As the Corona Virus has spread around the globe, Kenya is no exception. On March 16th, 2020 the government closed primary and secondary schools. Colleges and universities also closed soon after. The social distancing measure have paid off for Kenya, keeping numbers fairly low. The challenge the measures is not being able to work and really preventing starvation. Umoja has been raising funds for Emergency Food support for our beneficiaries to help them get through until life returns to normal. For now, the world waits to re-open.
In 2020, we were able to increase the number of children of Umoja sponsored Secondary Students. Our goal is to have all primary school students continue their education. This year we have 159 children in Secondary School across all 4 forms.
In February 2020, a group from one of our partners congregations, Tabernacle Presbyterian Church, visited the project. They were able to attend a montly Secondary Education meeting of students and guardians. The purpose of the meetings is to check in with students, resolve problems and motivate the children towards success.
There was a check presentation to the community for the secondary school fees. Children and guardians performed poems, songs, and of course in Kenya they danced!
Each year when our Umoja students finish the primary schoool year they take exams (KCPE). These exams last an entire week. In the last year of primary school, class 8, the exam is high stakes. The results of the KCPE exam determines where a child may attend secondary school (high school) and what scholarships that they might be able to earn.
In 2019 the Umoja students had a banner year. Out 389 who graduated from class 8, there were 105 students who qualified to receive scholarships from Umoja. Some of our students received scholarships from other organizations. We will be supporting 45 form one students again this year which will increase our number of secondary students this year from 135 supported in 2019 to now 158 in 2020.
We need your help! We would love to send all of our children to high school no matter how they score on their class 8 exams but for now that is a dream. For now, we need your help funding these 158 students. Sudin and Irene are Form 1 students in 2020, what we would call freshman high school students.
Sudin is a total orphan and has only an elderly grandmother to be his guardian. He attended Agulu Primary school and has joined Chulaimbo Boys School. Chulaimbo has had good success with matriculation on to colleges and universities after Form 4.
Irene is a partial orphan who lives with her aunt. She graduated from Chulaimbo Primary School and has joined Sinyolo Girls Secondary School. She was the second best girl in her graduating class. The first girl in her class was also an Umoja student.
Please keep our secondary students in your thoughts and prayers as they start their new school year!
Thank you for your support, we couldn't send any of these children to school without you!
In August I went to Kenya and participated in the girl's empowerment retreat. I got to sit down with a group of post-secondary (university) students. Lorite presented me with a three page letter of thanks. Lorite, who often goes by her middle name Lorine, has been an Umoja student since class 6 (2009). Currently she is studying Maritime Business Managment at Moi University. Lorite has been a recipient of all the services that we offer through the project. Here is what she says about secondary school:
In 2011 after getting my KCPE results having attained 290 marks, I got priviledged to be absorbed by Umoja Project as one of the student whose high school fees would be paid by the project. I joined Ojalla Girls in 2012 and transferred to Mawgo Girls in 2014. I express sincere gratitute to the entire group that works selflessly to ensure that hopeless children and the vulnerable in Kenya are hopeful once more. During my Secondary school education, the leadership of the project in Indiana and in Kenya ensured that I remain committed and focused on success by setting a standard grade that I was not to perform below, paying frequent visits to the school, having quality time together discussing on the issues affecting me and other Umoja students, as well afterwich we would share a meal together, the spirit of a true and caring family.
All that seemed dark is now light altogether. Moral standards have also not been left behind as far as Umoja Project is concernerned. I am therefore confident to declare that Umoja Project is a foundation that moulds whole rounded citizens with a difference and whose impact on the society cannot be ignored.
I sincerly pray to God to keep uniting us and letting this family grow as much as possible. May He bless everyone who participates in this to ensure that everything keeps moving. In Kenya, we are humbled for such an honor. Surely you did not care about your ownselves but decided to awaken a dream and nurture it.
In 2019 we are supporting 135 students in secondary school (high school). We are proud of these young people and all they are accomplishing despite being orphaned. In Kenya, students have started their third and final term of the year and will be taking those KCSE exams that help to determine whether they can continue their studies at university or community schools. Please keep these children in your prayers as they finish out their year. We report back in December to let you know how the results came out!
Also don't forget to click on the link below to see a video thanks from Lorite Lorine.
Each year the Umoja Project sponsors students to attend secondary school. This year we have 19 girls enrolled at Sinyolo Girls School, one of the ten secondary schools our students attend. Pictured is Editor, a form 2 (10th grade) student and a partial orphan, who is leading her class in performance with an A-.
Because of the cultural challenges girls face, the Umoja Project prefers to support girls in schools that offer a better chance of success and boarding, if possible. All-girl schools allow our students to concentrate on their schooling and not be distracted by chores at home, concerns of safety walking to school, or challenges related to the opposite sex.
Attached is a letter of thanks from the Sinyolo girls attending this year. In the letter they promise "to work smart," encourage their younger siblings in the project, be good examples, and "to improve their society for a better tomorrow."
The overall theme of the work the Umoja Partnership does in Chulaimbo, Kenya is that opportunity for education provides HOPE for children who otherwise would not have the chance to further their schooling.
Many thanks to you for supporting these children for a better tomorrow.
January is a very busy time in Kenya as children are enrolled in their new school year. Students start their year in January, have three terms, and finish with end of year exams in November.
This year our Umoja students, who are progressing on to secondary school, have much to celebrate. The government is providing some funding for all children to attend secondary school, which helps to encourage children to continue their education. However, for our orphaned and vulnerable children the amount of fees remaining may still be too much for them to cover.
The great news is that since the government is chipping in some funding, the Umoja Partnership can utilize our funds to reach more children. Our ultimate goal is for 100% of our children to go to secondary school. This year we had 72 children who scored well enough on the KCPE (end of year testing) to qualify for Umoja Project scholarships for high school. Of those children, 21 received outside scholarships, which provide increased funding for uniforms and books. We were able to fund 45 Form 1 (first year) students. This brings our total to 135 Umoja students currently supported in secondary school for 2019.
Reflecting on our goal to send all students to school, most of the six remaining students are enrolled and attending. Only one child had not yet enrolled at the time of my visit in January.
Umoja had a large event on January 20th with the guardians and secondary students. One of the county government politicians came to speak about his own struggle as an orphan. Attached are a few pictures from our event. Jeconia also spoke and did a skit for the crowd. Jeconia is a special student, as he has lost the vision in one eye. He also has complete hearing loss in one ear and partial hearing loss in his other ear. The project helped him get a hearing aid, which has really opened up his world.
I send greetings from Kenya and many thanks for your support. It is with your support that these children are given hope for a brighter future. Asante sana!
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