Denise and Chris Carnihan from Pukerua Bay and Plimmerton have built a school in Kangemi, Kenya,  ... the Kia Ora Children's Learning Centre. It arose from an impulse ...

Denise will also be the guest speaker at PRA AGM on Monday 27 May 2013. Come and hear her remarkable story.

They were on holiday and were not looking to take on a project that would become life changing. In Denise’s words:

While in Kenya in 2011, a simple comment from Denise to Chris, "wouldn't it be cool if we could build a little school for 50 kids in a large slum, and get (Kenyan teacher friend) Ayub to run it as his own school?" That was all it took to start the ball rolling.

The Carnihans asked friend Mandy who was staying with them for a month if she was interested in helping to get the school established, she was keen to come on board.

“Over the next two months we rented land, financed and project-managed construction, jumped through hoops for the Kenyan Government to become an officially recognised learning institution. We set up classrooms with desks, blackboards, teaching resources. We even designed and made our own unique school uniforms,” she recalls.

On 5 September 2011, the doors to Kia Ora Children’s Learning Centre in Kangemi, Kenya officially opened ... not with the planned 50 kids however, but with 117 kids crammed into the small three classroom building ready for learning. Ayub immediately employed another teacher to assist him ... that was just the start!”
 Returning to NZ, the trio set-to fundraising furiously to raise enough money to send back to Kenya to have another three classrooms built.  That building was completed in time for the start of the new year 2012.

Denise returned to Kenya last year 2012, just six months after the centre’s opening, to find more than 300 children, nine staff, six classrooms ... and a Masai warrior security guard. 

A chance meeting in a cafe in Kenya between Denise and an Indian man, Al-Noor, resulted in the building of another two classrooms and a library - all kindly donated by this generous man. 

Chris and Denise are returning to Kenya for three months in June to continue with the project. They will build more toilets, maintain the existing buildings and grounds, install skylights into the classrooms, install solar power, and resource the newly built library.

More details about this project on:


Last Updated: 11/06/2013 3:16am