Rafiki means ‘friend’ in Swahili.

The children we work with are more often than not heavily burdened from a very early age. As the adult population has been devastated by Aids many of the children have taken on the role of parent, heading up families, trying to feed and cloth other siblings as well as trying to attend school.

The Footsteps Rafiki Programmes are aimed at broadening the experience of the children in the communities we work with; bringing some fun and play into their lives: introducing them to sports and arts and creating the opportunity to meet new people and gain some understanding of the world outside their village.

All our volunteers must raise the money to cover the costs of their trip which includes all travel, accommodation, food and equipment - we also ask each volunteer to raise an extra donation towards a chosen project at the schools we visit. If you want any details about the Rafiki programme please contact Suzanne@footstepsuk.org.

Rafiki 2017 book

The book of photographs from our trip is now ready to buy and preparing it has brought back so many happy memories from our week in Kenya.  Below are the links which will allow you to review and order the book for yourselves along with the prices for the different formats and sizes.

We hope that the pictures will bring you as much pleasure as they did us.

Standard Landscape, 10×8 in, 25×20 cm

Soft Cover £26

Hard Cover with Dust Jacket £32

Hard Cover Image Wrap £34


Large Landscape, 13×11 in, 33×28 cm

Hard Cover with Dust Jacket £50

Hard Cover with Image Wrap £53


Trip of a lifetime - giving something back

For the last 12 years we have run an immensely popular, voluntary 'Rafiki' programme aimed at broadening the experience of the children in Kenya & the volunteers themselves: a team of volunteers from the UK run a 'summer camp', introducing sports, arts, life skills & some understanding of the world outside their village.

The trip allows the children to engage with activities that wouldn't normally be available & it also reinforces the relationship between Footsteps & the communities we work with.

Rafiki 2017 Trip:

Rafiki 2017 took place in the last week of July and our programme this year saw us return to two schools we haven't visited for a while: Rae Primary and Magunga Primary.

Our first day in Kisumu saw us arrive laden with equipment for the week and we spent half a day carefully separating the equipment between the schools and by activity, before heading off to Rashid's home (our local project manager) to see and learn something about the culture and life of our African hosts.

We had a full programme of activities during the week which as usual included sports, music, painting classrooms, arts, crafts, kids' games, tie dyeing t shirts, solar cooking and many more.

Then on the final Friday, we laid on a fantastic sports day at Rae and invited the children from all of the other schools we support to compete in football and netball as well as the odd 'egg & spoon' race. This was the highlight of the week for the Footsteps primary schools, whose teams compete fearlessly on behalf of their schools.

It is quite the community event with upwards of 150 participants & many supporters! Furthermore, the volunteers discovered an untapped talent for 'face-painting' that turned the whole school into a sea of colour.

Many thanks to the 31 volunteers who came with us; the additional £8000 we raised as part of the trip will go towards building an additional classroom at the new Agricultural college in Katito.  The enthusiasm and hard work will be remembered by the teachers and children at Rae and Magunga for a long time.

Rafiki 2015 - The Book

Our Rafiki 2015 trip may seem like a long time ago now but this beautiful book containing 70 pages of stunning, poignant and amusing photos from the trip will make it seem like it was only yesterday.

The book is available in soft cover for just over £25 and in hard cover for just under £34.

Click here to buy it.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we have.

With all best wishes from Footsteps

Suzanne, Tony, Niall and Rupert


Rafiki 2015

Rafiki 2015 took place in the last week of July and our programme this year saw us return to two schools we haven’t visited for a while: Rae Mixed Primary and Wenwa Primary.

We had a full programme of activities during the week which as usual included sports, painting classrooms, gardening, arts, crafts, kids’ games and many more.  The final Friday and we laid on a fantastic sports day at Magunga Primary.

Many thanks to the 19 volunteers who came with us: Theo, James W, James S, Tom, Will, Ryan, Charlie, Ilan, Ines, Katinka, Rebecca, Molly, Lilly, Georgia, Toby, Lynwen, Patricia and Duncan

We are now recruiting for Rafiki 2016 which will take place in May.  For more information contact suzanne@footstepsuk.org


Footsteps Vocational Training Centre opens in Katito

July 2015

Not every child at school goes on to be doctor or a pilot, but everyone can earn a living and make a contribution to their community if they have the skills.  Recognising this, Footsteps’ strategy has led us to partner with the local technical training college in Katito, previously known as the Katito Village Polytechnic.  Investment of £28k raised over the last year allowed Footsteps to build a block of three classrooms and renovate three more, all 6 of which will allow the facility to provide a good environment for teaching skills such as: building technology, motor mechanics, dressmaking, electrical engineering, hair dressing and beauty therapy, food processing and computer technology.

