Today is the first day back to school for pupils.
For many children that are living in poverty in Njoro going to school is just a dream. They come to the realisation and acceptance that school is not an option for them at a young age and seeing how their parents struggle, they resign themselves to a similar life of hardship and poverty.
The government will tell you that education is now free in Kenya – the reality is quite different.
Every child is required to go to ECD (like preschool) They will need to complete a year before being allowed to go to primary, even if they are teenagers! ECD is not government funded and therefore is very expensive, but it is necessary before being admitted to primary. That’s the first hurdle families face and what stops the majority even starting school.
Then, for those going to primary or secondary, there are the admission fees, an entrance exam that costs money and a ‘desk fee’. You’d think this is to pay for the school desk but it’s not actually bought and just a way to set a fee. There is also the ‘activities fee’. This is not extra swimming lessons or afterschool activities…no, this is to pay towards the school projects such as building toilets or fencing the compound…. you get the picture.
And if by any way possible the family can afford that, there is the cost of uniforms, books and termly exam fees, all of which are needed to be allowed to attend. Children without are sent home. So you see, education is NOT free! In fact, the cost of enrolling your child into school for those living in poverty is equivalent to about two months wages! That’s a lot to save, especially when you don’t even earn enough to provide meals for your family and there are days you all go hungry. Now imagine that is just one child ….and they have 4!
Thanks to your support, today we have been able to make sure all school aged children in all our families have the fees, uniforms and equipment they need. You have helped give these children the opportunity to realise their dreams, have hope, reach their full potential and to break the cycle of poverty. Some are older children starting for the first time, thank you for helping to change their lives.
Please pray for protection from coronavirus for all children.