Tag Archives: Kenyan education

The Promise of an Education

For those of us living in the developed world, the promise of an education is something we own. We can bank on it. In fact, very few of us ever consider what it would be like not to have access to primary or secondary (high school) education.

The Promise of an education: young Kenyan girl on a swing
Faith on a swing

Opportunities to Learn

When I think about my years as an elementary school student, I remember jump rope games and skinned knees. I remember circling pictures in a row that matched pictures in the left column. Learning how to write my name in cursive was another milestone. My high school memories include learning about Argentina in a 9th grade Current Events class and the smell of formaldehyde in Biology. I remember parallelograms in Geometry and left hand turns in Driver’s Ed. There were so many opportunities to learn.

However, for many children and families living in Africa, the promise of an education is not guaranteed.

The Statistics

Last January, an article in the Africa Report stated: “[a]ccording to UNESCO, in sub-Saharan Africa one-fifth of children between six and 11 are out of school, one-third between 12 and 14, and 60% between 15 and 17. Though the reasons are various, ranging from conflict to corruption to lack of provision, poverty is now identified as an overwhelming factor.”

Today, free primary school education is legally guaranteed in 42 of 54 African nations*. Primary education was made free to all Kenyan students in 2003, and in 2017 the Kenyan government introduced free secondary education. A catalyst for free schooling in Kenya began with the dedication of organizations like EC who are committed to making education available to Kenyan children.

The Cost of an Education

For both primary and secondary school, Kenyan parents are still required to pay for school lunch programs and uniforms, a cost that puts a financial strain on many families. For children without parents, the promise of an education becomes even more elusive. Children who have been orphaned are usually taken care of by family members who often can’t afford additional costs. The hope they once had becomes uncertain, and their potential for a successful future is at risk.

The Promise of an education: Providing scholarships for students like this one sitting against a tire
Losing a parent causes many challenges for young students

Lunch programs typically cost $12 a month per student, and school uniforms cost about $60 annually. These amounts certainly seem affordable, especially for those who are used to paying high fees for children’s programs.  But for families who are subsisting on less than $25 per month, these costs can be prohibitive.  Sadly, Kenyan students who don’t have lunch money or a proper uniform are suspended from school. Furthermore, preschool in Kenya is not free, and many families wind up paying 20% of their annual income to cover this expense.

The Promise of An Education

In 2010, Everyone’s Child was established to provide an education for Kenyan children who had lost their parents. Since then, thousands of children have received an education, thanks to the generosity of donors who understand their plight. What this has done for them is immeasurable. It has given them a future full of hope.

Everyone's Child secondary sponsorship students
EC sponsored students from Bishop Donovan Secondary School

Today, over 600 orphaned and vulnerable children in Kenya are supported by EC.  These students range between the ages of 3 and 18. All are either orphaned or belong to families that are unable to afford school fees.  

Ways of Contributing

The good news is that we have found a way to help these students. EC’s sponsorship program pays school fees for orphaned and vulnerable secondary students based on donations we receive. The Orphan Feeding Program is sustained by people committed to making sure that orphaned primary students receive a daily meal while they are in school.

Many EC donors choose to give on an ongoing or monthly basis. A continuing contribution makes it possible for many children to enjoy their education without the stress of being sent home for lack of lunch money or improper attire.

If you would like to become a monthly supporter of EC, please click on this link and select the second “Donate” option. One time donations are also welcome and a vital part of maintaining EC’s sponsorship program.

The promise of an education: orphaned preschoolers in Kenya
Orphaned preschoolers at Lanet Umoja Preschool

Looking Ahead

As I look ahead to the rest of 2020, I am anticipating a year of fulfilled dreams and expectations for children who have lost hope.  I am also looking forward to working alongside people who have a heart for children who want to be educated but lack the resources for that opportunity.

Thank you so much for joining us in this effort of giving every child the promise of an education.   

Blessings,

Ruth

What you do to the least of them, you do to me. Matthew 25:40

*At the writing of this blog, I was unable to find statistics comparing African countries that do and don’t provide free secondary education.

Feeding the hungry

A friend of mine has been feeding the hungry for more than a decade.  Dyan Walker, also called Sr. Kateri as she belongs to a Franciscan lay order, has indirectly and directly been providing meals for hungry children in Kenya for many years.

The Message

A couple of weeks ago I asked Sr. Kateri how she happened to get involved with feeding needy children.  She said that it all started in 2007 when she attended a church service where a missionary to Kenya was bringing a message about the work he was doing in that country.  She was deeply affected by his stories of children in an area called Kampi Ya Moto – a name which translates to “Camp of Fire”.  Needless to say, life was challenging in that region.  Kampi Ya Moto is located in sub-Saharan Africa where daily temperatures reach high into the 80’s and 90’s and rainfall is scarce during most of the year.  She learned that HIV/AIDS had claimed the lives of many adults in that area so most of the children were orphaned.  Education was considered a luxury.  A primary school was built in 2003, but prior to that there were no schools near their homes.  Their excitement at finally being able to learn was beyond measure.  However, in spite of their enthusiasm, they were fainting in class due to lack of food.

