Blog Archives

Do you know anyone with the skills to become an ACEF social media volunteer?
ACEF already has a website plus Facebook (you know that), and we are looking for a volunteer to develop the charity’s digital strategy and to keep this current across these channels as well as Twitter, Instagram and Whatsapp.
Our digital approach helps us keep connected with our existing supporters and needs to attract a wider audience to increase our reach; raise ACEF’s profile; promote events; and help secure new and on-going funding streams.
Can you help?
This is a great opportunity for someone to build their portfolio of skills and work experience and as a volunteer you will get the mentoring and support of Trustees.
A full role specification is available on request to

Please help us make a significant difference to a child facing the daily challenges of finding food, clean water and a safe place to sleep for the night.

The Challenge is about helping to feed our vulnerable children in Kenya. We hope you will have fun doing it through challenges and projects reflecting the vibrancy and beat of Africa.

We hope the challenge represents what we want for our children; has freedom, opportunity and challenge. There is no set number of activities – all we are asking is for you to think outside the box, challenge your boldness and think beyond your boundaries, whilst raising a few pennies to support our amazing students who attend Brainhouse Academy.

The school, which Akamba Children’s Education Fund (ACEF) supports, is found in Mathare North – one of the world’s largest slums, just outside Nairobi in Kenya. Raising just £1.25 will feed a child for a whole week. It is that easy to help a child facing hardships, which we find difficult to imagine. As we are a volunteer led charity, we can keep our costs to an absolute minimum, so you know your money goes to a child and really makes a difference.

You can download our feed-a-child-challenge-pack.

The sun is out – the sky is blue – Its our Charity Bike Ride!!
Today we will be welcoming 60 riders to the Old Yardleians Rugby Club, Tilehouse Ln, Shirley, Solihull B90 1PW.
Join us around 10.00 for breifing before the fun begins! Family rides will depart around 10.30.

The feedback from folks who undertake the ride is always great, loving the fact that this is an on-road ride but down quiet country lanes and fully signposted with marshalls along the way.

There are three routes, 12miles, 28 and 52 miles – so something for everyone.

This year we are keen for you to promote the ride in your workplace.  Could you get a small team together to ride for the team-building and challenge? If you think you could then click her for the flyer which you can download and forward onto others. BikeRideFlyerBusiness

On-line booking can be done here – – and if you would like more information email



Exciting news has emerged from Brainhouse as the examination results have been released. There are some fantastic results – 29 students have achieved university entrance level in their final exams. An amazing achievement for the Brainhouse community, the teachers and the incredible students who have worked so hard to reach these results.

One student, Elizabeth Achieng Owiti has been given a place at University to study Pharmacy, an aspiration she has held for many years. Liz Formby said, “Many congratulations to Elizabeth, I have taken great delight in watching her grow up to be a wonderful woman over the last 6 years. The sadness is that not all will have the finances or access to a scholarship to make the next academic step to meet their aspirations”.

If you can help us find a solution to this so that we can help these students break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their community do get in touch. But for now we salute the wonderful, amazing results of these students who without the amazing dedication of a very special Headteacher and his team would not have these chances in their lives.

Congratulations to Aggrey, the staff and all the students.


Most years we endeavour to organise a volunteer visit to Brainhouse Academy to undertake work on a variety of current and much needed projects. The next visit is going ahead in April 2017.

Volunteers are welcome to notify Liz Formby that they would like to join the visit which will look at such projects as Leadership and teacher training, exploiting basic IT provision and green toilets.

All volunteers have to fund their own flights and accommodation and support from employers is always welcomed where it fits with their international or CSR commitments.

Do get in touch !


Parkview Community School in Saltley have been incredibly motivated and generous and have raised in the order of £2000 to support the children at Brainhouse. What is also very exciting is the possibility that a group of teachers from the school might raise funds to themselves visit Kenya in April 2017 with the aim of helping develop the teachers in Africa. A wonderful partnership may well emerge!


We believe that young people are the most creative and inspirational doers – far better than us adults – they can think outside the box and explore new possibilities. Therefore, it is natural that we will turn to young minds for help.  In April 2016, Alison Halford visited Finstall First School in Bromsgrove to launch the £5 Challenge. The two Year 4 classes have banded together and created groups of 4 – 6 pupils. In each team these pupils will be using a £5 investment provided by the charity to buy the resources that they need to run an enterprising endeavour to raise additional funds.

