Abel and Jacob returned to university two weeks ago. They are catching up on the term time lost to the Covid 19 lockdown last year. Both are happy to be back and seeing their course passing by, with final exams and graduation getting closer. This is Abel's last semester - at least it will be if there are no further delays or lockdowns. He is now getting excited about the prospect of starting his career in the very near future.
Jacob still has a little over a year to go but at least he can see progress being made.
Both boys have maintained an excellent grade average and have taken this opportunity very seriously indeed. We hope that they will stay safe and healthy and that the current low impact of Covid 19 on the health of Kenyans remains that way.
The financial problems suffered by various supporters and donors over the past year have made it a challenge to keep both boys on their course but they are so close now and have performed so well that they deserve to be top of our priorities. Every cent helps them achieve a goal which will be a wonderful achievement for two boys who have been determined to get off the streets and to make the best of themselves. Please help them get there!
Our university students are still none the wiser as to when they will return to university. We were told this would happen in January about a month ago; then three weeks ago we were told 'September'. We are now well into September and have been told October - then back to January. So, we really haven't a clue when studies will resume. Some private universities have started online classes for certain courses. Unfortunately, both Jacob and Abel are in government universities which have not started any form of online study. If they do not go back in January and manage to catch up on the 9 months they will have missed out on tuition in 2020, their learning is going to be set back by anything from 6 months to a year or more. Adding semesters to their courses will of course not only mean they will graduate later, but will mean additional costs for a further year or so.
This delay is so upsetting to the boys - and to all the others in the same boat as them. Financing youths in education is a struggle for many families and this delay could mean many will not return to education but will drop out now to pursue whatever income generation they can. This also is easier said than done as so many people have lost businesses and jobs due to covid 19 and finding any kind of paid work is a struggle. This not only affects students stuck at home trying to make ends meet but is affecting their parents and families who may not be able to pay university fees in 2021 due to financial struggles now.
Abel and Jacob have both found local part time work to help survive this trying time but we are still subsidising their rent. Both boys are determined to study as much as they can and to return to classes as soon as possible to finish their degrees. They have strong characters due to the tough lives they have lived and they know how important it is that they graduate to have brighter futures. We will continue to support them and hope that they can get back to their studies as soon as possible.
Thank you for helping them!
What strange times we are living in! Who could have imagined the global disruption brought upon us all these past months by Covid 19? In Kenya, we have mixed blessings. The Government acted swiftly when the country’s first case was diagnosed and closed down international air traffic. The Ugandan authorities closed their land border with the country and, recently land borders with neighbouring Somalia and Tanzania were also closed. A track and trace system was implemented, quarantining those with the illness and their contacts and this continues. We now have just over 1,000 diagnosed cases in the country, mainly in Nairobi and Mombasa. The rest of the country underwent varying degrees of lockdown and stay at home recommendations. Schools and universities were closed as were large markets, churches, hotels, restaurants (except for takeaway food), sports facilities and ‘non essential’ businesses eg hair salons. Although this was a wise move in the early days of the pandemic to prevent loss of life and pressure on a health system ill equipped to cope, as two months have passed by, people are really feeling the economic strain in a country that does not have unemployment assistance or other social welfare supports. The large self-employed sector are really feeling the pinch and suffering genuine hardship. The same applies to those employed in businesses impacted by the lockdown such as tourism, where many staff have lost their jobs and income. Our boys in university were sent home in March when all learning institutions were closed. Both boys are from impoverished backgrounds without parental support so are reliant on us to help them survive through these difficult times. Both of them have always been willing to find some casual work to help out but, right now, there is little by way of casual work and, what there is, is in high demand. Furthermore, Kenyan institutions of learning lag behind in terms of online classes and there was little time for teachers and lecturers to prepare ‘holiday assignments’ to be taken home as the announcement that schools and colleges would close immediately was made over a weekend. So, the boys are reliant on being able to access the internet and do their own research and revision with no assistance in order to keep up to date on their studies. This, of course, requires niceties such as electricity, internet access etc which we take for granted in the west but are not always available in Kenya where daily power cuts have been the norm in this part of the country. However, they are trying to keep up with their studies and to occupy their time effectively. Of course, like every student in the country, they are hoping and praying that they will be able to return to their studies soon to avoid having to add an extra semester or worse to their time in the education system. This is now becoming an increasingly likely scenario. In the meantime, we are providing them with basic essentials and moral support to get them through this. And that is where we need your help. In addition to these two boys, we are also trying to provide such support to many youths in our area who suddenly find themselves with no income at all. Thank you for thinking of them.
Abel and Jacob returned to university ten days ago after the Christmas break. Another semester has started and both boys are getting closer and closer to the end of their university education - something that they never dreamed possible!
During the break, Jacob lost his father and is even more alone in the world than he was before. His father had not been able to provide much support or presence in Jacob's life, however, he was still his father and it was a loss to bear.
We have found it incredibly difficult to raise donor funding for these boys. It is not through any fault of theirs. It is simply that people's sympathies tend to lie with much younger children. Teenagers and young adults never seem to attract as much attention as they are simply not cute and cuddly. We are, however, determined to ensure these boys finish their education as they have earned their places through hard work and determination. It has made us rethink Child Rescue Kenya's policy on third level education and we realise we cannot continue to offer university opportunities without better funding to other youths. It is a great shame but we will continue to support youths through vocational training.
Thank you to everyone who has supported the boys this far and, with a bit of help, we can see them through!
Happy new year to you all!
Our boys are doing ok. They are both still in university and obtaiining top grades. Jacob completed an internship in Eldoret town in his last term. This was good work experience for him but also posed challenges in finding accommodation and being out on his own in a place where he knew no one. Abel had a short break in August for holiday but is now back to the grindstone.
Both boys, we are sure, are eagerly anticipating the short break they will get over Christmas which will enable them to come back to Kitale, catch up with friends and have a well deserved rest.
Neither boy would be where they are now without the help and support of Child Rescue Kenya's supporters who have enabled them to transition from life on the streets of Kitale town to earning top marks in university. Both of these boys face a bright, hope filled future thanks to you and they intend to do you proud!
Thanks for your continued support - we will post some pictures when we see the boys over Christmas!
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