Illustration by Eric Muhandia
Article By Jane Beatrice Obila
Cases of learners from poverty-stricken families who cannot continue with their education because of a shortage of finance in the country. Most of these cases come to the limelight immediately after the release of national examination results. Luckily, because many Kenyans are kind-hearted and value education, some of these cases have been successfully dealt with to the joy of those affected.
Resourceful foundations providing scholarships to bright but needy learners have also put in place programs to help needy students. Some of these foundations are the Wings to Fly Foundation by Equity Bank and Watoto Wasome founded by Ndugu Nyoro. These foundations have helped many learners who could not join various learning institutions because of the aforementioned problem to complete their studies with ease.
This is something to celebrate and continue advocating for because education is the bridge connecting young people to luminous lives in the future. It also helps parents and guardians who are not financially stable to enroll their kids in schools thus adhering to the Basic Education Act of 2013 which stipulates that any parent who is a Kenyan or whose child resides in the country must enroll them in both primary and secondary education.
The mentioned foundations give support to the scholars by providing tuition fees, accommodation, books, uniforms, shopping, and transport money to and from school. However, some of these private foundations have limited resources and are dependent on donations from members of the public for sustainability. It is, therefore, my wish that the public continues with their willful donation to these foundations so that most of the disadvantaged learners benefit from them.
Many low-income families in Kenya cannot afford to pay their children’s fees and at the same time put food on the table, especially during these tough economic times when prices of commodities have gone up hence the need to continue offering help to the needy learners regardless of where they come from. According to United States Agency for International Development (USAID), two-thirds of Kenyans live in poverty, making less than KSh.393.12 per day, this is an indicator that most families cannot fully pay school fees for their children thus the need for well-wishers to continue chipping in whenever there is a need.
Valuing education in the country started a long time ago with our late former presidents Daniel Moi and Mwai Kibaki who introduced Nyayo milk and free education respectively in public schools to promote education. As a country, we should continue with the same spirit by ensuring that all learners have access to quality education that will help them gain knowledge and skills necessary for future life preparation.
Helping these children get basic education will in turn curb crime cases in the country which are mostly committed as a result of unemployment and a lack of knowledge to make sound decisions. According to research done by Science Daily in 2018, education improves decision-making ability by making one more informed and knowledgeable and helps in enhancing critical thinking skills necessary for decision-making.
Helping needy learners will also help in ensuring that the government’s 100% transition policy from primary to secondary schools which is one step towards the attainment of universal basic education is achieved as well.
I cannot forget to thank the media fraternity which has been advocating for these learners by sharing their stories with the public who in return contributes whatever amount of money they have to help them. It is a good move.