Rachel Sanders


Many of us see the imbalance of wealth and unequal access to opportunities in the world and feel how unfair it is – and that it just cannot be right. Some of us even give what we can to try and make a difference. A few incredible individuals are driven into full action by this feeling.

2002 Kenya Church visit

Having seen absolute poverty first-hand – Rachel was one of these incredible individuals. Fundamentally moved and changed forever by a trip with her church to Kenya in 2002, she was unable to not do anything, and Rachel being Rachel, this meant achieving something incredible that at times felt almost impossible.

Kenya’s overwhelming disparity

It is so easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless by the disparity between those that have and those that have not, but Rachel’s philosophy was – if everyone did a little, a few would not need to do a lot, and so, TABS International was born and the rest is well…history.

The loss of Rachel

We lost Rachel to Cancer at the end of April 2020, a loss that has been and still is such a heart-breaking blow to all those who knew and loved her, for you could not have known Rachel without loving her. She was an inspiration to all of us, full of love and care for those close to her and those whom she supported in her long career as a Social Worker and then as an Operations Manager for a homeless charity. Her non-judgemental approach to understanding others drew so many to her, and the hole she leaves is great, un-fillable.

Memory and legacy

It is not possible to do justice to the person Rachel was and how she touched people’s lives in these few words, but we at TABS are determined to keep her memory and legacy alive by continuing with her vision. Her daughter Ellen who has been a TABS trustee from the start has taken on her mother’s role of Chair – big shoes to fill – nevertheless, the TABS team are strong and faithful, and we will endeavour to do all we can to make a positive difference in this World.


The foundations

In 2002 Rachel Sanders the founder of TABS International was fortunate to take advantage of an opportunity to travel to Kenya with a group of people from churches in East Devon. The purpose of the trip was to visit several projects supported by church members and meet the leaders of those projects. All the projects worked with children and families trying to alleviate the impact of poverty and deprivation by providing healthcare, feeding programmes and education.

Supporting families from poor backgrounds

Many of the families lived in slum areas and many children were orphans. It occurred to her that the work taking place in the projects was remarkably like her own work back in the UK with disadvantaged and homeless people. Like many young people in the UK Rachel’s two daughters had a GAP year before going to university. The impact on them was profound. It struck her that the homeless young people she worked with would never have that opportunity. Could we bring the two things together, working to alleviate the impact of extreme poverty and providing disadvantaged people with a life changing experience?

Intrepid explorers build a school canteen

And so, in January 2006 after much fundraising and with much support a small group of intrepid explorers made up of five volunteers, four young people and Bob the builder (yes, Bob the builder) travelled to a slum in Nairobi known as Kayole to build a school canteen in one of the projects we support. Since this trip we have not looked back and in 2007 TABS International was formally registered as a charity with the charity commission. We have visited Kenya many times since then, 3 of these trips being with a group of volunteers made up of disadvantaged people from all over the UK who worked in the project we support in Kiandutu, digging foundations, building school buildings, painting, and anything else that needed doing while we are there.


Achievements to date

What we have achieved to date has been amazing, we have focused much of our efforts in one particular slum called Kiandutu in Thika. We have developed a school that now has 400 children and growing year on year. Not only are children being educated for the first time but every child receives a free school lunch – crucial for families who are living on the bread line and whose children often go hungry.


Working at grass roots level developing partnerships with the creation of TABS Kenya

We have also worked with our Kenyan partners to register a sister charity to TABS International. TABS Kenya now has Kenyan trustees registered as a Kenyan charity. TABS Kenya lead on taking forward our vision for TABS in Kenya, expanding the work and developing new partnerships. We feel it’s vital to be working through people on the ground, living in the communities we are supporting. This ensures that whatever we develop is really meeting the needs of those communities.

The springs our springs of life school has achieved CBO status!

This is such an achievement as we can now become an examination centre in our own right!
Some of the benefits for registration of springs of life as a community based organisation (CBO) include:
  • Enable the opening of school bank account that is; in the name of institution;
  • Help in finding funding both locally /internationally and even formation of partnership with other organisation with a similar goals;
  • Enable us to receive funds internally and or even donations in a more structured manner;
  • Greatly aid in other government processes that requires institution to have been registered with any relevant authority;
  • Improve our public reputation and sense of ownership by creating trust by the Society.

We are truly thankful to all our Friends of TABS both here in the UK and in Kenya for all of your hard work and support!


Exciting future for TABS Kenya

We feel very excited about the future for TABS Kenya and the potential for expansion of our work. We need to continue raising funds in order to support our development programme and enable us to provide volunteer opportunities.

From the slum to a more rural location

TABS International and TABS Kenya have decided to move the upper primary out of the slum and into a more rural area and set up a boarding school. This offers children the opportunity to have a different life experience and helps toward our sustainability goals.


Growing what we offer while growing food as well… Growth all around.

We will be able to grow our own food, sell water, and have a centre for volunteer trips to stay and work. We would attract fee paying students 30/70 split and the funding would be more than enough to meet the financial needs for both the primary school in Kiandutu and the boarding school. We have already purchased 3 acres of land to get this initiative started.

Sustainability approach and International plans to grow

TABS International has always had a goal of sustainability for the project, to allow the school to be fully self-sustaining through a range of income generation and sustainability initiatives.


We have grown and so is the Kenyan school system

The project has grown significantly over the last 5 years, and the structure of the Kenyan school system is changing. They are moving to a two-level system in both primary and secondary.

This will mean that over the next year the project will lose 2 grades – 7 and 8 as these will be part of upper primary. We feel that the project in Kiandutu is best placed to meet the needs of the lower primary age and means less children as the school is over capacity and there just isn’t enough room.

Changing lives in Kenya and the UK

We know our efforts make a difference – not only in Africa where we have seen our support make life saving changes in children’s lives – but also here in the UK where we have seen people who have been able to make life changing differences to their lives through their involvement with TABS.

To find out more about our current project development plans visit our NEWS page


Ellen Sanders : TABS Trustee
Kath Farmer : TABS Secretary
Jenna Gill : TABS Trustee
Richard Hare: TABS Trustee
Jenna Gill : TABS Trustee
Richard Hare: TABS Trustee