Right now, in Kenya, there are 42 primary school graduates, including the Seed School, located in the heart of the Nairobi slum of Kibera, who want nothing more than to continue their education onto secondary school where upon graduation they will realize their dreams into a successful adulthood with hopes of one day becoming a nurse, doctor, pilot or teacher.
The 23 girls and 19 boys have all completed eight years of education and passed their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations “with flying colors” qualifying them to progress on to secondary school education.
While the government-operated boarding schools the students hope to be attending may be tuition-free, there are many other miscellaneous fees, such as registration fees, and related expenses that for these students put the costs of education out of reach.
Despite the sponsored students’ parents’, grandparents’ or guardians’ dire financial situation, they understand the importance of seeing the children completing their education and are committed to finding a way to cover half of their related education costs which amount to 42,000 Kenyan Shillings, about $262, making their share $131 per year.
However, the sponsorship and the families’ contributions does not cover the other associated costs the students face when attending secondary school which includes mandatory school uniforms, school supplies and the personal care items they require when living on their own away from home – a cost of $152 per student.
Seed Foundation founder and director Patrick Odongo, who oversees the Seed School’s operations, in his request to Bread and Water for Africa® for grant funding for the associated costs says the program has the ultimate goal of “giving a great opportunity to the less fortunate, yet bright children within the Kibera slums and beyond.
“These are children we have taught and worked with over the years, and they all have the passion and drive to gain higher education by all means” and “at this stage in their lives, they possess a lot of energy, and bear the drive to succeed.
“Giving them an opportunity to attend high school, and eventually even pursue higher education is an eye-opener to them, and a highlight in their lives toward a more promising future.”
Among them are:
Ashline Ochieng, 14, who has been accepted into the Nyarach Secondary School, located in Rongo in western Kenya about 200 miles from home, “where I’m supposed to continue with my secondary education. I am afraid that without assistance from Bread and Water for Africa® I might have to say goodbye to my education at this young age.”
Esau Omboto, 13, who has lived in the Kibera slum his entire life and recently graduated from the Seed School and who has big dreams of one day becoming a pilot. “Though I have been promoted to join secondary school, I fear it might be the end for me proceeding with my education.”
Cynthia Atieno, 15, is another who completed her primary education at the Seed School who has been accepted to join a secondary school, “but I am afraid that I might miss my chance…I always wish to continue with my education so that I can be able to help my mother take care of my younger siblings. But without help, I might end up not completing my education.”
Faith Atieno, 14, told us she scored a total of 325 marks on her KCPE exam out of a possible 500 points. (A student’s score on the exam determines the quality of secondary school they are allowed to enroll in, and students scoring in the 200-400 range are likely to be accepted into increasingly prestigious schools as their scores increase.)
“I was so happy because I managed to be one of the top students in my school,” said Faith, who has hopes of becoming a nurse. “I live in a family of six children, but none of my older siblings have managed to continue with their secondary education.
“I would be so happy to be able to continue with my studies. My dream is always to work hard in school and be able to help my family.”
And as for Patrick, who has seen firsthand the progress Ashline, Esau, Cynthia, Faith and all the other sponsored students have made over the years to reach this major turning point in their lives, he wants the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa® to understand:
“We need to help them proceed with their studies to enable them to fulfill their dreams and help in transforming their communities.
“It would be very tragic if all the years that they have already positively spent in school were to go to waste.”