“We all succeed when our students thrive!” – Teacher Theresiah Mukui Muoka

Thirty-nine-year-old Theresiah Mukui Muoka is a Fresh Life Operator and teacher by profession. She has been teaching primary school for the last nine years. Three years ago, she founded St. Theresiah Academy at the heart of Mukuru Kwa Reuben to make education accessible to children in her community. She recently shared her incredible journey with us.

Tell us about the early beginnings of St. Theresiah Academy.

Theresiah Muoki
Theresiah Muoki has been running St. Theresiah Academy in Mukuru kwa Reuben for three years.

I founded St. Theresiah in 2013 in honor of Theresiah, the saint remembered for her great work helping those in need. I wanted to follow her example by doing what I love most: providing children with the knowledge and resources to achieve their dreams. I began with three students from the neigborhood who were not in school because they couldn’t pay school fees. My student population has since grown to a total of 250 students — 130 boys and 120 girls — taught by eight teachers!

What has inspired this exponential growth?

We provide quality education and foster discipline among students. We describe our school as a “center for excellence,” which instills in our teachers and students a commitment to give their best while teaching and learning.

Teacher Vincent Muendo helping young students wash their hands
Teacher Vincent Muendo helping young students wash their hands

What motivated you to join the Fresh Life Network?

The lack of toilets at our school: since 2013, our students have been using neighboring Fresh Life Toilets. While they are clean and hygienic, we had two challenges; the distance to the toilets made it difficult for our youngest students to get there on time – there were frequent accidents before students could make it to the Fresh Life Toilets. In addition, it was time consuming for our teachers to always accompany students to the facility.

Have you seen a difference since installing two Fresh Life Toilets in your school’s compound five months ago?

Our students and teachers are happy! They have access to toilets within the school compound, and we have fewer cases of hygiene-related illnesses such as diarrhea among our students. And parents are pleased that their children remain safely within the school compound throughout the day.

And now the fee we had paid to access the nearby Fresh Life Toilets can be channeled to other projects in the school.

(Right) Field Officer Nashon Omusula during a recent visit at the school with Emma Morse
Field Officer Nashon Omusula (center) during a recent visit to the school with Sanergy Fellow Emma Morse

Have your teachers and students benefited from being part of Fresh Life’s WASH program so far?

Being part of the WASH program has been awesome! Our school has had an opportunity to interact with other students and teachers from as far as Mathare, and we have learnt innovative ways to ensure students internalize various hygiene practices. We have also learnt the importance of proper hygiene; our students are inspired to use a clean toilet at home and are challenging their parents to practice good hygiene at all times.

What does the future hold for St Theresiah Academy?

Our future is very promising! Next year, some of our students join Class 6, and we are excited for this next phase of our school. We plan to expand our school’s classroom facilities to accommodate our growing student population.

Ultimately, I see St Theresiah Academy as a renowned center for excellence in Mukuru!

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