Imagine a different world; one in which education and the opportunities it brings are always held at arm’s length. You have the desire and the passion to learn but it’s what you don’t have that is the determining factor: a lack of sufficient finance, no electricity to help you complete homework assignments in the early evenings, an empty stomach and poor health. This is the reality that many young people face – but we’re imagining a more hopeful future. We imagine a world where young people have the opportunity to fulfil their potential. It’s a world in which they enrich the future as education enriches them. We think this is such an exciting vision of the future that we’re committed to making it happen.
The right approach
Having met with many young people and their parents, we quickly learned that secondary school is not always the best option. Many young people are unable to read or write; this would make secondary school extremely frustrating for them – as they would be unable to complete their work and keep up with their class. For these young people it is far better to acquire vocational skills that will enable them to find work. Many young people aspire to train as mechanics, blacksmiths or electricians. So… let’s help them.
The secondary schools that we work with are usually boarding schools. This is the best option as we can ensure that the students have time to study, desks and electricity, food and all the help that they need. Students return during holidays when they participate in our holiday enrichment programme.
We always work with local people. We think this is the best way of finding sustainable solutions that empower the local community. To deliver the scholarship programme in Kenya we have partnered with Uzimatele Ministries who have been working in Gituamba since 2002. Uzimatele Ministries are responsible for ensuring that the students awarded scholarships, and their families, are properly supported throughout their studies. Because we think it’s important that the young people feel supported and empowered by their own community, we’re deliberately keeping a low profile in Gituamba. So, rather than developing personal relationships between supporters and students, we’ll send you reports from a selection of our students.
The itemised breakdown that we have presented is a good attempt at reflecting the standard costs. The costs vary from course to course and from school to school. There are sometimes additional fees or, in the case of vocational courses for example, no accommodation fees. There are also a few small costs that have not been included in our list but are absorbed across the other items. This includes items such as compulsory insurance payments made payable to the schools.
Because we’re committed to ensuring that young people fulfil their potential, we continue to work with them beyond their course. For some this may be through supporting them as they look for employment, for others it means ensuring that they have the opportunity to complete their studies at college or university. We have a team based in Kenya that meet with each student at the end of every year or key stage to ensure that they have all the support and opportunities required to succeed.
We have an internship programme that helps students develop the skills and experience that employers demand.
National School Fund
In Kenyan, schools select students depending on their Kenyan Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) results. Students who score in the top 3% of the country are invited to attend national schools. It is rare that a young person from a poor community with underequipped schools achieves sufficient KCPE results, but we are pleased to say that it is something that we have had to respond to. National Schools are more expensive than their provincial and regional equivalents and so we have set up a special fund to allow these students the same opportunity all young people should have – that to fulfil their potential.