We know the value of education goes well beyond learning history lessons. A more educated individual is a more fulfilled individual with the tools to make better choices for their own, and for their children's lives. Indeed, a more educated world is a less violent world.
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HOW DOES STUDENT SPONSORSHIP WORK?
Our student sponsorship program enables as many children in this rural area of Eastern Kenya to attend a top-notch school regardless of whether they could afford school fees, a uniform including a pair of shoes, a backpack, exercise books, pencils, or a pencil sharpener. It is our largest source of funding for the school. At Vutakaka Primary and Junior Schools, we also serve a nutritious daily lunch and offer students free comprehensive healthcare, all made possible through your sponsorship. These students would not otherwise have access to an education that would allow them to qualify to attend high school.
Once you begin your sponsorship, we will match you will a student at our school and email electronic photos of them. Twice during the year, you will receive an individual project from the student you are matched. Projects in the past have included art creations, essays and poems, and computer projects created on students' XO laptops from One Laptop Per Child (OLPC). The first mailing you will receive each year will also have a printed photo of that student. Toward the end of the year, sponsors receive a special gift such as a calendar or a school yearbook.
The EAC serves a population of over 20,000 living in the rural Takaungu location of the Kilifi District in the Coast Providence of Kenya. Statistics demonstrate the vulnerability of this population compared to Kenya’s national averages. Nationally, 47% of Kenya’s population is living below the poverty line, while 67% of residents in Kilifi District are considered to be living in absolute poverty (World Bank and NACPD), and 57% live over 5km from the nearest health facility (NACPD). The mortality rate for children under 5 for Kenya is 98 deaths per 100,000 live births (World Bank) compared to 114 in the Kilifi District. Similarly, school enrollment in Kilifi District is significantly lower than national averages, at 66% vs. 107% primary enrollment and 13% vs. 67% secondary enrollment, respectively.
Upon visiting this region on her first trip to Kenya, our founder Suzanne Wilson saw this for herself. Public services at the time were out of reach to the locals, and she was inspired to to make a difference. Now, we partner with the government and the local community to provide much needed health and educational services, striving for sustainability.
CAN I COMMUNICATE WITH / SEND GIFTS TO THE STUDENT I AM MATCHED WITH?
We understand and appreciate your desire for two way communication between you and the student you are matched with. As you watch them grow, you feel close to them and want to build a relationship. We have chosen not to facilitate letters or gifts going to individual students at the school. We avoid some students feeling favored at the school while other students never receive letters or gifts from their sponsor. We do not want to create imbalances at the school.
We also have some sponsors who have found a way to send letters to the student they are matched with by getting a class of students in their home country to write letters to an entire class there. Then no student is favored and everyone receives and gets to write a letter to someone outside the country.
At the same time, because we believe in the value of two way communication, we are working on a platform that would enable that to take place. As internet access becomes possible in the village in the coming years, we imagine creating a social network for students and sponsors to communicate.