In recognition of this partnership the facility was renamed to be known from now on as the Footsteps Vocational Training Centre and was officially opened on the 2nd of August by the Local MP, Aduma Owuor, Footsteps Trustees and volunteers on the 2015 Rafiki programme.  A new sign was unveiled, ribbons were cut and trees planted to mark the occasion.

Rafiki 2015 raises £10k for the Footsteps Vocational Training Centre

This year, 19 volunteers and 3 trustees headed to Kisumu in Kenya where we were based for 9 days of activities in three schools.  This year we revisited Wenwa Primary and Rae Mixed Primary for four days of sport, solar cooking, tie-dye t-shirts, gardening, games, art, craft, classroom painting, singing, dancing and much more.

The volunteers surpassed themselves in their fundraising abilities and, all in all, Rafiki 2015 made a profit of £10k which will go towards the purchase of equipment at the Vocational Training Centre almost certainly making it the best equipped facility in the region which is fantastic news for the Footsteps sponsored children and others in the area who will attend it.

Bethan Burditt produced our now customary music video.

Ground broken for boys’ dormitory by local MP and Rafiki volunteers

July 2015

We like to give our Rafiki volunteers some unique memories and things to think about when they return to their daily lives.  Partly we do this by showing them how the money raised by Footsteps that is targeted towards infrastructure development makes an immediate difference to the lives of people in the communities where we work.

So this year we were delighted to be accompanied by the MP for the Nyakach constituency, Aduma Owour, in a special ceremony to break the ground at the start of the project to build a boys dormitory at the Magunga Secondary School.

An investment of around £28k is what it takes to provide a dormitory fit for human habitation for around 100 teenage boys.  The benefits for those who stay in the facility include security and the ability to study longer hours giving them the best possible chance to make it to university.

Before this ground-breaking event took place, we showed the volunteers the existing facility, which left the boys, especially, feeling grateful that they had the fortune to be educated in Europe.

Pub quiz raises £22,000!

On Friday the 5th of June we raised nearly £12,000 in a fantastic country-themed pub quiz, thanks to which we can receive a further £10,000 in matched funding from the Laing Family Trust. The best table prize went to the Turkeys and the quiz was won by the Scots. Many thanks to everyone who came and gave money. Also many thanks to the Quiz Master and question setters (Andrea, Robert, Michael and Pip) who worked in difficult conditions in an increasingly exuberant crowd!

Fundraising for Rafiki 2015

"On 25th July Theo Barker, James Sandom & James Woodcock (3 friends from St Edward's School, Oxford) will fly to Kisumu County in West Kenya.

"We are delighted to be joining a group of 25 volunteers for the Rafiki 2015 Programme.  During the 10 day trip we will be visiting a few of the schools that Footsteps charity have built . We will aim to broaden the experience of the children and create some fun in their lives through organising sports & creative activities, culminating in a sports tournament with over 900 children travelling to an event that is highly competitive!

"The schools have nothing so we will take with us as many donations of sports equipment & games as we can. 

"A proportion of the funds we raise will go towards building additional classrooms & a Science Lab as many of the pupils complete A levels which are the same standard as ours!  A share of the money will also be allocated to a project of our choice.

"Thank you for taking the time to read this 

"Theo, James S & James W"


Rafiki 2014 - The Book

Over the last few months Toby Fuller has worked very hard pulling together all the photographs from our Rafiki 2014 trip and compiling a book of memories.
It is now available to buy and the link will take you directly to the website. It contains over 80 pages of wonderful pictures and can be purchased for between £24 for a soft cover option to just over £30 for a hard cover. Footsteps makes no profit on the books - you are only paying the production costs.
We hope that you love it as much as we do and really enjoy a lasting reminder of our wonderful trip to Kenya and the many new friends we all made.

Rafiki 2014

Rafiki 2014 took place as usual in the UK school summer holidays with 27 brilliant volunteers from ages 17 to 60.

