While Africa SOMA fundraises to provide high school scholarships for the 2013 primary graduates of Elangata Wuas Kenya, we thought we’d take the time to check in and provide updates on a few of our previous scholarship winners.
Matampash, one of our 2005 scholarship recipients graduated in 2009 and is currently attending Moi University, studying Analytical Chemistry and Computing. Without Africa SOMA’s scholarship he doubts he would have been able to attend secondary school as finances were tight. “I worked hard” he says of his time at high school, where he participated in many math contests. It was during his high school education that he realized his passion for science “I was good in Chemistry at my school and it was my best subject”. But Matampash isn’t one to only reminisce about the past; “I would like to do a Masters and a PhD if possible. I would like to be someone in the community”.
Gladys, a 2009 scholarship recipient will be graduating this year. “The scholarship helped me to motivate my education” Gladys says. And her education hasn’t only motivated her; “Most girls in the community don’t go to secondary school because they drop [out] in primary. They see me as an important person who can help them... I’ll be a role model to their children by having got an education, so that will motivate many girls to work hard in their education and also try their best to get the scholarship.” And she’s not only planning to be a role model in her community – she plans to become a doctor, a doctor that remains invested in pastoralism. “It [pastoralism] will help me because if I need something, I’ll sell my cattle. I want to work and continue with pastoralism.”
Eunice, a 2009 scholarship winner is currently in accounting college and is hoping to find a job near Elangata Wuas when she graduates. “Without the scholarship I would not have been able to afford high school” she says. Monica, another 2009 recipient, agrees “When I finished my primary education there was much drought, so my parents were not able to pay for me to go to secondary school. When I got my scholarship I was able to go”.
School has also provided the students, who grew up in predominately Maasai community, the opportunity to integrate with other students. “I like this.” says Monica “I can learn about their culture, how they live at home and perform their duties. I also share things about Maasai culture.” Gladys agrees “Now I know how to interact with them (Muslim students). Socially, I like it.”
While all our scholarship winners had much to say about their educational experiences, Gladys eloquent statement sums up why Africa SOMA continues to provide scholarships year after year: “Education is empowerment”