In 1999 Fr. Francis Limo Riwa rescued 10 orphan boys from the streets and took them to his parish. They slept in the church and went to class under the adjacent mango tree for the first month until a temporary shelter could be built with scrap pieces of metal sheeting. One year later this simple shelter was replaced by a wooden structure and new boys arrived.
The Italian community, Amici dei San Francesco (Friends of St. Francis) became involved in 2001. With their support, stone block dormitories, a dining hall, classrooms, kitchen, library and bathroom facilities were added. Today it is home and school to more than 450 boys between the ages of 6-19.
St. Francis operates on the principle of “Simple Living, High Thinking”, supported by the four pillars of prayer, study, work and play. This has proven successful; the students at St. Francis achieve the highest scores in the Tigania district on the Kenyan national exams. Street urchins have become scholars. As the head teacher, Mr. Gitahi, notes “while other schools receive well nurtured pupils, St. Francis receives the neglected social misfits from the streets.” St. Francis molds them into students and leaders.