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

Cancellation of Jumble Sale 2016

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Tana River Life Foundation 2016 Jumble Sale has been cancelled. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused.

If you would like to support a good cause and thank Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary for their unwavering support to the foundation, please join us at their Bazaar.

4 pm – 8 pm Saturday 4th  June 2016

8 am – 8 pm Sunday 5th June 2016

St Joseph’s Pavilion (outside Casa Maria Hall)

Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Entrance to carpark via : 98 Hougang Avenue 8,
Singapore 538791


Once again thank you for your generous support, and we hope to see you at the Bazaar.

If you have any questions or comments, please send them to

TRLF Jumble Sale – May 21st & 22nd 2016, Nativity Church

Thank you for your support once again during the Mitumba collection drive in March. For the past 11 years, Tana River Life Foundation has been running theMitumba (or “recycled goods” in Kiswahili) Project where lightly used items that are in good saleable condition are collected and sorted by TRLF staff and volunteers over a period of a month. These items are sent to the Tana Delta to assist over 80 households earn additional income through the sale of these recycled goods, enabling marginalized families to continue educating their children.

Some of the high value items will not be shipped to Kenya. These include designer bags and shoes, almost new clothes, household goods, books and jewellery which will be available at a jumble sale. Funds raised will pay for the shipment of the goods to Kenya. Our aim is to make the Mitumba Project a self sustaining one.

Please join us on 21st & 22nd May 2016 at the Nativity Church, the collection venue.

Venue : Nativity Church Kindergarten

Date and Time :  
Saturday       21st May 2016         : 1pm to 7pm
Sunday         22nd May 2016        : 8am to 7pm

Once again thank you for your generous support, and we hope to see you on the 21st and 22nd of May.

Amit sorting through the Mitumba collections and getting ready for the Jumble Sale

Amin sorting through the Mitumba collections and getting ready for the Jumble Sale


Happy Jumble Sale Customers

Happy Jumble Sale Customers

DSC_0004 DSC_0005


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

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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