Ideas included

  • Designing a competition such as “beat the goalie”, coconut shy or basketball challenge
  • Holding a music concert or dance show
  • Buying seeds of flowering plants and vegetables, planting and nurturing them and selling them
  • Sorting out old books and DVD and selling on a stall
  • Make and sell bookmarks and other craft trinkets
  • Bake cakes and sell them to teachers and parent

We look forward to their Enterprise Day on the 17th May to see the amazing products and services they will offer to develop their funds.


Donations from all our supporter have made a real difference to Brainhouse Academy.  Over the last few years the money has been well spent:

  • Every child and adult in the school has had a warm, nourishing meal three times in the school week
  • Every orphan who lives in the school, around 250 students, has been fed every day of the week
  • Every child can drink safe clean drinking water
  • All the text books required by the school have been purchased and will provide new access to learning for the students for years to come
  • All the science equipment required for the older students has been purchased, enabling the practical science exams to be taken
  • Medical support was provided to two key adults involved in supporting the students
  • A week’s senior leadership and strategy course was delivered, leading to the school leaders recognising the need to realise financial independence.

The ACEF team is also delighted to be able to report that less than 5% of our income is used to support our fundraising efforts in the UK.  We work hard to ensure that as near as possible every penny raised is used to support the education and development of the young people who attend Brainhouse Academy.


balloonsA unique turning point was achieved in October 2015 – to date all the investment of the volunteers time in Kenya had been spent in supporting the young people.   However a request came from Aggrey, the Head, that they would really appreciate some training for their Leadership team.   The request was to introduce management, leadership, communications and strategy development – all in four days!!

Never to be daunted by a project – Sarah Hole, Elizabeth Martindale, Tric and Peter Latimer and Liz Formby started to plan how to deliver this request. A challenge – as even telling the team to get into breakout groups would mean nothing to our teachers and asking them to blow up a balloon was a unique challenge.

dreams poster from training for webOn arrival at Brainhouse, you could feel the excitement and slight apprehension from the 16 teachers we were going to participate. The first icebreaker of keeping multiple balloons in the air set the scene for the week – where they learnt that you can have fun whilst learning.  An amazing breakthrough for all the staff. The four days of training were extraordinary, in the experiences we all had and the relationships that were developed. However, the most significant was the strategic discussion that was enabled and the vision that was shared and importantly the young teachers discussing how they want to work towards self-reliance so that they do not lean so heavily on ACEF.

The leadership team sent a thank you to ACEF when we all got home with the following sentiment:

“The management training your team gave our teachers has positively changed the way things are now being done. It was fantastic!” Aggrey, Headteacher 


Guiding has been an essential element of the lives of many our supporters and volunteer, so it is not surprising that Guiding and Scouting has been bought into daily life at Brainhouse Academy – starting with the amazing and inspirational visit to Baden-Powell’s home in Nyeri in 2012, led by Liz Stringer and Holly Parrot, Guiders from the West Midlands and supported by Nyeri Guides and Irene Mwangi. The relationship established continue to grow and in 2014, the International Adviser for West Midlands Guides, Sarah Hole contacted ACEF to see if there was a way we could develop a project where we bought together Guides from Nyeri, Brainhouse and West Midlands to develop a community project.   A germ was planted and together we planned for a team of Senior Section leaders to travel out to Kenya, to collect a team of girls from Brainhouse and to head to Nyeri to start to build a campsite for future guide trips wishing to pay homage to the Baden-Powell’s.   A unique and wonderful experience for all involved and certainly a life changer for the English girls who gave both their time and emotions to this incredible trip and the outcomes will enable a whole new generation to experience the thrills of camping. In October 2016, Sarah and Liz had huge privilege of visiting the campsite and meeting with Effie, an 80 year old trainer who was still travelling Kenya bringing Guiding to all and in meeting the young girls involved. You could see from the sparkle in the eyes of the girls that guiding had ignited a new passion to help others and will make a difference to the lives of these young people. We are delighted that ACEF was the common denominator of bringing all these girls together and linking hands across the world.

In 2016 we have a new an exciting opportunity for the involvement of Rainbows, Brownies and Guides across the country. We are soon to be creating activity packs and badges to help girls to understand more about the lives of our children in Brainhouse and what they might do to support them. If you are part of the guiding community please get in touch to help us develop these activity packs and get the word out to encourage the take up of them with groups across the country.