Enhancing Education: Volunteers Foundation Academy's Journey with DreamClass

Through DreamClass, Volunteers Foundation Academy achieved a significant milestone in their digital transformation journey, aligning with their mission to provide quality education to underprivileged children

Andrea Natali
Co-Founder in Volunteers Foundation

About Volunteers Foundation

Volunteers Foundation, is a UK-based charity organization founded by Monica and Andrea, providing education to underprivileged children in Kibera, Nairobi’s largest slum. Established 14 years ago, it started as a nursery and evolved into a primary school with 140 students, nine teachers, and six additional support staff members, named Volunteers Foundation Academy. Beyond academics, the school offers extracurricular activities like music and sports, ensuring a well-rounded education. With small class sizes and personalized attention, Volunteers Foundation supports students, from primary through higher education, aiming to break the cycle of poverty through learning.

The challenge

Transitioning from Manual to Digital Systems

Before adopting DreamClass, Volunteers Foundation Academy grappled with the inefficiencies of manual, paper-based processes. Andrea reflected, We spent more time fixing the platform than using it. Their initial local platform in Kenya proved unreliable and complex, hindering operations significantly.

The primary issues encountered included:

  • Reliability Concerns: Andrea notes, It wasn’t very reliable.” Frequent disruptions and technical glitches plagued their previous platform, impeding its effectiveness.
  • Usability and Interface Complexity: The interface of the previous platform was cumbersome, especially for less IT-savvy users. This complexity hindered staff adoption and integration into daily routines.
  • Geographical Disparities: With operations spanning Kenya and the UK, a cloud-based solution was imperative. Andrea emphasizes, We need a system that is cloud-based and reliable. The previous platform’s inability to meet this need exacerbated operational challenges.

Despite setbacks, Volunteers Foundation remained determined to find an efficient solution. Their discovery of DreamClass, though offering fewer features, provided reliability and an intuitive interface. 

Andrea recalls, “The user interface is very good; it doesn’t scare people.” The transition, aided by video tutorials, was seamless. Staff in Kenya embraced DreamClass enthusiastically, recognizing its potential to streamline tasks and enhance efficiency. Through DreamClass, Volunteers Foundation Academy achieved a significant milestone in their digital transformation journey, aligning with their mission to provide quality education to underprivileged children.

The solution

Finding the Right Fit

In their quest for a school management solution, Volunteers Foundation faced the challenge of balancing features, cost, and usability within their limited budget. Andrea recalls, “I went through a list of about 10 different platforms on sites like Capterra. With a keen eye on specific requirements, including affordability and ease of use, they engaged in demos with multiple companies, including one from Greece. However, none could fully meet their needs, particularly in terms of cost-effectiveness.

What set DreamClass apart was not just its features but also its understanding of the unique circumstances of a charity organization. Andrea appreciated the empathy and support offered by DreamClass’s team, acknowledging, It was a very kind understanding environment. As a charity reliant on international donors, every expenditure needed to be justified and demonstrate tangible impact. Thus, the decision to invest in a school management solution was crucial.

For Volunteers Foundation, the choice of DreamClass was not merely about acquiring a software tool but about making a strategic investment that would enhance their day-to-day operations and ultimately contribute to their mission of providing quality education to underprivileged children. DreamClass emerged as the ideal solution, aligning with their budget constraints while offering the necessary features and support to drive meaningful impact.

To discuss how DreamClass can accommodate your school’s needs

The Features that Made us Choose DreamClass

Volunteers Foundation Academy adoption of DreamClass stemmed from its robust feature set, tailored to address various operational and academic requirements:

  • Comprehensive Database Management: Central to the school’s needs was a database capable of managing student, parent, and teacher information. Andrea emphasizes,The main point was to have a database of students, parents, and family, and teachers. DreamClass provided this essential feature, streamlining communication and record-keeping.
  • Invoicing Functionality: As a charity organization with nominal fees, invoicing parents was crucial not only for financial reasons but also to foster parental engagement. Andrea underscores the importance of this feature, stating, The invoicing is very good; it works very well. DreamClass’s invoicing functionality proved effective, offering a reliable solution that contributed to school sustainability.
  • Customizable Templates and Attendance Tracking: The ability to create customizable templates and streamline attendance tracking were additional features that appealed to Volunteers Foundation Academy. These functionalities streamlined administrative tasks, ensuring standardized documentation and efficient workflow processes.
  • User-Friendly Interface and Adoption Support: DreamClass’s user-friendly interface played a pivotal role in overcoming technological barriers. With the school’s broader initiative aimed at digital transformation, DreamClass facilitated teacher acceptance and adoption, contributing to a culture of digital literacy within the school community. Andrea highlights, Technology has to look very nice… but also, it takes a little bit to show the benefit.
  • Timetable Management: The platform’s calendar feature enables efficient timetable management, providing clarity and structure for both teachers and students. Additionally, Volunteers Foundation Academy is exploring DreamClass’s grading feature to track student academic performance and generate reports for parents.
  • Grading: Volunteers Foundation Academy is in the process of implementing DreamClass’s grading feature to effectively monitor student academic performance. Andrea highlights the importance of this feature, stating, I want to keep track of all the academic performances of the students.

Τhe Benefits

Volunteers Foundation Academy has witnessed significant impact and value through the integration of DreamClass into their daily operations, particularly in academic performance tracking and operational efficiency:

The proof of our work

With DreamClass’s grading feature, the school aims to digitize years of academic performance data. Andrea emphasizes the importance of tracking student progress over time to demonstrate the effectiveness of the school’s educational programs. He explains, “It’s very important…to track performance across the year…to demonstrate that our school is really working.” DreamClass’s analytics capabilities, such as class averages and trend analysis, enable comprehensive performance evaluation and facilitate data-driven decision-making.

Operational Efficiency

DreamClass has significantly improved operational efficiency at Volunteers Foundation Academy. Andrea notes, “In terms of efficiency, well, of course, in general, we are much more efficient.” By automating administrative tasks such as attendance tracking and report generation, DreamClass has streamlined daily operations, allowing staff to dedicate more time to other critical activities. Andrea estimates, “Overall, probably we save…30, 40% of the time that we used to do our operation.”

Data Privacy Compliance

Data security and privacy are paramount for the school, given the sensitive nature of student information. Andrea highlights DreamClass’s reliability and compliance with data protection regulations, stating, “We need to be very careful…with the GDPR.” DreamClass’s adherence to data privacy regulations ensures that the school’s sensitive data is handled responsibly and securely.

Time Savings

The implementation of DreamClass has resulted in significant time savings for Volunteers Foundation Academy. Andrea estimates that the platform saves approximately 30 to 40% of the time previously spent on operational tasks.

Recommendation: Affirmative Endorsement from Volunteers Foundation Academy

Volunteers Foundation Academy wholeheartedly recommended DreamClass to other schools and related organizations based on their positive experience and significant time savings. Andrea expressed confidence in the software’s ability to streamline operations and improved efficiency, stating, Of course, I would recommend it and I will share our positive experience with other schools in Kenya, indicating a willingness to advocate for DreamClass within their network.

If your school is grappling with challenges akin to Volunteers Foundation Academy, seize the opportunity to enhance efficiency and streamline your school management processes by adopting DreamClass!

Take the next step toward success; book a call with one of our dedicated Support Team representatives today!