Their names are Wanzala, Elga, Agesa, Anyango, Mbuya, Otieno B., Otieno V., Aloo, Stephen and Ochieng, and they are all promising teenagers growing up in the worst possible situations imaginable in the Nairobi slum of Kibera.
They are all also bright, promising graduates of the Seed School, a primary school located in the heart of the slum, who are full of hope.
But there is one thing holding them back – the lack of funds to pay school fees in order continue their education in secondary school.
Patrick Odongo, founder and director of the Seed Foundation which operates the Seed School, reports that, unfortunately, without help from Bread and Water for Africa® these six girls and four boys are in serious jeopardy of being able to complete their education.
“This is why we are now in the process of searching for supporters who can help these young Seed School graduates attend secondary school to give them better chances in the competitive world of today,” said Patrick in his request for grant funding from Bread and Water for Africa® for their continuing education.
“This grant will help the named beneficiaries to clear their yearly school fees and enable them fully to participate into the relevant academic program activities in their respective schools throughout the year,” says Patrick. “Their successful performances will play a key role in enabling them to graduate with good grades and grow through their academic journeys to help realize their dreams.”
The sad fact is that many bright – but needy – Kenyan youth who have the intelligence, determination and good grades to be accepted into a secondary school never get the chance because of a lack of ability to pay school fees, and more than half who are able to start do not graduate.
“The need for students who are unable able to go to school is overwhelming,” says Patrick, who has selected these 10 for a pilot program partnership with Bread and Water for Africa® to ensure they are able to pay their school fees not only for the next term, but the next year and on to graduation.
“This is a new endeavor as we are partnering with Bread and Water for Africa® with the hopes of sponsoring them through their academic journey. We have done thorough screening and engaged them at different levels, and it is our believe we have the right group to start with.”
The cost for a student to attend secondary school in Kenya is about $500 per year, much more than families living in Kibera (among the largest slums on the entire continent of Africa) could possibly afford themselves.
Through this partnership, Bread and Water for Africa® is proposing to match 50-50 with other resources from the Seed Foundation, meaning that we only need to raise $250 for each student – just $2,500 for all 10 – to attend school for the entire school year.
Among them is Wanzala, a 17-year-old who lives with her mother and two brothers whose favorite class is chemistry and has hopes of finishing school and going to university and studying nursing.
However, her mother, who supports her family herself, lost her job when her employer closed the business, and Wanzala is looking for any type of work she can find to help her family as well as “save some money so that I can be able to go back to school.”
Another is 18-year-old Sophy whose mother works as a maid and earns 8,000 Kenyan Shillings a month — $66 – which she uses to support herself, Sophy, her three sisters, two brothers and two cousins all living under one roof.
If Sophy is unable to stay in school, “I would be washing people’s clothes and working as a house girl,” she told us.
17-year-old Patricia’s father is a “jua kali man” (a Kenyan handyman who can fix anything) who struggles to support his family of eight on his meager earnings, much less pay school fees for his daughter who one day hopes to go to university and study medicine.
Otherwise, without the opportunity to complete the education she so desires, she fears she will have no choice but to “work a menial job” instead of the chance to become a nurse or even a doctor.
Ochieng, 17, lives with her mother, three sisters and three brothers and has dreams of becoming a teacher.
“My mother always struggles to pay for my school fees,” she told us. “Therefore, I sometimes remain at home because of my school fees deficit.”
And to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®, Ochieng, who without an education “would be doing small jobs to help my mother,” says “I hope you can help me continue with my education…and also to help others.”