Our 10 day programme of activities was different this year in that we completely avoided Nairobi because of hightened security concerns in the capital.  Nevertheless we had a fantastic time and we had no security issues at all to deal with.

We were supported by the local area MP who took time out of his busy schedule to meet us at the Medical Facility we have built and he explained how Footsteps is positively impacting the community.  We also received support from Magunga Secondary School who provided us with their school bus for 5 days allowing us to avoid the cramped conditions of the local buses used in previous years.

The only hitch we had was on the first day of the children's activities due to rain and the bus being unable to reach Kobeto primary school where our activities were planned to take place.  Monica came to the rescue and allowed us to come to Rae Primary School with 1 hour's notice which has the advantage of being right by the tarmac road.   The MP then came to our rescue for the remaining days, providing a 4x4 vehicle that could allow us on all the remaining days to reach the Kobeto without difficulty.

We had a full programme of activities during the week which as usual included sports, painting classrooms, gardening, arts, crafts, kids games and many more.

In the evenings, we made full use of the local restaurants in Kisumu and the Duke of Breeze Hotel all of which gave us excellent service.

See the link to the Rafiki 2014 video.

We are now recruiting for Rafiki 2015 which will be a similar programme for a cost of £1700.  Please contact suzanne@footstepsuk.org for more details.

Rokeby supports the Rafiki Sports day

Last year 2 teachers from Rokeby School in Kingston, Linda Huxley and Pat Murphy, joined us on our Rafiki trip 2013. Rokeby had changed their sports uniforms and donated all the out-dated sports kit to us and we were able to kit out most of the teams who attended our Rafiki 2013 Sports day. Linda could also see how much hard work went in to organising the day and went back with an idea to help us raise some funds to pay for the fantastic day to be repeated this year. So by Christmas 2013 Rokeby had raised £1000 towards the 2014 Rafiki Sports Day.

Thanks so much once again to rokeby School for helping us to make the day a success.

See photo gallery here

Rafiki 2014

At the end of July this year we will be travelling to Kenya as a group of 31 volunteers to run a programme of sport, games, art and general fun for the children of the schools we have built in and around Kisumu.  After a couple of days spent visiting some of the projects we will launch into a full programme of activities ending in a Sports Day which has become the major event in the calendar for the Footsteps Schools.

Over the last few months the volunteers have been raising money to go towards their trip and to fund a project which they will choose when we are in Kenya. Fund Raisers from Cake Sales, Dinners at Home, Cycling and Running events have all brought in a contribution to the programme of Fun. This culminated a couple of weeks ago in a frantic weekend of fundraising; a Movie themed Quiz night on the Friday and a Dinner at the Lighthouse in Wimbledon on the Sunday enabled us to raise a wonderful £20k. We have to say a big thank you to all the volunteers and to the wonderful people who supported us.

Keep an eye on the website for updates on the Rafiki team and our trip in July.

Back to work at Obingo

Obingo has already been transformed by the work of Footsteps since we first saw it in a terrible condition over five years ago.

Since then we have built four classrooms from scratch and finished off an incomplete pair of classrooms.

We took our Rafiki programme there last year despite the discomfort of reaching there by road, much to the appreciation both of the local community who were overwhelmed by such a show of support from our Rafiki volunteers, and of the Rafiki volunteers themselves who were delighted by the experience of working with such a remote and neglected community.

As a result of that experience our Rafiki volunteers decided that profits from Rafiki 2013 should be invested in a nursery block which we are about to start work on.

See photo gallery here

Rafiki 2013

The Rafiki volunteer trip to Kenya this year was a wonderful experience for the volunteers and the schools.  After taking a break last year to watch the London Olympics and avoid the Kenyan elections we were ready to head back to Kenya with 23 plucky volunteers. The programme started with a flight from Heathrow on Friday 26th of July and followed the usual format of 4 days at 2 schools followed by a sports day on Friday 2nd of August hosted by Magunga Primary School with teams from all eight of the primary schools on our building programme.

The two schools for this year’s programme were Obingo Primary and Rae Primary.  Obingo was a new school for us on Rafiki as previously it has been almost impossible to reach in a minibus because of the road but now there have been improvements which made it just about possible to get there. There were long journeys and bumpy roads but the sheer joy on the faces of the teachers and children at the school made us all feel very special and the journey well worth the effort. The programme included music, fabulous wall murals and painting, knitting, kids games and sports galore. In fact almost anything that could possibly be included in a programme of fun for the children and communities around the schools.