The Orphan Feeding Program

This missionary was reaching out to the church for help with an Orphan Feeding Program, allowing the children in Kampi Ya Moto to receive a daily meal.

Sr. Kateri was profoundly moved by his stories, so she began to pray for a way to help them.  As a recent widow, her budget was limited, but it occurred to her to put aside $10 a week for the orphans.  She began to do that, and continued to pray for their situation.

Then in May 2007, Sr. Kateri was gifted with the opportunity to travel to Kenya with a  group of missionaries.  The trip had a profound impact on her life.  She vividly remembers the sights and sounds, the incredible wildlife, and most of all, the children.

missionaries in Kenya sitting around a round table
Sr. Kateri, third from the left, with missionaries in Kenya

In her visit to Kampi Ya Moto she had a chance to serve lunch to the school children, an experience that is still fresh in her heart and mind.  She also remembered that “…there was a kitchen there but it was dilapidated and falling apart.”  She returned home and began to tell her friends, co-workers, and anyone else who would listen about these children and their needs.  Before long, there was an outpouring of donations for the Orphan Feeding Program, and the effort began to take on a life of its own.

feeding the hungry children in Kampi
Children in Kampi Ya Moto waiting for their daily meal

Feeding the Hungry

Sr. Kateri’s passion for alleviating the suffering of these orphans in Kenya began to affect people throughout the USA and Canada.  Funds continued to pour in, making it possible to address other needs as well.  The kitchen she had seen during her trip was in need of repairs, and two other schools in Nakuru were asking for help with feeding orphans in their schools.  Fr. Paul Stewart, her pastor of many years, told her: “The money you set aside also inspired others to give, so they were able to repair the kitchen and start the Orphan Feeding Program in two new locations.”  Her prayers and continued concern and care for the orphans also led her to join EC’s Board of Directors, a position she held for several years.

Sr. Kateri feeding the hungry children in Kenya
Sr. Kateri feeding the children in Kampi Ya Moto in 2007 – the kitchen is in the background

Kateri’s Kitchen

Today the kitchen in Kampi Ya Moto is once again in a state of disrepair.  Severe drought and extreme heat have taken their toll on this small tin, wattle and daub building.  This summer, EC is raising $2,100 in order to build a structure that will withstand the climate and provide nutritional meals to these school children.

Kitchen in Kampi Ya Moto for feeding the hungry
The kitchen in Kampi Ya Moto

Upon completion, EC will be dedicating the new kitchen to Sr. Kateri.  A plaque honoring her commitment to feed the children will be placed in this building, and in future kitchens also.  Her legacy of giving to the least of them will continue to impact children for years to come.

Feeding the hungry plaque
The plaque that will be placed in the new kitchen in Kampi Ya Moto

If you are in a position to contribute to Kateri’s Kitchen, please click here to help us continue with our goal of feeding the hungry.  Your gift will make a huge difference for the school children who rely on these meals to get them through the day.

As always, Asante Sana (Thank you very much) for your help!

Blessings,

Ruth

Problem vs. Opportunity

The Problem

This year, for the first time in EC’s history we are stepping outside of Nakuru to offer support to secondary students in a different region of this beautiful country.   To say that we’re excited is an understatement.  Last year, William Aludo, EC’s Program Coordinator, or “boots on the ground” as we like to call him, identified several orphaned secondary students struggling to pay their annual school fees in his hometown of Rongo, Migori County.  Finding out that there are students who can’t afford to go to school in your hometown may seem like a problem, but to us it presents an opportunity.

The Opportunity

Synthia Achar and John Odhiambo are two such students.  Both are in Form 2 (sophomore year), and have one living parent.  Both have five siblings between the ages of 1 – 18 living at home, making the idea of saving $250 a year for school fees almost prohibitive.

Synthia Achar

Synthia Achar

Synthia’s mom is a peasant farmer; she has been paying some of her daughter’s fees in kind by taking maize to the school which is then converted into a cash equivalent.

John Odhiambo

John Odhimabo

John’s mother is unwell and unable to earn anything towards his education.  His grandmother has been leasing portions of her piece of land to help pay for some fees.

In both cases it hasn’t been enough.  Synthia and John still have outstanding fees from 2016 and are in danger of losing the chance to remain in school.  These are very real problems that present us with a very real opportunity to respond.

The Solution

Everyone’s Child was established to help disadvantaged children receive an education.  If they are unable to go to school, we raise funds to pay school fees, and provide them with a mentoring program to teach them life skills.  If they are excited to be in school but are fainting in class due to poor nutrition, we provide lunch.  If their only drinking water comes from a muddy river, we partner with organizations to bring in fresh, potable water for the school.  All of these components add up to a sustainable model for receiving an education.

None of this would be possible without the help of the generous people who give annually and monthly to Everyone’s Child.  It’s as simple as that.  Since 1997, people have been making a difference in the lives of hundreds of orphaned and vulnerable children in Kenya through Everyone’s Child.  Plain and simple, we couldn’t do it without you.  If you want to learn how you can become a part of the solution, email us at everyoneschildren@gmail.com or visit www.everyoneschild.net.  

Thank you.