Education  Kenya Project #30934

Educate Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Kenya

by Margaret Okari Children's Foundation
Educate Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Kenya
Educate Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Kenya
Educate Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Kenya
Educate Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Kenya
Educate Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Kenya
Educate Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Kenya
Educate Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Kenya
Educate Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Kenya
Educate Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Kenya
Educate Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Kenya
Educate Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Kenya
Educate Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Kenya
Educate Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Kenya
Educate Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Kenya
Educate Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Kenya
Educate Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Kenya
Educate Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Kenya
Educate Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Kenya
Educate Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Kenya
Educate Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Kenya
Educate Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Kenya
Educate Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Kenya
Educate Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Kenya
Educate Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Kenya
Educate Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Kenya
Educate Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Kenya
Spontaneous dancing on a May afternoon
Spontaneous dancing on a May afternoon

This is a just quick note to let you know that we are consolidating our presence on GlobalGiving into our 2019 Campaign project page, which you can find here: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/ten-years-educating-orphans-in-kenya/. We will continue posting periodic updates to that page, and all recurring donations made through older project pages, including this one, will automatically roll over to the 2019 Campaign page.

You can find our most recent update, written by one of our alumni, Douglas, here: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/ten-years-educating-orphans-in-kenya/updates/#progressReports.

Thank you for your ongoing interest, partnership, and support. We hope you have a wonderful summer!

With gratitude,
The Margaret Okari Children’s Foundation team

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Happy New Year!

As we get ready to start the new Kenyan school year this week, we are very proud to report that results of the 2018 national exams came in and once again we ranked 1st in our district of more than 140 schools! Additionally, four of our students scored in the top 1% nationwide!

Not only have we ranked first two years in a row, but our students are also performing at levels that make them competitive with some of the best in the country. Each November, 8th graders across Kenya take a national exam that determines which high schools they will qualify for. The exam is scored out of 500, and the highest score in the country is typically around 450. This year, the top score nationally was 453. Of our 22 8th graders who sat for the exam, four scored above 400, placing them in the top 1% of students across Kenya. These are remarkable results given the context in which we work, the social and economic disadvantages our students face, and the fact that we operate on such a lean budget. The fact that we are graduating students who are performing so highly reflects both our driving focus on providing marginalized children with the best academic foundation possible and our commitment to use each dollar available to us for maximum impact.

The following is a note our Founder and Executive Director, Kwamboka Okari, sent after receiving news of the results:

Hi all you good people!

We are all very excited about the performance of our 8th graders. Yesterday the community of Gotichaki poured into our school compound and broke in song and dance, in celebration of our school's performance...

Yes, we are No. ONE once again, out of 141 schools, this time round. We learned this yesterday. Our 1st student scored 427 out of 500 marks. The 1st student in Kenya scored 453 out of 500 marks. Twenty-two of our students sat for the exams. Four scored 427, 422, 416 and 409, respectively. For the next week, the head teacher and myself will be busy sourcing for scholarships for those who qualify for one. Will keep you posted of the outcome.

Once again, I would like to thank you very much for your continued support. Trust me, without your dedication and commitment to our cause, our school would not be where it is today.

Our warm regards,
Kwamobka

We are very excited to begin our 11th school year and thank you for your continued partnership. As Kwamboka said, our school and the hundreds of vulnerable children we educate each year would not be where they are without you!

Happy New Year,
The Okari Team

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Mark, age 5, is in kindergarten
Mark, age 5, is in kindergarten

This update comes from Founder and Executive Director Kwamboka Okari, who wanted to introduce one of our newest students, five-year-old Mark (pictured): 

Mark was brought to our school for an interview earlier this year. One might wonder what sort of interview a five-year-old is expected to take. However, because the number of children brought to our school is very high, and the number of slots limited, we have a policy of conducting some form of interview in order to determine who we will admit. We try hard to admit the children who need us most and who will benefit most from the education and support we can provide.

On the day Mark came to our school to interview, he did not come with a death certificate. Since we are a school and home for orphans, one of the requirements of admission is a death certificate of either a mother or a father or both. We use this in addition to information provided by children's relatives and community members to ensure people do not take advantage of us or deceive us in order to get their children into our school. Unfortunately, people have attempted that in the past, especially given our reputation as one of the best schools in the region. Of course, we want to make sure we remain a school for children most in need.

