He is one of the founders of the Foundation, and as the general manager onsite, Charles Dyer is invaluable for the implementation of the project. His engagement and passion also make him a great inspiration both to children and adults in Ex-Lewa.
Charles Dyer runs a farm with 400 employees close to Ex-Lewa, but he is also the founding father of Gundua Secondary School and the future commitments to the benefit of the inhabitants in the area. Except for a couple of years in boarding school in the UK and one year each in the U.S. and Australia, he has lived all his life in Kenya. The idea to start a school was born as almost no children in this area had any possibilities of continuing their education after primary school – and also because Charles believes in education as a way to improve and develop society. As project manager and a unifying force between both the local community and the local authorities, he is crucial for the success of the Gundua Foundation.
“It’s immensely gratifying to be able to make a difference. The work can be tough, but it is worth the effort. Our efforts help improve the situation for the inhabitants of Ex-Lewa for the better. I try to inspire the children and get them to believe in themselves, and also to encourage them to be disciplined and do their schoolwork.”
Kenyan education is basically about getting the children to memorise a lot of information, without the possibility to work individually or to get a real understanding of the teachings. Charles’ own school time was strained due to reading and writing difficulties.
“We don’t want the students just to copy what the teacher is writing on the board and repeat it. If we are successful in introducing a different type of schooling, Gundua will differentiate itself from other schools. I am convinced that our school will be the best in the area within three to four years. I hope our students will achieve grades high enough to allow for university entrance. The greatest challenge, however, is to find great teachers. It’s also important to keep the teachers inspired and to maintain a high educational standard.
Even though the tuition fees are low, they are still relatively high for the people living here. Charles thinks it will be easier to get parents to support their children’s education over time. The new vocational school will give students who don’t qualify for university a chance to learn a profession which can help them constructively contribute to the development and future of the region
Charles’ engagement, know-how, care and love have had great effects. The students are very pleased with the school and the endeavours for Ex-Lewa. A few weeks ago, an anonymous questionnaire was conducted, and 99.99 per cent of students said they would recommend the school to a friend.