hanging from a tree. It was most gratifying to note that for the first time in history, Bubesa Primary emerged top school in their zone in the national examination. We hope to be able to assist more students this year.

Improving access to a better quality education

Students sponsored by TRLF 2017 Partial 2018 Partial 2017 Full 2018 Full
Primary 0 0 8 6
Secondary 800 600 30 54
Youth 0 0 22 22
College 5 5 24 20
University 0 0 4 4
Total Beneficiaries 805 605 88 106

Integral Formation of Youth and Students
The TRLF formation programmes at different levels help youth beneficiaries discover themselves in a deeper way, so that they mature and develop not only intellectually but also physically, psychologically and conscientiously.
A large number of the fully sponsored students live in our community homes and assist in TRLF development programmes. This arrangement, while preparing future community leaders, also helps sustain TRLF programmes as it greatly reduces administration and project running costs.

Youth under formation learn many other skills, e.g. mechanical, electronic, IT, administration, agriculture, bookkeeping. In addition, youth are trained to carry out complex technical work, e.g. solar lamp posts installation, providing them with useful new knowledge while enabling TRLF to keep overheads and external contractors’ fees at a minimum.

Delta Mustard Seed Academy – Nurturing Knowledge with Integrity
We made huge strides at The Delta Mustard Seed Academy (DEMSA) – the nursery and primary school owned and managed by TRLF – after moving to the new premises that were completed in 2016. The premises were funded equally between Jonaron Foundation of Malaysia and our many donor friends and partners. We have improved record keeping at the school through a computerization exercise and also started to operate library facilities, and provide IT training for teachers as well as Grade 4 students.

We have continued to emphasize a more human and integral formation of the children, breaking barriers of tribe, religion and economic background. Our teachers are also constantly reminded to narrow gaps in terms of academic performance, and to ensure that no child is neglected. We have today an enrollment of 260 children, comprising 133 boys and 127 girls and expect this number to reach 400 by January 2022.

DEMSA children who are needy receive subsidised uniforms and bursaries while all children share two common meals

TRLF Youth – Giving Back

Multi storey farming saves on space, water & time and produces succulent kales

Evans Chikanda and Manase Maro were sponsored to study sustainable agriculture. During their holidays, they helped us start a vegetable plot and fruit orchard at the TRLF Emmaus Community Centre. With their help, we now implement sustainable techniques more suited for semi-arid areas, including planting in deep pits, multi storey vegetable plots, and composting of kitchen waste, among others.

During the 2017 elections break, Oscar trained TRLF staff and youth
volunteers at the Emmaus Computer Lab

We opened the Computer Lab at the Emmaus Community Centre in 2017. The lab was set up entirely by TRLF staff and youth under direction by Oscar Raha, who was the first TRLF-sponsored student to do degree studies at Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) in Malaysia. This saved us a lot in terms of contract and consultancy fees. Oscar completed his degree in Business Information Technology in 2015 and is now the Tana River County ICT officer. Nevertheless, he continues to volunteer his time and expertise willingly.

Alice introduced research, discussion and presentation methodology to our students
to change their midset towards learning, placing their progress in their own hands

Alice Shauri is in her fourth year of medical studies and on her way to becoming the first lady medical doctor from Idsowe. She is also our organizer and resident tutor for all secondary remedial tuition programmes during school holidays.


As mentioned at the start of this letter, it has been a full year, but not only in terms of activities and progress, but also in terms of a deeper appreciation for God and his blessings. We thank each one of you for journeying with us and making so much possible for so many.
I will be back in Malaysia and Singapore from 15th April to 19th June 2018 with two of our youth, Solomon Makwola and Kingstone Madyera, and look forward to meeting up with you once again.

God bless.

Idsowe, Tana Delta, Kenya
15th March 2018


If you would like to download a PDF copy of the report. Please click here.

Mitumba Used Goods Collection 2018

TRLF Pte Ltd supports projects of the Tana River Life Foundation (TRLF), a Kenyan registered Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) (Reg:OP218/051/2007/0440/4836). TRLF works towards the integral development of local communities in the Tana Delta of Kenya.

TRLF has been running the Mitumba (or “recycled goods” in Kiswahili) Project where specific used items that are in very good condition are collected, sorted and shipped to the Tana Delta in Kenya. Furniture and equipment go towards the educational projects run by TRLF, while clothes, shoes and bags provide a group of women with school going children the opportunity to earn additional household income through the sale of these items. Shipment costs have been underwritten by PIL Singapore Pte Ltd since 2015.

In 2017, more than 10 public primary and secondary schools all across the Tana Delta as well as over 60 households in Tana Delta benefited from this project.
TRLF Pte Ltd invites friends wishing to support the community development projects of TRLF to donate goods as listed in the attached REQUEST LIST

Collection Details :

  • Please note that we are at a new location this year.
  • The collection will be at the basement carpark of Church of the Holy Cross at 450 Clementi Avenue 1, Singapore
  • Map:
  • Please DO NOT deliver FURNITURE AND OTHER BULKY ITEMS to the collection centre but contact the undersigned to make alternative arrangements

Collection Period :

  • From Thurs 19th to Sat 28th April 2018 EXCLUDING Sunday 22nd April
  • TRLF volunteers will be at the basement carpark to receive your donations
  • Collection times: Mon to Fri – 10am to 6pm/ Sat – 10am to 3pm
    Note: We CLOSE AT 3PM ON SATURDAYS due to carpark congestion

Notices :

  • As we are being hosted at an institution of public worship, please DO NOT leave your items in the car park BEYOND the collection period.
  • We are unable to extend the collection period due to logistical restrictions.
  • For further information, you may contact us at 9833-8401 or via email at Do visit our blog at for more information and updates on
    this and our other programmes.


