Alumni associations are instrumental in any educational institution. They boost the institutions, including mobilising former students to give back to their alma mater. This can be in the form of donations, mentorship or providing scholarships for needy students joining their former schools.
At Jamhuri High School, one of the oldest schools in the country with a broad alumni network, the former students recently held a homecoming ceremony during which they pledged to bridge the funding gap left by the government and parents.
In addition, the old boys resolved to ensure they support teachers to advance their studies.
The Duke Jamu Alumni Association Chairman Danstone Okwany said the group aims to provide a safe atmosphere for learning so that the current pupils can ably compete with colleagues at the national level.
Okwany stated that they resorted to mobilising funds to assist the school meet some of the financial challenges.
He added that homecoming initiatives reflect the bigger response to the government’s call to help schools as they struggle to handle the challenges of financial inadequacies alone due to limited resources.
The ‘Duke of Gloucester School’ alumni started with two laboratories and aims to finish the dormitory.
The structure has cost Sh250 million and is estimated to pump in Sh100 million more. In addition, they have started equipping classrooms with portable projectors.
The alumni say they have a robust plan to see the former academic powerhouse return to its former standards. Apart from the infrastructure, and human resource development, the team is out to develop special activities for the school which will provide support to learners.
Jointly with partners, the school’s former learners “returned home” to make a significant difference by setting up a modern computer laboratory and mentoring the current students that will make a difference in their lives.
Ramesh Vala, an old boy who now works as a lawyer in Britain, injected in Sh3 million, noting it was at the school where the majority of them found their footing.
According to Vala, besides coming together, it has given others the opportunity of working under their belts, a chance to hopefully learn to forge some meaningful connections.
The chair of the Board of Management, Dr Olivia Opere, said one of the most effective ways to make an impact in the lives of students is to donate to the needy. “Education is only possible through financial assistance, and every little bit counts,” she said.
The school’s principal Fred Awuor said the alumni contribution to the school has been felt in the past three years, noting that for the past two years, Jamhuri is crawling back in sports, academics and even discipline.
Jamhuri High School was founded in 1904 on Haile Selassie Avenue, formerly White House Road, as Railway Educational Centre and later a nursery school.
In 1928, it expanded to Government Indian Elementary and relocated to Ngara. In 1953, it was renamed the Duke of Gloucester School in honour of the Duke who spearheaded education in the country and a boarding dormitory was introduced 10 years later.
In 1968, the school was renamed by Dr Gikonyo Kiano, the Education minister, to Jamhuri (Republic) with a student population of 800 from various ethnicities under Mr Wood as principal.
Some of Jamhuri’s eminent past alumni include distinguished legislators, and the former chief justices the late Majid Cockar and the late Chunilal Bhangwandas Madan.
Others who were schooled at Jamu include Amar Nath Maini, Bahadurali Suleman Virjee, Dwaraka Nath, Chunilal Bhagwandass and Kassim Ali.
Those who still remember the school motto Effort Unending clad in grey trousers, white shirts with green with yellow stripe ties and green sweaters also include Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua, and former Tusker FC player Daniel Agina.
Others are former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s spokesman Salim Lone, prominent lawyer and politician Amar Maini, Urjit Patel, former Governor of Bank of India and Dr Ahmed Kalebi, a consultant Pathologist.