A community of learners, a partnership for quality education
The 130 students at Clay are split evenly between boys and girls ranging in ages 13 to 19 years old. Besides academic success in primary school, they demonstrate a strong work ethic, have showed tenacity in the face of poverty and hardship, have ambition, think creatively and are intellectually curious.
Their homes are within 35 km or so of Ngomano enabling their parents to come to campus and help with maintaining the facilities. In this climate challenged region, and to gain admission, their families prove that they cannot afford fees for government secondary schools.
Clay is an extraordinary opportunity for these driven students to break out of the cycle of poverty. The majority of our students are the first in their families to complete secondary school.
“If it weren’t for Clay, I would now be married and having children and not able to pursue my dream of university and a career.”
Benson Mutua, born and raised in Ngomano, is not only Clay’s Country Manager but also a co-Founder of the school along with the Clay family. His wish to give back to the community where he grew up and was cared for in an orphanage led to the establishment of Clay as a way of helping the children of this poor region. Trained as a civil engineer and with background as an I.T. college administrator, he is the visionary of the Clay campus.
He has overseen all building construction, created easy water access, planted orchards and agricultural fields, thousands of trees and brought in solar power. He oversees the Principal and faculty, maintenance and grounds workers, and in collaboration with the Parents’ Committee – manages the dorm counselors, cooks, security guards and other staff.
He advocates for Clay in all levels of government, promoting the success of the school and helps to establish what is now its national reputation in Kenya. He is the common denominator of all stakeholders and the one that keeps the machine running smoothly. He embodies the conscience of Clay and its mission.
The Clay faculty of 10 teachers, 13:1 student/faculty ratio, hail from all parts of Kenya. They share a passion for inspiring these young adults to reach beyond their limits and to help them develop into lifelong learners. Since the faculty all lives on campus, they are available around the clock and provide counsel and mentoring outside the classroom as well as inside.
With a strong foundation of character building underlying the curriculum, students are fortunate to have our teachers as role models. In turn the faculty believe they are the lucky to be able to teach in an enhanced learning environment with engaged and eager students.
“You have relieved our parents of the burden of paying school fees and buying books. In fact we refer to ourselves as the luckiest students on the globe.”
Parents are one of the many factors behind Clay’s success. As active partners in the school, they contribute to the maintenance and well-being of the campus. They help in various stages of building construction – hand digging foundations, making adobe bricks, cleaning brush, gathering wood, and much more. They help farm the fields that produce crops for their children to eat. And during festivities they are there cooking for crowds of sometimes 600 visitors.
Many have to travel some distance by bus or on foot to fulfill their monthly work obligation to support the school, and they do it gleefully. Their involvement with their childrens’ education gives each child an extra vote of confidence, and reaffirming education as a value on the path to success.
They have their own Parents’ Committee which is active in the admissions process and in the hiring dorm parents and security and maintenance staff, all of which they help fund with minimal contributions.
Alumnae and Alumni
Clay graduates have created their own Alumni/ae Association with active networks including an emergency fund for those of their fellow and sister grads who need help paying for their post secondary schooling. Some have invested in the current students’ chicken farming project by buying eggs in bulk, making this agricultural experiment a lesson in enterprise for the students.
Select alums are embarking on a research project to track all the existing Clay to quantify their post secondary education and assess the impact of Clay on their lives.
Many have graduated from colleges and universities. Some of the industries and fields of our grads are:
- Business start-ups
- Law Enforcement