Daylight School 2020 Annual Report

Socially Distanced, Together in Purpose

“Kenya and Daylight School feel so much closer now.”

The quote above is from a long time Daylight School enthusiast in the USA. The comment captures how the shared experience of a pandemic in 2020 made for closer ties between the Daylight School community and its supporters in the USA. Hardship and worry have been our common bond. But so is a closer relationship forged by the ways we have been required, in our respective homelands, to care for loved ones and to keep children engaged while away from school. Throughout 2020 Daylight students, staff and leaders in Kenya have drawn upon their tireless spirit to continue Daylight’s mission. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, the effort to provide high quality education, a safe and engaging
campus, nutritious meals, and a breadth of experiences continued. The goal of empowering students to imagine and create a more peaceful and prosperous future for the people of West Pokot was not lost to the pandemic. Our Daylight Family – in Kenya and in the USA continued its work.

If you would like to view Daylight Center & School’s 2020 Annual Report, please click HERE to view or download the PDF.

We are happy to report that we no students or staff have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and while vaccines are in short supply in Kenya we hope that eventually our students and staff will have the opportunity to get vaccinated.

Meanwhile, life at school continues on as usual. Students are still studying and playing. Often attending class outdoors, as our younger students are in the picture below.

Thanks to your support and donations, Daylight is able to provide essential items such as mats for the younger students for resting, lots of beans to feed hungry bellies and firewood for cooking.

Thanks to all our supporters for making the dream of an education a reality for so many amazing students and future leaders! Please continue to keep the students and staff in your thoughts and prayers. 



On Saturday, May 8th, we celebrated the 13-year anniversary of the first day students attended class at Daylight School! What was once just open land has become a bustling hive of activity, laughter, learning, hard work and love.

We held our U.S. Board Summit that day and celebrated all that has been accomplished by Daylight leaders, staff, donors, board members, trip participants and communities, both here and in Kenya. We talked about how we here in the US can continue to support the staff and students at Daylight, what the hopes and dreams are of those running the school and how we can help make those dreams come true. And we celebrated a new beginning for Daylight’s US Director, Nathan Roberts.

Our US Board meeting 13 years to the day of Daylight’s very first class!


So many children have had the opportunity to attend Daylight School and many of our first students are on the way college. We have just begun to see the outcome of the impact Daylight has on their future! They will go on to be doctors and lawyers and pilots and teachers, and none of this would have been possible without the vision, passion and dedication of Nathan. If you don’t know the story of how Daylight Center and School came to be, we encourage you to read the book Poor Millionaires or watch this TED Talk with Daylight Founders Michael Kimpur and Nathan.

We know that you join us in gratitude for the blessings that Nathan has given to all of us and all of our friends at Daylight School these many years. Here is a note from Nathan as he departs to new opportunities and adventures:

Today was my last meeting as the US Director of Daylight School in Kenya. 

It felt right that 13 years ago today, we had our first class of Kindergarteners meet in a church classroom in rural Kenya. They were the first kids in their families to ever go to school. 

We were all starting something new.

We had a lot of help from so many friends, family, students and parents in Kenya and America.

We made mistakes, learned, failed, tried again, and finally we built a school on our own property. 

We have over 300 kids and 40 staff in Kenya and so many amazing friends and supporters cheering them on. We wrote a book and did a TED talk! We built friendships that will last forever. 


Today I am so confident as I pass the torch to a passionate and very capable board of directors. I am so confident in the team we have to lead us into the future. 

I also want to say a special thank you to my Mom and Dad and my wife Emilie.

All these years I worked 10+ hours a week, and spent most of my vacation time in Kenya. I was able to volunteer all my time. And I believe none of this would have been possible if my parents and Emilie had not believed in this dream and supported it. 

Thank you to everyone who ever gave, stayed up late talking over some issue with me. We did this together.


Serving with Love

Dear Friends,

Over our 12+ years, Daylight has had the most amazing, caring and giving board members. Some serve for a few years, and others have been on the board since Daylight School started. We are so grateful for all of them and know that Daylight would not be the wonderful school it is without their time, dedication and love of our students. Here we highlight a few more of our current board members.

We would also like to thank our past board members for all their hard work and ongoing support:

Curt Squires, Gary May, Tom Gillaspy, Gina Schulz, Lauren Vetsch, Tyler LeClear Vachta, Laurie Vandendriessche, Dr. Lenny Snellman, Matt Horn, Cecka Parks, Steve Spark, Jessi LeClear Vachta, Brianna Menning, Andrew Ulasich, Joyce Schwartz, Ben Krupnick, William Obaga, David Maus, Johnson Yopo, Angelina Kuo, Ben Domongole, Fridah Kamoi, James Chilakol, John Bosco, Karen Cheptoo, Sharon Cheru and all the others that have provided help and support over the years.

