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9,000 students from poor families receive Elimu scholarships

Some of the students from the Nairobi region who received Form One scholarships at the 12th annual Regional Education and Leadership Congress for Wings To Fly and Elimu Scholarship Beneficiaries at Pangani Girls High School on April 14, 2022. [David Gichuru, Standard]

More than 9,000 students in the country have benefitted from a full scholarship sponsorship for their secondary school education.

The students will be sponsored through the Elimu Scholarship programme in partnership with the World Bank, the Kenyan government and the Equity Group Foundation.

Basic Education and Early Learning PS Julius Jwan said the successful candidates are being contacted.

"In fact, some of these candidates have started reporting to schools," said Jwan.

In Thika 119 students from the informal settlements have secured secondary school funding through the Elimu scholarships.

Equity Bank Senior Manager Sammy Karanu said they had received over 600 applications from needy households but the foundation could not cater for the large number.

Karanu said the comprehensive scheme will cater for fees, books, shopping, pocket money and uniform for the four years.

Broader targets

He said unlike the Wings To Fly sponsorship which only picks students scoring 350 marks and above, the Elimu scholarship targets those from as low as 280 marks.

“We have a community selection advisory committee chaired by Deputy County Commissioners. We look for the neediest cases, sometimes these students end up scoring high marks in KCSE," he said.

Sharon Achieng who scored 332 marks at Rabuor Taya Primary School in Suna East constituency on May 17, 2022, receives her shopping under the Wings To Fly and Elimu Scholarship programme. [Caleb Kingwara, Standard]

Thika Director of Education Maurice Sifuna urged the scholars to keep up with the hard work and discipline in order to achieve academic excellence.

Sifuna said he hopes to see all the beneficiaries attaining university grades at the end of their secondary school course.

He also urged parents to provide a conducive learning environment for the students when on school holidays and ensure they are in line with their academic performance.

Thika West Deputy County Commissioner Mbogo Mathioya said that the students were selected from informal settlements in Gachagini, Kilimambogo and Kiandutu.

He said poverty had hindered parents from educating their children to the highest possible levels.

He said many drop out at the lower levels for lack of fees.

He added that his board had a difficult time trying to get the most deserving children to be supported because the majority of them were needy.

“It was a tough call for us. We had to be fair enough not to favour any of the 600 applicants to ensure only the most deserving 139 cases qualified,” he said.

Mathioya said that the government was keen to ensure a 100 per cent transition of learners from primary school to secondary school.

Another 20 scholars from Gatanga also benefited from the scholarship.

The scholars received their award letters during a ceremony recently held in Thika town.

Amina Salim one of the beneficiaries from Mukunike in Kilimambogo said her dream to become a doctor has started.

“I come from a poor family. Sometimes we go without food. I was looking for a job as a house help since my parents couldn’t afford fees. I have young siblings in school, but now there is hope”, she said.

In Kiambaa sub-county, 13 needy students were among 156 who received the scholarship.

Equity Bank Ruaka Branch Manager Alice Wambui said apart from 9,000 students from poor backgrounds who have so far benefited from the programme, another 1,000 have also been helped by the Wings To Fly programme totalling 10,000 countywide

“The two; Elimu scholarship and Wings To Fly programs, have so far helped over 49,000 students…mostly students who are orphans, vulnerable children, students with special needs, or students with disabilities and students with poor parents living with HIV/AIDS or having chronic diseases,” she said.