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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Happy New Year from the Tana Delta – a note from Gabriel

Dear Friends

I pray that you and your loved ones are well, and wish all of you a belated Christmas and a very Happy New Year 2016. May God bless you with grace, joy, peace and inner strength in the year ahead.

It has been really hot over here in Tana for the entire month of December, despite the heavy rains. Thankfully the weather has cooled down this week and we are hoping that the hottest period has passed. The river broke its banks as a result of the heavy rains upcountry and some villages along the Tana River were flooded. Our village was not affected though our farm and many others along the river were flooded causing some loss of crops. Nevertheless, it was not as bad as we were expecting with all the dire predictions of El Nino in the press since September.

We continued extending our reach to the most interior villages this year, giving a lot of students opportunities they would otherwise not have. We managed to organize the first Tana Delta Secondary School Debate sanctioned by the Ministry of Education. We held it at Kitere Secondary School, the most remote school in the Delta. The entire school comprises a single building with 3 classrooms, one of which is used as staff room cum principal’s room cum store.


Kitere Secondary School is situated in Ndera Location. It is the most remote secondary school in the Tana Delta

It takes two hours to get there during the dry season and even longer during the rains, if at all the roads are passable. Normally such events are held in schools situated closer to the tarmac road, and at most just a few student representatives from the interior schools are able to travel to attend such functions due to lack of means.

Every debate participant received a dictionary donated by St. Theresa’s Convent in Singapore
Every debate participant received a dictionary donated by St. Theresa’s Convent in Singapore

Holding the event at Kitere Secondary School gave that entire school population a truly unforgettable experience. It also enabled students from the less remote areas who participated in the debate to appreciate the challenges students in the remote areas face.

TRLF – improving Child Literacy Skills in the Tana Delta
TRLF – improving Literacy Skills in the Tana Delta

Our school, Delta Mustard Seed Academy had an enrolment of over 150 students this year. Our children are able to read from the time they are 5 years old, whereas the norm in the Delta has always been that kids even as old as 9 struggle to read simple words. We would like to assist more children develop in this way and have identified 6 primary schools in the most outlying locations for special assistance. We are developing a program together with the school teachers from these schools for implementation in 2016.

 School Building under construction; Community Centre in the background
School Building under construction; Community Centre in the background

Work restarted on construction of the school building of the Emmaus Centre Project (ECP) in late November. The delay was because the contractor Mr. Li was tying up another project in Ethiopia and was unable to release his site manager until mid-November. The site manager Mr Yang is a very skilled and dedicated builder and his service is worth the wait. He undertook the community centre construction and completed that with utmost professionalism and much passion. The school is expected to be completed by May 2016.

The community centre building is complete with the exception of the internet connection. We are working on getting the external works completed, i.e. waste disposal, water supply and storage etc. All such works are expected to be completed by mid-2016.

TRLF youth, Nancy an Esther explaining the use of reusable sanitary napkins to students from Kitere
TRLF youth, Nancy and Esther explaining the use of reusable sanitary napkins to students from Kitere

We continue nurturing our youth, both at secondary school level as well as post-secondary level, helping them form and internalize moral values. We also involve them in all the community work we do so that they become more integrated in the real lives of their own communities and neighbours. Many of them mature to become more passionate and aware of the needs of others and of their responsibilities to assist.

TRLF donated desks, chairs and textbooks to Oda, Buyani and Kitere secondary schools in 2015
TRLF donated desks, chairs and textbooks to Oda, Buyani and Kitere secondary schools in 2015

As we leave the gift of 2015 behind, and look forward in wonder and faith to 2016, I thank you very much for journeying with us as we build individual lives, and thereby entire communities. You are remembered in our prayers today and I ask that you too keep us in yours. Once again, Happy New Year 2016, be blessed.


Idsowe Village – Tana Delta, Kenya
1st January 2016

Watch Our Latest Video

Watch a video of what the foundation has been up to lately. Gabriel Teo speaks about the work being done in Education, Sustainable Agriculture, Entrepreneuship, Youth Formation Program and the Emmaus Centre.

Thanks to Alen Nikolovski, Soh Lai Leng, and Sister Delphine for agreeing to be interviewed. Thank you Wally Tham and Esther Chan for producing this video !

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.

https://tanariverlife.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/millionaire-asia-second-nature-journey-to-the-tana-delta-2pp_r8-final.pdf

Letter from Gabriel – Feb 2014

Dear Friends,

I hope this letter finds all of you in the best of health and blessed with a good start to 2014. This letter is long overdue, and I sincerely apologize for the delay. It has been an eventful year with a lot of unforeseen challenges. I am grateful however, because it was also a year of much growth in faith and inner strength.