Rachel Arneson, Board Member

Rachel Arneson is a fifth-generation crop farmer in Minnesota. She holds a Master’s degree in Anthropology, and wrote her thesis about the Pokot people of northwestern Kenya. Rachel served on the first established U.S. Board for Daylight in 2010, and eventually as Daylight’s first U.S. Director of Operations prior to returning to her family’s farm. Her love for Daylight has never faded, and she is happy to be serving Daylight on the board once again.

Why I am involved with Daylight School:

Before Daylight, I had no idea that children in some parts of the world had to pay to attend public school. Growing up, I had the privilege of receiving an education, experiencing other cultures, being exposed to other ideas. I understood that the cycle of warfare in rural Kenya could be stifled if a new generation of leaders from those communities had a chance for their world to be broadened by education. Daylight was co-founded by a boy from rural Kenya, who received an education and who wanted to give that same opportunity to more children. It was an easy decision to support and serve Daylight from the very beginning..

Rachel visiting Daylight School in its early years (note the uniforms have changed to green now)

Travis Collins, Board Member

Travis lives in Minneapolis, MN where he has worked in Special Education for 13 years. He studied English Literature and Theology in Dublin, Ireland. He has a passion for teaching and giving back to those who are so often left behind in our institutions. As a young man, he spent a summer living in Tanzania working alongside doctors and nurses, helping them build a new clinic in a remote area of the country. He was introduced to Daylight through the former US Director Nathan Roberts. 

Why I am involved with Daylight School:

My experiences in East Africa and my passion for education drew me to being apart of Daylight. My work with students in Minneapolis also has taught me to continually self-reflect on my own racial biases and to work for racial equity. My hope is that I can continue this work at Daylight by focusing on empowering our Kenyan leaders. 

Travis and his mother on one of his visits to Daylight School

Rebecca Erickson, Board Member

Rebecca Erickson has been a member of the Daylight US Board since 2016. She has worked at various fun and creative jobs, with her last one being in conference planning. Since retiring, she has taken on many volunteer opportunities, one of the most meaningful being in group and in-home respite for people with dementia. As a member of First Presbyterian Church in Stillwater, Minnesota, she occasionally plays piano for worship, plays the bass bells in the handbell ensemble, and sometimes sings in the vocal choir. She has helped plan many retreats for the women’s group. She lives in Stillwater, Minnesota.

Why I am involved with Daylight School:

This school is special. It’s a boarding school for about half of the students who attend Daylight. The boarders have been orphaned due to tribal violence, but it is so much more than a boarding school. The children are educated and fed and have a safe place to sleep, but they also experience the love of family from the incredible teachers and staff. The teachers aren’t just teaching academics. They are giving the children the family they’ve lost. The school’s amazing test results are a testament to the wonderful experience the children have. It’s an amazing combination. The teachers and all of the financial supporters of

Daylight School is helping the students achieve their dreams of being engineers, teachers, doctors, musicians and shopkeepers. I’m proud of the work I’ve done while being on the Daylight US Board.

Rebecca teaching music to some of our Daylight students.

Thanks to all our supporters for making the dream of an education a reality for so many amazing students and future leaders! Please continue to keep the students and staff in your thoughts and prayers. 


Water Filtration Project

Recently our 3rd graders participated in a water filtration project at Daylight School. Safe drinking water is so important for all of us, but many people in Kenya don’t have access to it, which can cause people, especially children, to get very sick and can even cause death. It is a focus of Daylight School to make sure that the students understand how important water purification is and even participate in the process.

Below Teacher Mr. John shows the students a borehole, which every student had to design.

The students went on a hike to go out and identify sources of water in their surroundings.

Students walk to the nearby river.

Then visit the dam.

The 3rd graders also took their National Exams, and did their practical examination under the theme “Safe Water for Good Health”, it entailed identifying different sources of water, water storage and how to make it safe for consumption.

Water is ready for boiling.

Students, below, practicing water filtration.

Below, one of our amazing 3rd grade students with his 3D modeling of a borehole.

Thank you for your continued support of the education and safety of students and staff at Daylight School. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.


Good Luck and Farewell 8th Graders!

On Monday, March 22nd, our 8th grade students will be taking their National Exams. These yearly exams, taken by all 8th grade students, were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The exams are usually given in the fall.

Daylight School’s 8th Grade Class – We are so proud of all our students!

The staff held a party to say farewell and wish them luck on their exams and we hope that you will keep them in your thoughts as well.

8th Graders gather for a Farewell Party. Many will move on to high school soon!

The National Exams in Kenya are very important. They are educational exams that test core competencies in Math, Science, Reading, and English.

Students’ test scores qualify them for high school scholarships and determine what caliber of high school they will attend!

Social Distancing study time – our 8th graders spend months preparing for the exam.

It also determines Daylight School’s district ranking. We are currently the only top performing school in West Pokot County that accepts so many students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Our students and staff are very proud of this!

Our school manager Reuben and our school secretary Mercy with two of our amazing 8th grade students!