When we asked Mark for a death certificate, he started crying. So one of our teachers pulled him to the side and sat him down and asked why he was crying. What he told the teacher between sobs made the teacher also start to cry.

Eventually, he explained that “I do not know where my father is and my mother is crippled.” It turned out that his mother had a polio attack, which left her crippled, and soon after the attack, Mark’s father abandoned them. Mark's mother, now physically handicapped, is unable to work and unable to care for Mark or support him in school.

After evaluating the full set of circumstances and meeting his mother, we determined to admit Mark to our school. He is now part of our kindergarten class and is settling in well. He says his favorite subjects are English and Kiswahili – hopefully a linguist in the making!

Our kids come to us having faced very difficult situations, often at very young ages. We really work hard to create a safe and nurturing environment for them and to use our years with them to provide the best education and foundation for success we can. Thank you for your help, which makes this work possible!

~Kwamboka

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Elizabeth (center) with Cecilia and Emmanuel
Elizabeth (center) with Cecilia and Emmanuel

In this update, we wanted to introduce you to two siblings at our school: 13-year-old Cecilia and her younger brother, Emmanuel, who is 10.

Cecilia and Emmanuel are pictured above with their mother, Elizabeth, now 35. According to our founder, Kwamboka Okari, “Traditionally, Margaret Okari Primary School is an educational institution for orphaned children. However, when Elizabeth brought Cecilia and Emmanuel to our school and explained her circumstances, we could not help but admit them.”

Until 2011, Elizabeth was a young, married mother, working and earning enough money to take care of her two children and put them through school. Then she fell ill, developing stomach pain and a large growth that protruded from the left side of her stomach. She went to a local hospital where she was prescribed medicine that provided no relief. In 2012, with symptoms worsening, she was admitted to another hospital, where she ended up staying for eight months. During that time, her husband left her and abandoned their children. Now, several years later and a de facto single mother, Elizabeth’s condition continues to worsen. She has developed four protruding growths and is unable to work. No longer capable of supporting her children (there is no social safety net to help with medical care or child support), Elizabeth brought them to our school.

Cecilia is now part of our sixth-grade class, and Emmanuel, who fell a bit behind in school due to his mother’s illness, is in second grade. “Both are very bright kids,” Kwamboka said, “determined to succeed in whatever they do. We have very high hopes for them.”

Thank you, as always, for your generous support. We work very hard to deliver the best possible education to kids in need, including Cecilia and Emmanuel. Thank you for giving them a chance. We couldn't do it without you!

With gratitude,
The Margaret Okari Children’s Foundation Team

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Girls perform during community water celebration
Girls perform during community water celebration

Dear Friends, 

After many years of hard work and persistence in partnership with Rotary International, the Rotary Club of Andover, MA, and Water Mission Kenya, we helped to bring a safe, clean, reliable source of water to the community of Gotichaki, where our school is located. Our Founder and Executive Director, Kwamboka Okari, shared the following message from a community-wide celebration held this spring:

We finally celebrated the H2Okari Safe Water Project yesterday. It was great and we had representatives from many quarters, including the Kisii County, the Constituency and the Community. 

Since November, 2017 when the taps started flowing with safe, clean and treated water, everyone in and around the community of Gotichaki started talking about the water which Margaret Okari school was instrumental in bringing to the community.

All our immediate neighbours i.e. the dispensary, the polytechnic, the high school and the primary school are all enjoying safe clean water. Not to mention all the people in the surrounding Gotichaki area.

No one ever imagined that they will ever have safe, clean and treated water piped from the stream down in the valley, flowing from taps near their homes. There are two points where taps are stationed. One at the dispensary and another one behind our school, by Evan's Kiosk.

During the dry season in December, January and part of February, when lines were long at the stream and water was trickling, the Gotichaki community found a safe and clean water haven outside the Margaret Okari School, where they fetched water with ease. A 20 litre jerrycan sells for Shs. 5/-.

From all of Us, we would like to say a Big "THANK YOU" to the Rotary Club of Andover, the Rotary Club International and the Water Mission Kenya, for bringing Margaret Okari School and the Gotichaki Community this sought-after commodity called "WATER".

May God bless everyone who played their part to make this H2Okari Water Project a reality and a Huge success.

Kwamboka

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Organization Information

Margaret Okari Children's Foundation

Location: Carmichael, CA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @MargaretOkari
Project Leader:
Jessica Lewis
Andover, MA United States

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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