Africa

The Kenya schoolchildren keeping letter-writing alive

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Media captionMobile phones are banned at this Kenyan school - so students write letters instead

The BBC News School Report gives students aged 11 to 16 the chance to make their own news reports. Here Jack, a 15-year-old studying at a boarding school in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, explains why the old-fashioned art of writing letters is back in fashion.

My school, the Starehe Boys' Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, is known for academic excellence, especially in national examinations.

It is against school rules to have mobile phones.

We have ICT hubs, smart boards and internet access, but these are only for academic research.

We are not allowed to access social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Image caption The boys see the letters as a chance to be creative

So that begs the question, how do we communicate with our friends in other schools - especially girls?

The answer is that we go back to the good old days and write letters, but not just ordinary letters.

They are artistic, calligraphic, hand-written letters we create during our free time.

In the school library I find some of my friends writing letters.

Image caption The boys put great effort into their letters

''Most of the time we send the letters to our friends in girls schools,'' says Charles.

''We put effort in writing them so that we can communicate our emotions well."

Some of the students believe that letter-writing allows them to be artistic.

''I love art so I take my time so that my friends get the best letters," says Moses, as he decorates his envelope with blue calligraphy.

''I am writing to a very close friend. She is a member of the orchestra club and I am too."

Image caption The letters are delivered by motorbike between the schools

After the letters are finished, the postman drives his motorbike through the busy Nairobi traffic and delivers them to our friends at Loreto Msongari girl's school across the city. The girls gladly receive the letters.

Some of them tell me what they think about letter-writing.

''I am really excited to receive a letter from one of my friends in Starehe,'' says Tabitha.

"I think it's better to write letters in school than to have phones. It is a mode of communication that everyone can afford and it's what everyone looks forward to when you go to high school," she says.

One would imagine that letter-writing is ancient and backward but many students in Kenya actually enjoy this method and describe it as a real blast from the past.

Image caption The boys' letters are gratefully received by girls at a school on the other side of Nairobi

''On a phone you can't express yourself the same way you can in a letter,'' says Danielle.

"My letter was really interesting, I like the handwriting, the calligraphy really pops - it makes me want to read it."

I asked Angel, one of the bubbly girls, to share the most interesting bit of her letter.

''Well, he said that I have long silky hair and a blinding smile!'' she says, giggling.

While other young people around the world are busy texting each other, we have had to re-invent ways of keeping in touch with our friends. It works for us!

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