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