mahtabe lovingly presents…


UPDATE: $76,388 out of $100k raised as of 10/21. Thanks! Let’s keep it going…

From a handful of students in Teacher Grace’s home in the late ‘90s, to fifty in a 10x10’ windowless shanty by 2012, to more than 225 students (and counting) in a proper two-story structure in 2019…

To the successful launch of a daily meals program that serves 70,000+ meals/year, an urban farm teeming with green vegetables used for serving lunch, as well as an internet-connected PC lab with 25 workstations — the growth of the Malezi Centre & School located in the Kitui Ndogo slum of Nairobi, Kenya has been as remarkable, as it is hard to believe.

Still, at the end of the day, it is the simple audacity of offering the opportunity of education to the poorest among us, as well as the numerous lives that have been positively impacted by the center’s service that are its highest achievements.

How is poverty solved on the grassroots level? By experiments steeped in care, love, and values — experiments like the Malezi Centre & School.

The time has come to upgrade Malezi — again.

Malezi generally follows a needs-based development philosophy. That is, changes are made only when there is genuine need to do so.

  • In 2014, we purchased land and built a sizable two-story structure (Malezi 2.0) with enough classrooms to house most grades of the Kenyan Primary School system. We did so because the previous space (Malezi 1.0) had fifty kids, of various age and grade levels, packed into a single, 10x10’ windowless room.

  • In late 2017, we constructed an annex to the new building because more than 200 students had enrolled and there was not enough space to comfortably seat them all. This move, importantly, also enabled Malezi to offer each Primary School grade, up to Standard 8.

  • And now, just two short years later, the time has come to upgrade the center once again. While lack of space is still a factor due to additional students who wish to enroll but can’t and partitioned classrooms creating overcrowding and compromised learning environments, there is a subtler need driving the change as well.

Before we go any further, you are invited to take a walking tour of Malezi by watching the video below. In it, you will meet Malezi’s dynamic founder, Teacher Grace Kavoi, as well the Programs Coordinator, Teacher Andrew Matheka. They’ll show you around the classrooms, the shamba (garden), and the overall environment the center operates in. Enjoy!


Malezi is… here to stay.

Since the beginning, the mission of the Malezi Centre & School has been to offer low-cost and, in many cases, free education to vulnerable children who otherwise would have no option for going to school. Hardly any attention has been paid to the long-term viability of the center because the sheer volume of challenges it has faced (paying teachers, hunger issues, insufficient school supplies, etc,.) has made it difficult to ever see past any given month.

Those days are over. Due to Malezi’s years of dedicated service and transformational impact, its roots have become deeply and firmly rooted in the community it lovingly serves. Owing, primarily, to the humbling sacrifice of its teachers and staff (who earn no more than $50/month) and countless stories of lives changed for the better amidst daunting circumstances, the center’s reputation borders on sacrosanct. Inspired by Malezi’s powerful service values, its network of volunteers and supporters has grown to the point where it can comfortably rely on outside support when needed.

Equally important — the dynamics of the Kitui Ndogo slum, where the center is situated, have changed dramatically for the better as Kenya, as a whole, has become a beacon of development on the African continent. Originally, Kitui residents were considered illegal squatters by the government, faced unannounced residential demolitions, and received no city services. Now, as the community officially integrates with Nairobi city, land title deeds are being distributed and basic services, such as solid waste collection collection, are offered.

You could say, Malezi is transitioning from an underground operation that was urgently responding to a dire need, to a full-fledged school and center for community betterment that is here to stay.

Let’s raise a new building.


These combined factors create the distinct opportunity to propel Malezi into its next and, arguably, most ambitious stage of development, i.e., to demolish the existing, “DIY” iron sheet structures (typical of slum environments) and replace them with a towering, three-story brick & mortar building with enough classrooms and space to position the center for the full realization of its mission.

More than solving the overcrowding issues (each grade will have its own dedicated space, including space for administration and the computer lab), or enabling the school to accept additional students, or decreasing the need for costly repairs and maintenance, this formidable structure will be the clearest visible representation yet of the distinct value the center provides: namely, facilitating personal and communal transformation that fundamentally disrupts the cycle of poverty.

Malezi 3.0 = a powerful solution to poverty + a global template for community-based, people-powered, and service-driven development.

The time has come to take Malezi to the next level. Please join us on this special journey.

budget & launch plan


The total cost to rebuild the Malezi Centre & School as a three-story brick & mortar structure is $97,000 (let’s call it an even $100k). To view a comprehensive, line-item budget as a Google Doc click here.

Though ambitious, the construction process will be relatively straight forward and, in essence, no different than any of our previous builds. A team of 12 local contractors and workers will be hired, most whom have children enrolled in the school and plentiful experience building permanent structures in locations such as Kitui Ndogo.

It always seems impossible until it’s done.
— N. Mandela

So as not to disrupt the school schedule, construction will be split into two phases. Phase 1 will begin November 15, 2019 and end 5th January in 2020. During this time, the first two levels of the building will be constructed, or all ten of the classrooms (Pre-Primary - Standard 8).

Phase 2 will begin April 1, 2020, last the month, and is when the third floor and final five rooms will be constructed.

Shortly thereafter, a large inauguration ceremony (you’re invited!) will be held with students, teachers, community members and leaders, volunteers and friends of Malezi, as well as members of the government administration to bless the new center and chapter of its growth.

How you can support Malezi 3.0

1) Donate. One of the best ways to support this project is by making a financial contribution*, which you can do by clicking the Donate button. Any amount is welcome, though we recommend a minimum donation of $100.


2) Facilitate a fundraiser. Invite your colleagues, friends, and family to give by making a personal presentation at home or in the office. If you are interested, email sayhi[at]mahtabe[dot]org or drop a note here and we can tailor presentation materials (or use this landing page as you see fit).

3) Share online. Use your social media platform(s) to let your followers know you care about this project and want to see it realized.

4) Make a referral. Do you know an organization or individual who likes to support projects like this? Consider making an introduction by using the email sayhi[at]mahtabe[dot]org.

5) Offer silent well wishes. Unable to do any of the above? You can always “hold the high watch” and offer your positive thoughts and energy.

* All donations are tax-exempt to the extent permitted by law. If you are interested in mailing a check or performing a bank wire transfer, kindly email sayhi[at]mahtabe[dot]org or drop a note here for instructions.

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