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Orphan School Scholarship Program in Kenya

Orphan School Scholarship Program in Kenya

Background on the region:
Wajir County is situated in the heart of North Eastern Kenya. It covers about 56,800km and mostly inhabited by Kenyan Somalis who are Muslims and are nomads’. Pastoralism is the economic backbone of their living.

Poverty & Illiteracy:
Since Kenya attained independence in 1963, Northern Kenya has remained sidelined and marginalized due to the remoteness and the harsh climate. The region is generally underdeveloped compared to the rest of the country. 64% of the inhabitants live below the poverty line. The road infrastructure is almost non-existent with its more than 1800km road stretching from the capital, Nairobi, to the North East border town of Mandera remaining unpaved. More than 90% of households in the region have no access to power, clean water or adequate nutrition. This situation is compounded by perennial droughts that ravage the nomadic lifestyle.

“Three meals a day is a luxury,” says Fatuma Hussein who seeks out living as a milk vendor at Orahey Market in Wajir town. Fatuma who moved into town after their livestock perished in the 2005 drought, feeds her family with such a meager income and the predicament is the same for the entire Wajir County. Most of the pastoralist dropouts settled at the periphery of Wajir town or far interior in the county solely depending on food aid. In most parts of the county, the majority of households live in makeshift homes locally called “herio” made of inferior materials for roofing, flooring, and walls. The people who mainly depend on humanitarian aid have not known other alternative source of livelihood apart from pastoralism and this became too risky due to recurrent droughts.

Education is costly:
Poverty and illiteracy typically go together in this part of the world and indeed across the globe. The inhabitants, who are mainly livestock keepers, give less attention to the education of their children. The official illiteracy rate in North Eastern region, Wajir County included, is unbelievably at 83 percent! Many people here have never had the opportunity to go to school. Many grapple with poverty and hopelessness.

“I withdrew my children from school because I could not afford to pay their school fees,” says Hassan Ali, a resident of Wagberi village in Wajir. Wajir County endures acute shortages of learning institutions and relies heavily on poorly equipped government schools. Persistent droughts have not made the grave situation simpler as nomads withdraw students from schools to cater for their livestock. The hope of completion of the four-year secondary course requirements is jeopardized due to lack of school fees and other scholastic materials.

Wajir County has currently a total of 37 high schools with a total enrollment of 18,000 students. Even as the government subsidized the cost of secondary education in Kenya, the situation is still too much to bear for the parents of many these students in the secondary schools.

Orphan scholarship program – A Baitulmaal Intervention:
The Baitulmaal Organization has initiated a program to provide scholarships for 67 orphan students of high school age. We were able to reach students in 16 high schools out of the total 37 high schools in the County due to limited resources and logistics. Some of the orphans came from Wajir children’s orphanage that is supported by Baitulmaal. Baitulmaal has started the program with an annual donation of $15,000. The average cost of educating a child in high school (9th grade to 12th grade) is about $250. The provided scholarships will greatly enhance the retainment and graduation of these orphan students from poor families. It will also lift the heavy burden off the shoulders of widows struggling for survival, thus giving these children a chance to succeed in life.

Waiting List:
The community here appreciates very much this educational support which is only one of its kind offered by non-profits in these regions. They are praying and requesting for the continuity and enhancement of this program. Many parents come to this office every day very appreciative and requesting for more. We have a waiting list of another 100 orphans that we could not accommodate.

SUMMARY FOR BOARDING SCHOOLS

SCHOOLS NO OF ORPHANS RATE KSH USD
Kutulo Girls 4 20,000 80,000 1,000
Wajir Girls 5 20,000 100,000 1,250
Tarbaj Secondary 5 20,000 100,000 1,250
Wajir high Sec 9 20,000 180,000 2,250
Sabunley Secondary 4 20,000 80,000 1,000
Khorof Harar 8 20,000 160,000 2,000
Mansa Secondary 6 20,000 120,000 1,500
Hon Khalif Secondary 2 20,000 40,000 500
Habaswein boy 1 20,000 20,000 250
Ribe boys High School 1 20,000 20,000 250
Wajir Bor 1 20,000 20,000 250
Alim High School 1 30,000 30,000 375
SUB-TOTAL 47 950,000 11,875
SUMMARY FOR DAY SCHOOLS
Furaha Secondary 8 10,000 80,000 1,000
Ahmed Liban 5 10,000 50,000 625
Wagberi Secondary 6 10,000 60,000 750
Faulu Secondary 2 10,000 20,000 250
SUB-TOTAL 21 210,000 2,625
GRAND TOTAL 68 1,160,000 14,500