One thousand learners from needy backgrounds who sat their KCPE examination last year will benefit from comprehensive secondary school scholarships.
The Wings to Fly programme, run by Equity Bank and other partners, targets learners who scored more than 350 marks.
Jointly with the German Development Bank (KfW), the World Bank, MasterCard Foundation, USAid, UKAid, private institutions and individuals, the programme has reached 39,009 beneficiaries since inception 12 years ago.
The scholarship takes care of learners’ tuition, shopping as well as leadership training and mentorship. Those selected include Jennifer Mudeizi, a 16-year-old orphan, who lives with her disabled grandmother in Nairobi’s Lenana Kijiji slums.
Mudeizi could not hide her joy having conquered several challenges associated with the slum that include teenage pregnancies, crime and drug abuse to score 365 marks at St Joseph’s of Tarbes Primary School.
“I would have performed better were it not for the circumstances at home. I want to get out of here and help my family out,” she said, crediting her success to her grandmother.
Charles Otieno topped his class at Agai Primary School, Kisumu, after obtaining 392 marks.
Otieno, who hails from the remote village of Kabong’o in Nyakach, lost his mother a few years ago and lives with his father in a two-roomed mud house with his six siblings.
“With the Wings to Fly scholarship, I will put God first, be disciplined and work hard in my studies. I know one day I will be a pilot,” said Otieno, the third born in a family of seven.
His father, who inspired him to apply for support, says it was a big relief for him and hopes his son will excel in his education.
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“I have no means to educate him yet he is bright. I still have other children in school,” said his father, a vendor.
Dagoretti North MP Beatrice Elachi lauded the programme, calling upon other organisations and foundations to help educate the needy.
Makongeni Mosque Imam, Sheikh Hamza Habib, who sits on the Kibera Community Scholarship Selection Board, said the area had greatly benefitted from the programme.
In the next few days, the 2023 cohort will attend a centralised induction programme before being commissioned to join high school.
Equity Foundation Executive chairman James Mwangi said education remained a high impact tool in transforming society.