There are several components to our Education program but they all share the same mission- to relieve the effects of poverty on the people we serve in Kenya. By sponsoring a child’s education we help needy and academically promising students complete their secondary, college or university education.
In the areas of Kenya we serve, most children drop out of school after grade 8 because their parents cannot afford the cost of uniforms, school supplies or school fees. It’s not uncommon for a child to be dismissed from school until the back fees are paid. This places a heavy burden on the families and halts the child’s education.
Students who have demonstrated a high academic interest and a financial need are supported in their education. We have students in trade training, colleges, and universities, sponsored by individuals and families in Canada. Letters from students and information about how they are doing is sent to the sponsors twice a year. Ongoing needs include private sponsors for post secondary eduction
MCOH developed a sponsorship program in 2011. The eligibility criteria are the same as the scholarship program. As with the scholarship program students are placed in boarding schools with the cost of accommodations, travel, meals and school supplies paid by their sponsor. This program allows an individual to sponsor a needy child of their choosing. The child and sponsor correspond twice yearly with pictures and letters.
Our director at both NGO locations ( Mikinduri and Bondo) prescreen the applicants, send a profile, and request for assistance to our Education Committee in Canada. Our Education Committee then tries to find a sponsor for the child. When a sponsor indicates that they are interested in participating, a number of profiles are sent and the sponsor gets to select which child they want to sponsor. Sponsors are encouraged to commit to sponsoring the child until they have completed Form 4 (which is Grade 12 in Canada).
Both the scholarship and sponsorship programs have been rewarding for both the sponsor and the child. Currently, we have children registered in Form 1-4 as well as students sponsored for College and or University. We have graduates of University programs back in their communities using their education to teach others, implement agriculture programs, perform carpentry work, perform social work or health care.
Education in Kenya
The Kenyan school system operates on a three month on and one month off education system. For primary and secondary students their school year begins in January and completes in December with breaks in April, August and December. At the completion of Grade 8 and Grade 12 students write a national exam called the Kenyan Certificate of Primary or Secondary education. (KCPE or KCSE) and must successfully pass to move on.
Currently, all students in our sponsorship/scholarship program attend boarding schools where their day begins at dawn. At 5:30 they are in personal study class or morning preparation with total silence. Lunch is at 1:20 and supper at 6 pm and 9:30 pm is lights out. Students must maintain an average of C- to stay in the program and their progress is monitored by our Kenyan staff.
Last year we provided all of our sponsored students with solar lights to enable them to study after dark when home visiting their families. All Mikinduri area female students have received a Days for Girls kits and we hope to do the same this year with the Western Province students.