What began during a dinner conversation in 2005 has evolved into a full-scale effort to improve the lives of young adults in the Western Province of Kenya. Fr. Boniface Silayo, a Kenyan priest, was on sabbatical at the Berkeley Jesuit School of Theology, when he befriended East Bay resident, Teresa Picchi. Fr. Boniface shared his vision of starting a school in his impoverished community to teach young adults skills that would enable them to be self-reliant. Teresa, along with friends David Taylor, Dan Altemus, and Melissa Nelson, became committed to helping Fr. Boniface with this endeavor.
Following the shipment of computers and sewing machines donated by friends in the Bay Area, St. Teresa Technical School became a reality. The school provides young adults the opportunity to develop marketable skills for future jobs. Located in the rural community of Musoli, outside of Kakamega, the programs at the school offer training for teenagers and young adults in tailoring, knitting, welding, carpentry, mechanics, farming and computers, skills to help them become self-reliant. The service is desperately needed in this community, where teenagers who’s parents cannot afford school fees for secondary school, have very few skills and roam the streets. Parents, teachers and community leaders are seriously concerned about these young people with nothing to do and have been enthusiastic about the programs that are offered at St Teresa Technical School.
Since 2006 we have raised enough money to buy land and build a permanent facility. A local woman was hired as the school administrator and the new school opened in Fall 2008 After a series of open houses and meetings in January, 2009 a Board of Governors was elected and the community assumed responsibility for the technical school. Enrollment is growing and the school continues to develop and is in the process of becoming registered. All of the school staff comes from the area of Musoli. Many of the teachers were students themselves in the early days of the school and have been trained on the job. As an enticement to obtain further training we offer the teachers forgivable loans to cover room, board and fees. This gives them the opportunity to take classes at a highly regarded technical school in the area with a commitment to continue teaching at the school.
EBEA is dedicated to helping young adults become self reliant through education and job training and so in addition to supporting St. Teresa Technical School, we contribute to other projects in several communities. For addition information about the work we are doing in East Africa please go to our PROJECTS page.