Thank you for your support and God bless.
Gabriel Teo Kian Chong
10th March 2018

Gabriel was featured in LianHe Zaobao

Gabriel was featured in the press yesterday, 18th June. Here’s the link if you can read Chinese :

Here’s an English translation. Thanks to Sarah and Patrick Yong.

Life takes a turn in Kenya – translation of Lianhe Zaobao article June 2017



Mitumba 2017 Collection

For the past 12 years, TRLF has been running the Mitumba (or “recycled goods” in Kiswahili) Project where specific used items that are in good resalable condition are collected and sorted by TRLF staff and volunteers over a period of a month or so. These items are sent to the Tana Delta in Kenya to assist beneficiaries earn additional household income through the sale of these recycled goods.
In 2016, over 60 households in Tana Delta benefited from the project as beneficiaries were able to cater for their family’s development needs, including paying school fees and medical bills from sale of items collected. By providing the women with a supplementary income over a period of 6 months, this project nurtures self-reliance and dignity. It also gives our youth volunteers an opportunity to assist members of communities who are at a disadvantage to overcome the many challenges they face, especially in educating their children.

Mitumba beneficiaries and volunteers

Mitumba Beneficiaries and volunteers

We will be collecting once again this year and we thank you in advance for your generosity.

Collection Details :

  • Dates : Saturday 18th March to Sunday 26th March 2017
  • Times : Sundays from 10am to 5pm; all other days from 10am to 7pm
  • Venue : Tented area at the Nativity Church Kindergarten carpark
  • Map :
  • Request List :
  • Volunteers will be available to receive your donations during this period.
  • Due to congestion at the carpark, we will not be able receive items after 5pm on Sundays.
  • Please use the FIRST entrance along Hougang Ave 8 leading to the Nativity Church Kindergarten (facing Punggol Park). DO NOT use the main entrance to Nativity Church along Upper Serangoon Road nor the second entrance along Hougang Ave 8 as you will NOT be able to reach the collection point from these entrances.
  • As we are being hosted at an institution of public worship, please DO NOT leave your
    items in the car park outside the collection period.
  • We are unable to extend the collection period due to logistical constraints..
  • For further information, you may contact us at 9833-8401 or via email at Do visit our blog at for
    more information and updates on this and our other programmes.

If you would like to download a PDF copy of this letter, click here.

Thank you for your support and God bless.
Gabriel Teo Kian Chong
23rd February 2017

If you need clarifications, please contact us using the form below :

Buyani Secondary School has grown 12 fold

Thanks for your support.

Since the start of the campaign the number of students at Buyani Secondary School has risen from total of 18 (2 girls, 16 boys) in 2012 to 206 (116 boys, 90 girls) in 2016. To enable the school to manage the almost 12 fold increase in student population Tana River Life Foundation supplied 300 lockers/tables and 200 chairs to the school in September 2016.

93 needy students are currently supported by the foundation. We sponsor their school fees to ensure that they successfully complete the school year without any disruptions. Many would otherwise have to stay at home as their families would not have been able to pay for the entire year’s fees.

We are encouraged by the very promising students the school produces for the community. Of the students who graduated last year with their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education, one has been volunteering as teacher in the school. We hope that those who do well in their exams will help their community. Teaching is a great way for them to give back.

In August 2016, we provided Salim, a recent graduate of the school, with a 50% sponsorship to continue his education at Shanzu Teacher Training College. Upon his graduation he will employed by the government as a primary school teacher and will be posted within Tana River County. We are excited by this development.

Be blessed as we continue rebuilding Buyani secondary school. Help us continue to support the school by giving generously at :

With Gratitude,

Oscar Raha Jr, Former beneficiary of Tana River Life Foundation

Patiently Progressing By Oscar Raha – Former beneficiary and current staff of TRLF

Dear Friends & Donors,

Thank you for your donations. Last year Tana River Life Foundation completed the construction of 2 classrooms and furnished one with chairs and lockers at Buyani Secondary School. We launched a debate competition in the region where 6 secondary schools in the Delta District participated. This was the first time students in the area participated in an inter-school competition, and experienced the extra curricula activities that many students from other parts of the world take for granted. The students were really excited and we discovered  excellent debaters. The competition will be held annually to encourage students to attain a good command of the English language and self-confidence as we prepare them for life after secondary school.

Buyani Secondary School qualified for the provincial level drama competition, where they competed with the best schools in the province. This provided the students with a glimpse of life outside Tana River. This helped correct the notion that students from remote areas are not able to compete with their peers from more developed areas. I chatted with Omar and Aisha, both Form 2 students and beneficiaries of our program. They were very excited. According to Omar , “The drama festival at provincial level was very beneficial to me as I got the opportunity to interact with students from other schools as well as make new friends. After returning home, I shared my experiences with my fellow students.” Aisha wrote a letter to express her appreciation. Here’s an excerpt, “We went to the sub-county and we participated in the drama competition. We Buyani Secondary School were the champions. I was the Best Actress. The certificate will help me when I finish my studies. I aspire to be a drama teacher.”

The school started a project to plant maize for students’ school lunch. Three hectares of land was cultivated. This will ensure that students will enough food for at least 6 months during the school year. The project was received favourably  by both the community and students. The students weed and water the crops after class.

There is still a very urgent need for funds to construct  toilets in the school.. Currently there is cholera outbreak in the district. We hope to raise sufficeient funds to provide a safer and more hygenic learning environment for the students.

Be blessed.


Oscar Raha