It is now a year since the ethnic clashes in the Tana Delta ended as abruptly as it started and life has slowly returned to normal. TRLF was invited to be part of the Tana Delta Peace Forum set up by the Deputy County Commissioner’s office, aimed at conflict resolution. I believe that our human development initiatives can bring about not merely periods of normalcy but long term peace and sustainable development for the people of Tana Delta. The following report elaborates on this conviction:

https://tanariverlife.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/2014-trlf-education-and-peace-final.pdf

As part of our efforts to support the areas most affected by the conflict, we started a mobile library this month, initially serving two schools in the delta, including Buyani Secondary School which was vandalized and forced to stop operating for almost a year as a result of the clashes. Our school The Delta Mustard Seed Academy is now registered with the Ministry of Education as a Private Nursery and Primary School, with an enrolment of 115 children from all the delta tribes. You can read more about these and our other educational initiatives at :https://tanariverlife.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/2013-pdf-part-b-and-c-education-support1.pdf

We terminated the services of the contractor responsible for constructing Phase 1 of the Emmaus Centre (i.e. the school building) in the middle of last year on grounds of non-performance. We were unable to proceed as planned as he refused to return the original building plans to us. The case is currently pending a court decision with a ruling date set for 17th March. Meanwhile, construction of Phase 2 of the Emmaus Centre (i.e. the Community Centre housing the library, computer room, meeting room, auditorium and cafeteria) will begin this month under a new contractor. This phase is expected to be completed by August. Details about the ECP are available at:

https://tanariverlife.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/2013-pdf-part-k-and-l-scaling-up.pdf

To better manage these new initiatives, I have delayed my annual trip to Asia. I will arrive in Singapore on 21st March. Collections for the Mitumba Project (i.e. sale of recycled goods to improve rural livelihoods) will start on Saturday 22nd March and run through to Saturday 29th March. The venue remains the same as last year, i.e. the Nativity Church Kindergarten at Hougang Ave 8 (opposite Punggol Park). I look forward to your support once again. Full details can be obtained from :  https://tanariverlife.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/2014-part-b-pdf.pdf

This project, with your generous support, benefited over 50 families last year. I write about this and other entrepreneurship programs at:

https://tanariverlife.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/2013-pdf-part-g-and-h-entrepreneuship.pdf

The farm project has progressed very well in spite of being partially destroyed during the floods that hit the delta in May and June last year. More information on this is available at:

https://tanariverlife.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/2013-pdf-part-d-e-and-f-sustainable-agriculture.pdf

This was largely due to the efforts of the present group of youth under formation who are also the farm managers. They have matured tremendously in the past year, and are very responsible and honest. I explain more about the youth formation project in the following write-up:

https://tanariverlife.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/2013-pdf-part-i-and-j-integral-formation.pdf

We were blessed with many visitors last year. A compilation of photos of 2013 visitors is available at:

https://tanariverlife.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/2013-pdf-part-m-donor-visits.pdf

I am grateful for these visits, as it enriches the life experiences of our youth. I trust that every one of our visitors were also enriched in some way, and I welcome more such visits in the coming years.

I am very grateful to all who have helped us in one way or another, making possible so many initiatives last year. May you be blessed abundantly for your generous spirit.  Below is an acknowledgment of the help we received in 2013, and I apologize if I have inadvertently missed mentioning anyone:

https://tanariverlife.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/2013-pdf-part-n-acknowledgements.pdf

Highlights of our 2013 initiatives can be downloaded at: https://tanariverlife.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/2013-pdf-part-a-cover-and-intro.pdf

The complete 2013 Annual Report comprising all the above sections is available at:

https://tanariverlife.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/2013-trlf-annual-report-final.pdf

We have made major changes to the administration of our school fees sponsorship programme with the aim of assisting the most marginalized students from every location in the Tana Delta. This and all our other plans for 2014 are outlined in the following report:

https://tanariverlife.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/2014-part-a-pdf.pdf

I hope you will be encouraged to continue to journey with us this year as we work towards a more complete humanity for all.

I created a new email address for the foundation: tanariverlifefoundation@gmail.com, and will be sending all future reports through that address. Please save that email address in your contacts list/address book to prevent our future reports from inadvertently being sent to your spam folder.

Lastly, I look forward to meeting you during my stay in Singapore and Malaysia from the end of March until the middle of May. I will be contactable at both +65-98338401 (Singapore) and +6012-6237040 (Malaysia) from 21st March. Please note my new permanent mobile number in Singapore.

Thank you once again, and I wish you all a year of peace and fulfillment. God bless.

Gabriel Teo Kian Chong

Idsowe – Tana Delta

February 2014

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

More Art in Aid of Emmaus Centre Project

Thanks to Mr Milenko Prvacki, we have had a number of artists contribute their works in aid of the Emmaus Centre Project building fund. These beautiful works are available for sale. Please contact the foundation at tanariverlife@gmail.com to purchase or view the pieces.

