Urafiki’s secondary education scheme was set up in August 2004 to provide sponsored school places for children who would otherwise miss out on an education. There are currently over 240 places on the scheme (and to date over 200 young people have been supported in this way).

In Kenya, education beyond the age of 14 has to be paid for, which puts it beyond the reach of many families. The three types of secondary school – national, provincial and district – each have a different academic level. A pupil’s final exam grades at primary school will determine which secondary school would suit them best.

Urafiki’s team in Yala considers applications from young people across the different tribes and religions, and those who live in extreme poverty. They look out for students who have academic potential combined with a real commitment to studying. Sometimes young people will have encountered huge obstacles in their lives, yet their sheer will to learn makes them stand out.

The scheme has already had a very positive effect in the community. For many young people, the alternative to school is deprivation, unemployment, and ultimately self-neglect leading to drug or alcohol abuse. For girls, there is the added danger of becoming pregnant at a very young age – with all the associated health risks – and early marriage. Education can quite literally be a lifesaver for some of these youngsters.

As more and more Urafiki students complete their education, they are moving on to vocational training, going to university, and finding jobs. They have seized this opportunity and studied hard, emerging full of confidence, with fresh skills, and the very real possibility of lifting themselves and their families out of poverty.

Seeing the difference an education can make, more parents are sending their children to primary school in the hope that they, too, might be chosen to join the Urafiki secondary scheme when they are older. This is their children’s best hope for a brighter future, and each year the queue of children waiting for a place grows longer. It’s a great vote of confidence, and we would love to be able to help everyone who applies, but it’s just not possible. That’s why we’re always seeking new sponsors!

If you think you’d like to know more, please contact us so we can explain what’s involved in becoming a sponsor, and how rewarding it can be!

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