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.
MCOH developed a scholarship program in 2007. A local committee of teachers and village leaders in Kenya set up a screening, selection and monitoring process of students. Students are eligible for a four-year renewable scholarship which covers all expenses related to their education (tuition, accommodations, meals, uniforms and school supplies). To be eligible for the MCOH scholarship students must be considered financially needy and make a minimum of 250 points out of 500 on their Kenyan exam. This program is supported by fundraising activities in Canada by MCOH.
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.
Chalice is a program that caters to students in primary school (grades 1-8). This program is a joint project with MCOH and Chalice. Chalice is an independent Canadian Catholic Sponsorship organization with headquarters in Halifax, NS. Chalice sponsorship focuses on a family funding model where the parent/guardian opens a bank account and receives basic financial literacy to help them manage their child’s sponsorship funds. The parents must join a family group which helps members manage their funds. The goal of family funding is to encourage self-reliance while generating greater participation of parents in their child’s education. When you sponsor a child through Chalice you provide educational support, including school supplies and fees. Sponsorship also provides children with improved nutritional intake, medical care, clothing, footwear and other basic necessaries. Children live at home with their parent/guardian. Currently, it costs $37 a month to sponsor a child through Chalice.
Chalice has been rated as a top charity in International Aid and Development for the past six years by Money Sense Magazine 2017 Rating A. In 2016-2017 Chalice spent 8.8% of their operating budget on Program Support Expenses. Anyone wishing to sponsor a child through Chalice may do so by phoning Chalice directly at 1 800 776 6855, or by going online to www.chalice.ca. Please indicate that you wish to sponsor a child in Mikinduri, Bondo or Mageta Island in Kenya. Together we can continue the fight against poverty and bring hope to these children.
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.
Sponsoring A Child
Fees are paid once a year by sponsors. Sponsors can pay by cheque, PayPal on our web site or etransfer directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. A tax receipt in the full amount is sent to sponsors in January or February. Chalice issues their own receipts.
As Chair of the Education Committee, Gaylene Smith is the contact person between our community-based organizations in Kenya and our sponsors. Gaylene also reports to the board and stays in contact with sponsors to ensure their needs are met. You can contact Gaylene at email@example.com if you are interested in sponsoring a child.