Click here to download a copy of the art catalogue. https://tanariverlife.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/a5-tana-booklet_130326_full-set-low-res1.pdf

Untitled by Jessica Gabrielli

Untitled by Jessica Gabrielli – SOLD !

To the Beat of the Sarama - Series by Jessica Gabrielli

To the Beat of the Sarama – Series by Jessica Gabrielli – SOLD !

Symbiosis 2 by Sansook Roh

Symbiosis 2 by Sansook Roh

Small Red Squares and Small Green Squares by Om Mee Ai

Small Red Squares and Small Green Squares by Om Mee Ai

Small Red Squares and Small Green Squares by Om Mee Ai ( diptych )

Small Red Squares and Small Green Squares by Om Mee Ai ( diptych )

Medusozoa by Shubigi Rao

Medusozoa by Shubigi Rao – SOLD !

The Rage of Reason by Miel

The Rage of Reason by Miel – SOLD !

Silhouette along the Corridor Guava and Pomegranate by Quek Kiat Sing

Silhouette along the Corridor Guava and Pomegranate by Quek Kiat Sing – SOLD !

Silhouette along the Corridor Bonsai by Quek Kiat Sing

Silhouette along the Corridor Bonsai by Quek Kiat Sing – SOLD ! 

The Visitor (Study) by Jon Chan

The Visitor (Study) by Jon Chan

Gaussian (seascape) by Jeremy Sharma

Gaussian (seascape) by Jeremy Sharma

Earthbound by Shirley Soh

Earthbound by Shirley Soh – SOLD !

Malayan Exchange ( Study of a Note of the Future ) Variation 8, Ed 1 of 5 by Green Zeng

Malayan Exchange ( Study of a Note of the Future ) Variation 8, Ed 1 of 5 by Green Zeng – SOLD !

Purple_Grey No.1 by Luke Heng

Purple_Grey No.1 by Luke Heng – SOLD !

Tan Wee Lit 2008

Interchange by Delia Prvacki

Interchange by Delia Prvacki – SOLD !

Harvest by Max Kong

Harvest by Max Kong

Fading Asia by Ketna Patel

Fading Asia by Ketna Patel

No Unregistered Guests (from the Love Hotel Series) By Adeline Kueh

No Unregistered Guests (from the Love Hotel Series) By Adeline Kueh

Tan Wee Lit 2008 - second image

Beginning of a Construction by Vladimir Todorovic

Beginning of a Construction by Vladimir Todorovic

Studying the Barn Owl by Khairullah Rahim

Studying the Barn Owl by Khairullah Rahim – SOLD !

Small Things by Steve Lim

Small Things by Steve Lim

Now you see it now you dont by Milenko Prvacki

Now you see it now you dont by Milenko Prvacki – SOLD !

Moving Bodies Series No. 1 by S.Chandrasekaran

Moving Bodies Series No. 1 by S.Chandrasekaran

He Make Me by Khairullah Rahim

He Make Me by Khairullah Rahim

Beard by Filip Gudovic

Beard by Filip Gudovic

001432 by Hilmi Johandi

001432 by Hilmi Johandi

Untitled by Ana Prvacki

Untitled by Ana Prvacki

004706 by Hilmi Johandi

004706 by Hilmi Johandi

Occupy Antartica by Phillips Connor

Occupy Antartica by Phillips Connor

The Kenyan Girl by Kim Chesney

The Kenyan Girl by Kim Chesney – SOLD !

The Field by Panisuan Chasinga

The Field by Panisuan Chasinga

Reaching by Clare Hebdige

Reaching by Clare Hebdige – SOLD !

85 Years by Clare Hebdige

85 Years by Clare Hebdige – SOLD !

Entering Noah's Ark by Jason Wang

Entering Noah’s Ark by Jason Wang – SOLD !

Peace by Amit Upadhye

Peace by Amit Upadhye – SOLD !

Coloverde by Amit Upadhye

Coloverde by Amit Upadhye

Paleta Ng Langit (Sky's Palette) by Cher Villarino

Paleta Ng Langit (Sky’s Palette) by Cher Villarino

Akit by Cher Villarino

Akit by Cher Villarino – SOLD !

The West Gate Angkor Thom Angkor Cambodia by John McDermott

The West Gate Angkor Thom Angkor Cambodia by John McDermott – SOLD !

Temple Lions and Clouds by John McDermott

Temple Lions and Clouds by John McDermott – SOLD !

Bayon Temple, Angkor by Russel Wong

Bayon Temple, Angkor by Russel Wong

Aspirations by Alec Tan

Aspirations by Alec Tan