It breaks my heart to see so many willing and qualified students being left at home because they and their family can not afford primary school costs or the high cost of going to secondary (high school). Some of you may say….”I thought Kenya had free education.” Well, they say primary education is free but in our years working and living there we’ve not found one primary school where education is free. We’ve had students sent home because they couldn’t pay 20 ksh (about 20 cents) for a test paper. Many times schools either don’t have the money to purchase enough text books or the school administration (or higher ups) have “eaten” the money and won’t buy books. It is not unusual to see 20-30-40 kids sharing 1 textbook. Plus the cost of uniform (mandatory in Kenya), shoes and other supplies make it tough, if not impossible.
And that’s just primary. Secondary education is not free and the fees are substantially higher, making it even more difficult for families to send their children to school. Most secondary schools are boarding schools (don’t even get me started on that concept) and that means all the items necessary for living away from home are required. Toilet paper, clothes washing soap, personal hygiene items, mattress, sheets, text books, pencils and so much more are needed and are not provided by the school.
Isn’t the future of any country based upon educating it’s citizens? To see the tears of those who will not be able to continue schooling or even begin high school should be a wake up call for a country, but unfortunately for most it isn’t. For the beginning of this school year (Kenya school year is January-November) Saved By God’s Grace paid $8500 in school fees/supplies and we are still getting requests to help more students (one student I wrote about yesterday).
This young girl was selling roasted maize in the market to try and come up with fees….but now she’s able to attend secondary!
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