And on top of all that we raised almost £7000 this year which will go towards completing the classrooms at Obingo and we opened a new classroom in Rae paid for by the Girls of St. Mary’s, Ascot. Thanks to all our intrepid volunteers for making the programme a huge success. We always say you get out what you put in and this year you put in your all!

See photo gallery here

Rafiki 2012 - Supporters visit to Kenya

Between 14th and 18th March a team of Footsteps supporters visited our schools and the Medical Centre which Footsteps has built in the Nyakach district of Western Kenya. We were entertained on arrival at each of the schools by their pupils performing songs and dances and on at least one occasion certain of our party were encouraged to join in (see the video). We also organised an impromptu 'mini Rafiki' morning with the pupils at Rae where a range of activities, solar cooking, cricket, rugby, football, netball, etc were undertaken.

On a more serious note we also visited a number of schools which could potentially become our next target projects. As always the state of delapidation of the current classrooms, mostly all condemned but still in use, was in stark contrast with smiling faces of the children. It brought home to us all the difficulty faced by the Footsteps trustees when trying to choose which could be our next project.

Finally we met Nicolas and Tyson at the transformed Magunga Primary School, our very first project. These boys have been sponsored through both primary and secondary education and have almost completed their training as community workers. They have been seconded to the Magunga area for 3 months as part of the their training. It was a special moment to realise that this completes one of the virtuous circles Footsteps is aiming towards, whereby, through Footsteps activities, individuals can be helped through their education to start gainful employment and so further enhance their own communities.

See photo gallery here

Rafiki 2011

On 23 July this year we took 24 volunteers to Kenya to work with the children at Rae and Wenwa primary schools. The trip was a tremendous success thanks to an enthusiastic and hard working group who developed a strong link with the children at the school.  During the trip we visited our recently built Health Centre and saw the site where the new Children’s Ward will be built later this year.

We were also able to work with the children at Rae primary which will be the next school project we take on. During the Rafiki programme we set up a new garden at the school and one of the volunteers, Sean Smith, a design and technology teacher from Rokeby School, built a gazebo in the middle with the help of local children and their families.

On the final Friday we held a sports event that was attended by teams from all six of the schools we have so far helped. It was an exhausting and exhilarating event which ended with the biggest rain storm experienced in the area this year just as we were singing our goodbye serenade to the watching Africans.

Rupert has put together a book of some of the best photos from Rafiki 2011 which you can order here.

See photo gallery here

Rafiki 2010

On the 23rd July this year 26 of us travelled to Kisumu on the edge of Lake Victoria to spend 10 days visiting and working with children and teachers of Magunga and Kanyalwal Primary Schools. It was great fun and hard work as we gave the kids a chance to enjoy a week-long programme of sport, solar cooking, tie-dye t-shirts, art and classroom painting among other things. This is our fifth programme but it doesn’t seem to lose its freshness for us or our volunteers.  This year’s team raised enough money to build a much needed Nursery at Rae as well as giving the kids the time of their lives. Everyone threw themselves into the programme with relish  and went home with some life changing experiences and some lifelong friends.

A book with some of the best photos has been put together by our Trustee, Rupert.  To get your copy follow this link.

See photo gallery here

Rafiki 2009

This year our Rafiki Programme took 16 sixth form students to Kenya, plus several more mature volunteers, to meet and work amongst the communities that Footsteps supports.  As well as having a great time with the local children, the volunteers had already raised enough money to connect Kanyalwal Primary School to a clean supply of drinking water. The new fresh water supply will drastically improve the health of the children and allow the school to develop its own garden.

Our trustee, Rupert, has put together a book with a selection of the best pictures taken by this year's volunteers.  To get your copy follow this link.

Rafiki 2007

This year we were joined by an enthusistic group of young volunteers from St. Edwards and Headington schools in Oxford. We worked with Magunga and Rae schools splitting our time between them - exhausting but hugely rewarding! Read a report of our Rafiki 2007 Programme.

Rafiki 2006

In 2006, our friends at the children's sports coaching company, futurepro worked with us to send two trainers to the school, as the children were very keen to play football, rugby and other ball sports. Read the report of our Rafiki 2006 programme, Michael's diary and see the gallery of photos.