a young man who is about to finish his Secondary Education at Moi Forces Academy in Nairobi at the end of this year. He has been supported by Kesho through Secondary School. “If I hadn’t gotten the Kesho sponsorship I would not have gone to a National School. In search for school fees I would have missed school or may not even have finished Secondary school.”
He is a talkative young man with a clear vision for the future. “Depending on my grades I would like to study mechanical engineering; as a second option I can also see myself studying IT.”
Many of his Primary School mates did not continue with Secondary Education. “I am still in touch with them. Some of them work as ‘boda boda’ drivers and some are already married and have families. They encourage me a lot to continue with school and some even say I should become the next governor.”
He is very open and not afraid to speak his mind. “The society has not done its best in terms of leadership. Some people see the coastal communities as being lazy. True or not; some people don’t think of tomorrow or about others. I would like to change that attitude. Education is really important; it is the way to get information and knowledge is power.”
I am ready for the exams”, says 18 years old Khadija. She is a Form 4 student at Alliance Girls High School. “I want to perform well; it is about my life and want to raise above my current status. Being sponsored gives me even more motivation to perform well”.
Like many other young women she loves swimming and traveling. Traveling might also become part of her future career. “I would like to study marine engineering with focus on piloting. Currently only three women in Kenya do that. I find that very interesting and it would give me the chance to travel to other countries.” However the final decision is not done and she still considers other options. “My friends and even teachers tell me to become a journalist. I am a good communicator and can articulate myself very well. They also say that I bring life to stories.” We are sure she will choose the right subject when time comes.
If she talks about education she becomes very passionate. “Education is the key to life; the world is a better place with education. I can’t imagine a life without knowledge.”
It is true, she brings life to stories!
Some are born fighters; they never give up. Rehma is surely one of them and we don’t want to miss share her story with you.
At the age of 24, Rehma marvels at last to join Secondary school after 8 years of stay at home due to lack of school fees. When she tells her story, the joy of being back in school after such a long period is written all over her face.
Having been raised in a family of nine with both her parents jobless, she thought that her dreams were shuttered. It was a bitter pill to swallow, as she had to watch her mates enroll in different Secondary schools.
Rehma decided not to give up and trained in a local salon where she was able to learn how to do people’s hair to raise her school fees. It was not an easy job for her since the pay was a low as KES 500 per month. However, she knew that she had to make it so she went for another job in another salon but the same low pay problem trailed her.
She felt badly she needed to go to school but that is not what she wanted. Struggling alone she decided to approach a teacher at Majaoni Secondary School who promised to enroll her in the school if she brought KES 20,000.
That is the time she got in touch with Kesho organization and for once in her lifetime she began dreaming again. She could see a tomorrow again. She enrolled at Majaoni Secondary School not carrying of her age. To those in her shoes, she gladly advises them to be open with their problems and above all, education is for everyone, the age matters less.
Rehma is now in Form 1 and she still has a few years to go. However we are confident that she will make her way through Secondary School. We wish her all the best and are happy to walk that path with her.
Martha is an ECD teacher living in Kilifi. As a mother of four she runs a charcoal business to sustain her family. Kesho supports one of her children in Secondary School. She is also an active member of Makinika group (cluster group established with the support of Kesho in 2014).
How did you get to know Kesho? When? What is your relationship with Kesho?
In 2011, my husband had an accident and all our savings, which were meant for school fees, were used for his medical treatment. I was looking around for assistance to ensure that my children can continue going to school and the chief directed me to Kesho. We went through the application process, interviews and we were successful, my son then had gotten an admission letter to Moi Forces Secondary, Nairobi.
Kesho has assisted not only through the sponsorship but also by giving legal advise, skills in the area of child protection and business management.
How did you come up with your business idea? How is your business doing?
I have been running a charcoal business for a year now and can say it is successful.
Though I am working as an ECD teacher I have to generate additional income to sustain my family since my husband cannot work anymore after his accident. I used to run a small restaurant but it was not very successful; mainly because of being a teacher, I could not be present at the business site and monitoring it was a challenge. I decided to venture into the charcoal business, which I can easily manage besides my teacher job. I started with 10 bags, and then I got a loan from Makinika Group and expanded to 44 bags. I only sell in bulk; mostly to restaurants and so far it is doing well though the business is still young but I hope to reinvest most of the profit to help expand it.
Of course I am also facing challenges like poor quality of charcoal or customers who don’t pay on time. However that additional income gives me the chance to sustain my family and to pay school fees for three of our four children.
Martha presenting her stock of charcoal bags
What are the benefits of being part of Makinika group?
There are a number of benefits I get from the group. For instance, the table banking gives me the opportunity to save as well as to get loans. Last year we introduced a ‘food merry-go-round’, (sugar, maize flour and wheat flour) which has been of great support for my family and I. I learnt about business management and my knowledge on child protection has been increased.
What do you advise other women entrepreneurs?
As a woman you have many tasks, don’t give up and trust in your God. Never ignore opportunities especially when people offer to support you. Look ahead and always continue taking steps forward.
Charcoal ready to be sold
Every school holiday all Kesho sponsored students come for an interview to the Kesho office. Other than evaluating their academic performance we also give guidance and support where required. In order to have quality time with each student we engage a number of volunteers who assist us with those interviews.
Let’s hear what they have to say:
Amina Omar, 2nd Year Moi University
“I find it very interesting to do these interviews because I get to meet many students with different personalities. Some may have weaknesses in specific subjects and here is where I come in to encourage them and together figure out how to improve.”
Kesho Alumni, awaiting to join university next year
“It’s the second time I am assisting with the end of term interviews. The students share their wishes and goals; and it was interesting to hear that a number of the children aspire to be doctors. I like helping children dream and set realistic goals”
Trained and experienced ECD teacher
“I have a passion for children and have been assisting with end of term interviews for 8 years. This has given me the chance to see children grow and experiencing the journey through Kesho is just wonderful.”
JUSTIN MWALIMU PONDA
3rd year student at Pwani University
“Education is my passion; I like interacting with children. Through these interviews, I get experience in my area of study. Most importantly I get insights into the student’s life, like their interests, struggles etc. hence share my experiences to motivate them as I can identify with most of these issues.”
Trained and experienced Accountant
“This exercise is very interactive, I like that. I get to know more about the students and it is interesting to see how things have changed since my school days. It also gives me the opportunity to advise the students on various social and academic issues.”