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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