In November, at the end of the Kenyan academic year, high school seniors take a national exam to certify their completion of secondary school. In the early years of the Project, our students struggled to perform as well on the exam as higher-income students who attended better-resourced schools. Through the years, however, our highly-motivated students have benefited from your steady support for their education and their scores have risen steadily.
This year was our best year yet! Of the 23 students who sat for the exam in 2015, 16 of them scored high enough to achieve direct admittance to the university with government support!!
2011 – 4 students (all boys)
2012 – 6 students (all boys)
2013 – 12 students (all boys)
2014 – 14 students (8 boys and 6 girls)
2015 – 16 students (8 boys and 8 girls)
This year’s accomplishment is 70% of our students, while the overall national average is only 30%. This remarkable achievement was made possible by your commitment to provide for these young students' education. On their behalf, we thank you for your generous support.
In late November the Kenyan school year came to a close. Across the country, students in Class 8 (8th grade) took the national exam which certifies their completion of primary school. Performance on this this exam is a critical determinant of the student's opportunities in secondary school. The higher the score, the better the high school one is eligible to attend. When scores are released in early January, we will select the 25 new secondary students we will support through high school. Our selection is based on personal circumstances and need, as well as academic performance on the exam.
Therefore, it is an anxious time for students like Sophy who took the exam last month. Sophy was orphaned at a very young age and lives with her two sisters and brother with their grandmother. The family gets by with support from the Global Interfaith Partnership: blankets for sleeping, a school lunch which assures her of one meal each day, and mentoring through the GET UP program.
At the end of the school term, Sophy was ranked #3 in her class. We wait anxiously for her exam results, and hope she made highest marks!
Thank you for your ongoing support for students like Sophy. As the Kenyan school year begins again in January, we count on your donations to be able to make sure another class of capable students can go to high school and fulfill their dreams!
Just today we received the following words of encouragement from a Kenyan school teacher:
This project has had an enormous impact on this community. It has truly transformed lives of the very needy and vulnerable children most of whom had no meals to eat, could not afford school fees and had totally lost hope in life after the demise of their parents. Through [Global Interfaith Partnership], hope and the future of these children has been restored.I can count a number of very dire cases who totally had no hope or future before but now are in the pipeline of becoming empowered enough to stand on their own and also support others in the predicament like theirs.
Beatrice is one such student. Beatrice's father died when she was very young, and her mother died of malaria in 2007. Now Beatrice lives with her grandmother and a brother who also is in school. With your support for her tuition, in spite of her humble background she is in Form 2 (sophomore year) at Sianda Secondary School. Her favorite school subjects are history, religious education and math. She also enjoys reading novels and writing poetry. In addition to her school fees, she is provided sanitary towels that allow her to attend classes regularly, and she participates in the GET UP program for adolescent girls.
Beatrice would like to become a journalist and prays that she "can make my parents proud even though they are no longer here."
Philip is another student whose future is being restored with your support. After the deaths of both parents, Phillip and his four siblings moved in with his grandmother. There is no money for school, and it seemed likely that this promising young student would have to drop out of school. Your support has made the difference, Phillip is now in his second year of high school. He travels a long distance for this privilege: his school is an hour and half walk from his grandmother's home. He enjoys studying geography, reading novels in English, and hopes to become an electrical engineer.
We thank you for your financial support which has made it possible for students such as Beatrice and Phillip to attend school. With your help, they will achieve their personal dreams, and will be able to participate fully in building a stronger community for the next generation. Thank you for caring for transforming the lives of these very needy and vulnerable children!
Often we are asked what happens to our students after they have finished secondary school. Are they able to continue their education at a university?
Increasingly our students are scoring so well on the comprehensive national exam at the end of high school that they are granted immediate entry to the university with government tuition assistance. In November, 2014, 26 of our students took the exam. All 26 students passed the exam, with over 50% (14 students) scoring well enough to be granted immediate university entry with government tuition assistance, compared to a 31% national average. One student, Omondi, achieved the highest possible grade of "A," a score attained by less than 1% of all students nationwide.
Omondi wants to study medicine and is waiting for his calling letter to one of the national universities. As the youngest of 5 children, Omondi's plans to become a doctor fulfill a dream for the entire family which has struggled to meet basic needs since his father died many years ago. Omondi's mother moved with the children back to the family home in rural Chulaimbo, but even with help from extended family it was impossible to pay the $350 annual tuition for the children's high school. With your support, all the children have completed high school and Omondi's "A" score is the capstone achievement of the entire family!
On behalf of Omondi's family, we thank you for your financial support which made his "A" possible. As Omondi heads off to university to become a doctor, many other young students are showing equal promise. We appreciate your commitment to making sure they also have the opportunity to get their education and contribute to their community!
Last November, 26 Umoja Project students sat for the national exam required at the conclusion of secondary school. The comprehensive exam takes several days to complete, and students spend months preparing. How well one performs on the exam dictates eligibility for university studies, and what courses of study a student may pursue.
In the Umoja Project's early years it was difficult for our students to do as well on the nation-wide exam as the students who had not faced so many obstacles to academic success. However, through the years we have seen steady improvement in the test scores our students have achieved, particularly the young men. Through the GET UP program (Girls Empowerment Team of the Umoja Project) the goal has been to help girls overcome the additional challenges they face as young women, such that they can perform as well as the boys on the national exam.
And in 2014 they did! Of the 26 students who sat the exam, 14 earned direct admittance to the university with government support and 6 of those highest-achieving students are girls! Congratulations to Caroline, Maurine, Helida, Emily, Carolyne, Risper, John Peter, Rodgers, Alex, Hillary, Michael, Elly, Joel, and Fredrick!
We are so proud of the accomplishments of all 26 students. You remain a part of the Umoja Family and we are eager to see where your paths of success will lead.
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