International Club Project
Founded in 1998 the Lions Academy is a private school. Located in Isiolo County, Kenya. Northern Kenya has semi-arid conditions, with infertile soils not suitable for growing crops. It is hot and dry. The yearly rains are unreliable. The region is unfavorable for economic development. Many people earn a small salary well below the poverty line. Life is challenging, HIV Aids is epidemic, touching and ruining a majority of families. The region lives in a state of constant unrest.
Harriet Nkatha, the proprietor, pressed the need for a boarding facility for disadvantaged and orphaned children in the area. The County Government donated a 5 acre piece of land for development of the facility.
What began as a kindergarten school, Lions Academy has grown tremendously over the years. Enrollment fluctuates but currently the school has a total of 57 boys and 64 girls. 25 of the children are orphans, the remainder are day students. The children range in ages from 5 to 14. There is a staff of 13 teachers, a cook, 2 night guards and the head mistress, Harriet Nkatha, who takes care of the boarders.
In 2007 the Lions Academy moved from a small leased facility to a newly built school. The school was funded by two members from Kiwanis of Tellico Village. The school has been faced with many obstacles over the years. Floods, drought, building collapse, theft but they have endured. Three new building were completed in 2019. The government officials approved the new construction. They have, however, requested one additional building be erected.
Lions Academy has been a happy Christian environment and the school follows the national syllabus. The students are taught basic life skills such as knitting, sewing and farming. A number of the Lions Academy pupils have gone on to join good high schools and public universities in Kenya. Each year the school has ranked very high academically and achieved first place in 2008. It ranked ninth in the country in the national drama competition. the children are well disciplined. They take their education seriously, realizing that doing well in school is their only way out of poverty.
The students are fed three meals a day, one of which is porridge. Food prices continue to rise every year, stressing the budget. The school has a Management Committee which oversees the curriculum, financial concerns and management. The student tuition fees that are collected, unfortunately, do not cover all expenses.Local and national funding for the school is non-existent. Lions Academy must rely on donations from friends and tourists.
The school’s strength and vitality come from Head Mistress, Harriet Nkatha. She has dedicated her life to helping the unfortunate children of Kenya. She too comes from a very humble beginning. Harriet strives to provide a better life for the children who have come from the streets or are orphaned. The students have great dreams. They work hard to achieve their goals.
With the help of God, prayers and assistance of others, the Lions Academy will survive !