Tag Archives: students

Crunch Time

It’s August, and the students all over Kenya are taking a break from their studies. They call it a “holiday”, which is apt, since it will be “crunch time” once they return to school. At that point there will be three more months of the school year to test their mettle.  For now they are relaxing, just as we are, and trying not to think about what lies ahead.

CRUNCH TIME

This November Standard 8 students (8th graders) all over Kenya will be sitting for the KCPE (Kenya Certificate of Primary Education). This exam helps determine which high school students can attend.  The competition is high, and a lot of effort that goes into preparing for these tests. The goal is to end up with grades that are high enough to allow them into the secondary school of their choosing.

Enter “Crunch Time”.  Crunch time happens in late hours after school is over, when schools with electricity leave their lights on for students who have none at home, allowing them extra time to study. It also happens between 6:00 – 8:00 AM when students arrive early to get in a couple extra hours of study time before the school day begins.   Studying for the KCPE is serious business, because no one wants to fail this test.

Standard 8 students at the Lord Ranjuera Primary School in Kampi Ya Moto
Standard 8 students at the Lord Ranjuera Primary School in Kampi Ya Moto

EC SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

There is no free public education for secondary students, so without a scholarship students have to pay school fees. As you may imagine, scholarships are usually awarded only to the brightest students, and typically orphaned children do not rank in that category.  While family members in Kenya frequently take on the responsibility of raising their orphaned nieces and nephews, oftentimes those families are unable to pay the school fees for anyone other than their own children.

In 2012, Everyone’s Child began the EC Scholarship Program, knowing that these students would not be able to go to high school without outside financial support.  Currently, Bishop Donovan Secondary School (BEDSS) in Lanet Umoja is the only high school in the Nakuru area that offers a full scholarship to orphans.

OUR GOAL

Since 2012, more than 40 orphaned teenagers have received a scholarship from EC, allowing them to work toward completing their high school education. This is no small thing, given that the majority of orphaned children in Kenya usually struggle just to make it through the 8th grade. The devastation of losing one’s own parents, coupled with the rejection of not being able to attend high school is often all that it takes for a child to lose hope. Our goal is to supply hope to these children, in the form of an education. Beyond that, the EC Mentorship Program, led by our Program Coordinator William Aludo, and his assistant Simon Wanjala offers life skills guidance for scholarship students who are getting ready to graduate.

Orphaned students at Lanet Umoja Primary School
Orphaned students at Lanet Umoja Primary School

THEIR GOAL

Incoming students need marks of 200 or more (out of 500) in order to be accepted into BEDSS.    I am praying for all of these 8th grade students to pass with flying colors, but am especially holding the orphans in Lanet Umoja up in prayer. With good marks they will have a shot at entering a high school that offers financial and emotional support as well as a solid education.

OUR GRATITUDE

The only way we’ve been able to do this is through the unflagging help of our supporters.  Without you the EC Scholarship Program would not be possible. We are incredibly thankful for everyone who has helped us get through our “crunch time” and reach out to students who otherwise might not have had a chance in life.  And in the long run, giving kids a chance to achieve their potential is what really matters. If you would like to make a difference in the life of a student, please click here to learn how to donate to Everyone’s Child.

Greetings from students at Nakuru Teacher's Primary School!!
Greetings from students at Nakuru Teacher’s Primary School!!

As always, from their heart to yours, Asante (Thank you) Sana (so much)!!

My Deep Gladness

Frederick Buechner wrote “Purpose is the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s needs.”  I couldn’t agree more.   To the point where I will probably adopt his saying and add it to my email signature in days to come,  because it strikes a chord in the recesses of my heart.

My deep gladness is most evident around this time of year, due in large part to EC’s Annual Appeal.  You might be inclined to say that I’m happy to be bringing in the funds that support our programs, specifically the lunch program for the orphans and the sponsorship program for the orphaned secondary students.  There is truth to that, but my overarching gladness comes with being able to connect with so many friends and family members whom I rarely see anymore.

Every November I send a letter out to EC supporters, telling them what has happened with the donations they sent throughout the year, and asking them to please consider contributing again so we can continue supporting the 300+ orphans who benefit from the daily school lunch program and the 10 – 15 secondary school students who we sponsor.  I also tell donors about my aspirations for the coming year.  This past November I shared the exciting news of the two new preschool buildings that our donors built in Lanet.  I also wrote about the hope we have of bringing our mentoring program for high school orphaned students into new areas of Kenya with the help of our new Program Coordinator, William Aludo.

The responses have been arriving in my mailbox and via Paypal since the second week of November, usually accompanied by a smiley face, hand-drawn hearts or “xoxo”.  Sometimes people have included a short note with their contribution telling me about their lives and families, and almost always they have something encouraging to say to keep us going.  This year I wanted to share a few of the responses I have received from people who have a heart for what we are doing for the orphans in Kenya.  I’ll use first names (or first letters) to maintain anonymity.

Adam: [My wife] and I would love to support Everyone’s Child!  A cause that will always be close to my heart.

Carole: Keep up your wonderful work!

Alison: You can count on me for a donation prior to year-end.  Thank you for explaining some of the costs as it gives me a better idea of how much I should donate.  I’m so proud of you for spear heading such a great cause.

Cynthia:  I’m planning to give a donation to your passion and am happy to help.  I admire you for dedicating yourself to helping these kids.  It must seem overwhelming at times but heartwarming to see the successes.

Ellie: Wonderful organization Ruth. I know your heart is with these children. My contribution will go out in the next week.

N: It is especially meaningful to me to help out your organization where I know the money goes directly to the kids!!!

Dancing angels

Elizabeth: Keep up the great work for the children.

Catherine: I know it’s not much, but hopefully every bit counts!  (Me: It definitely does!!)

Dave: So happy to support these children who can use our help.

Linda: Yes. I will donate now! Thank you Ruthie!!

Carrie 😉 : Done!

Martha: What great work you do!  Amen and thank you!  We will continue to support what you do, so count on us!

Some people donated in the memory of a loved one.  Here are two such cases:

One of my nieces: Aunt Ruthie, I am so proud to be your niece. The work your organization does is incredible! I opened your letter today and around the holiday season, donating in the name of others to such a wonderful program is a very special gift for everyone involved!

Connie: Heidi was a dynamic, caring person.  As  her friend you must really feel her loss.  Even those who didn’t know her well feel sad and depleted.  She is missed but she lives on in love – and in your work for others.

So there it is, an example of why I have such deep gladness in my heart.  In the past eight years I have found my purpose in the carving of this work, which has been nothing more than an opportunity to express my faith in God and in the seed that is sown in all of us to serve and care for those less fortunate than ourselves.

We are a little over halfway to our goal of $20,000.00 for this year’s Annual Appeal.  The funds we raise help us to continue our orphan lunch program and our secondary school sponsorship program.  Currently it costs $30 per month per student to fund the orphan lunch program which is feeding between 250-300 students a day in three separate locations.  The school sponsorship program costs between $250 – $400 per student per year, depending on the grade they are in.  Next year we expect to be supporting between 8 – 10 students in Nakuru, and hope to be sponsoring additional students in new areas of Kenya as well.  If you would like to donate to Everyone’s Child and help us reach our goal before the end of 2016, please click here.

I pray that you all have a wonderful and blessed holiday season.  I look forward to talking and serving with all of you again in 2017.

Mary, Joseph & Jesus!