Nairobi’s Still I Rise International School Wins Special Mention

Still I Rise International School of Nairobi won a special mention at the International School Awards 2021. The competition received 261 entries from 48 countries and Still I Rise was one of 13 category winners.

In September 2021, the non-profit organization applied for the International School Award in the categories Community wellbeing and Digital technology in learning initiative. Contributing to the bid was the June 2020 Jenga Pamoja Schedule – a month of cultural awareness events to showcase and celebrate student cultures – as well as April 2020 Online Learning Program, when Still I Rise distributed 140 tablets, SIM cards and 60 GB of data to students in just 10 days, so they were ready to continue learning online during another nationwide lockdown.

“We are excited to share a platform with prominent and famous schools in Kenya and around the world,” says Rachel Wanjiru, principal of Still I Rise International School in Nairobi. “The special mention we received celebrates the uniqueness, creativity and impact of these initiatives. Part of the award will be featured in the International School Leader Magazine 2022! This was made possible by the hard work of our amazing team.”


Still I Rise International School of Nairobi was opened by Still I Rise in January 2021: it is the first international school on the African continent for refugee children and vulnerable Kenyan citizens. It provides students with a 7-year high-level IB (international baccalaureate) degree free of charge, which can open the doors to the best universities in the world.

There are currently 134 students enrolled: 49% are Kenyan nationals and 51% are refugees. Eight nationalities are present: 14% of students are from the Democratic Republic of Congo, 10% from Somalia, 8% from South Sudan, 7% from Burundi, 6% from Ethiopia, 4% from Uganda and 3% from Rwanda.

The school is located on the border of the Mathare slum, a valley of a few square kilometers in which about 600,000 people live. Each space has been studied in detail to welcome classes with love, care and serenity. From the library to the canteen, from the sports field to the classrooms, from the office to the common room, nothing is left to chance.

Subjects range from literature and society to mathematics, science, physical and health education, foreign languages, art and design. The peculiarities of the local culture are not forgotten: on the contrary, they are highlighted in the teaching programs. To this end, 82% of teachers and school staff are Kenyans. Teachers undergo specific and continuous training in order to adapt current training modules to the high standards of IB teaching.