2 years ago at the end of Team Maisha summer missions 2008, our founder Beatrice made a bold proclamation of faith. She committed Maisha to sponsor the cost of education for all grade eight students in the 3 primary schools in our village and surrounding areas – Omungi, Kadiju, and Ayaro. This group consisted of 114 children at the time. We were so encouraged that they were progressing and wanted to give at least the children at this critical turning point in life a chance to succeed and continue on to high school. Thus, our Legacy of Hope Fund was established.
You see, grade eight is the age where if you aren’t measuring up by Kenyan government standards, you are relegated to a life with no further education. It is the age where many young girls start families and young men are drawn into corruption and violence by political factions. In 2008, none of the children in the village were able to pass the KCPE (Kenyan Certificate for Primary Education) due to many reasons. The main reason was lack of English language skills – the test is administered in English. That automatically eliminated any chance of our children even sitting for the exams. When the commitment was made to sponsor education for all grade eight students, there was an understanding by the schools that this had to change. Volunteers from Team Maisha had been working hard at the schools all summer with the teachers and students to teach English. Other mission participants continued during the next 2 summers to come and build on those English skills.
The students rose to the challenge and as a result, over 50% of the Maisha children who took the KCPE in November 2010 passed. Not only did they pass, but they passed with flying colors – It takes a score of 250 to pass, and most of their scores were 288 to 361 As a result, 23 children will begin high school this February.
Ibriham Onyango Ouma is a total orphan, who has lived at Maisha since its inception in 2006. He leads the boys singing group, is an excellent drummer, and is learning to play the guitar. He is one of the children who were sponsored for education in class eight. Brittany Koster, a Team Maisha Summer 2009 participant and student at University of Central Oklahoma, saw so much potential in this young man that she decided to personally sponsor his education for $35 per month. This ensured not only was his tuition paid, but his books, clothing, food, and basic necessities were also met so he could truly concentrate on school. In the middle of grade eight, Ibrahim participated in Maisha’s first essay scholarship competition in the summer of 2010. He wrote an essay on what he wanted to be and why – a surgeon, so he can help his fellow villagers with the medical care that is so sadly lacking. He was selected by a panel of non-partial judges, teachers from Oklahoma, as winner of the essay competition. Brittany was there this Christmas as he was awarded and he went directly to her after receiving the accolade to share the moment with her. His prize is a full ride scholarship to the high school of his choice. Jaxon Heitz, funder of the 2010 scholarship and a nine year old boy from Norman, Oklahoma, was so encouraged by Ibrahim, that he upped the prize to include scholarship to college if he excels in high school. Ibrahim was just admitted this week to St. Mary’s Yala Secondary School in Nyanza Province, one of the top ten Provincial schools in Kenya. Now he can become the surgeon he wants to be.
Brittany Hugs Future Surgeon
We are in a unique position, with more children than ever entering the eighth grade in 2011 to end this cycle and make it possible for the orphans in our village to continue their education. Our challenge to you is to consider sponsoring a child for only $35 a month and encourage your friends and family to do the same. We estimate at least an additional 100 children will sit for their KCPE exams this November. Without sponsorship, even if they pass, they will not be able to proceed to high school. We don’t want this disappointment for any of our children, so we are on a mission to see them all sponsored.
Ibrahim is just one example of how our Maisha sponsors are making a difference one child at a time by investing in the future of these bright and talented children. Just having the encouragement that someone believes in them and cares for them enough to pay for their education makes a world of difference and motivates them to strive to achieve dreams they once deemed out of reach. You will be richly blessed just knowing you made a difference.
Please call or email our Director of Child Development Ginger Parrick at email@example.com or 1-800-518-0255 ext. 3 for more information on how you can become a sponsor. Please don’t delay, we have students who passed their exam and have their call letters from the high schools to which they are to begin between January 31 to Feb 4th who urgently need sponsors.