Providing all of the support necessary for the children to stay in school is a top priority. While primary school is free in Kenya, the cost of a uniform and other school supplies can be prohibitive. Secondary school students require tuition (even in public school), uniforms, supplies such as scientific calculators, and exam fees. The average cost for a year of high school is $350 per student.
Much of the funding for the educational components of the Umoja Project come from Kenya Carnival and other fundraising efforts led by youth at congregations and schools in central Indiana. Since 2008, the students in Indiana have raised more than $130,000.
Each of the secondary school students receiving tuition support meets regularly in a peer support group. All of these students have had difficult lives, enduring the death of one or both parents and living in homes with meager resources. Some students come from households with no adult present and must run the household as well as keeping up with their school work. In spite of these challenges, many are performing at the top of their class.
Judith Achieng Amollo is the chair of the Peer Group and writes the following: “It is because of this organization that we happen to know each other today. Umoja group has made us to come together, i.e., students from different schools, and now we call ourselves Umoja Family. As a family we have a vision of having a bright future and helping those who might be in need of our help. We aspire, as a family, to make contributions and open an account. To help the sick and needy in the society, by visiting them and giving them hope in any way possible, just like you’ve done for us.”
To learn more about the Student Education Program of Umoja Project (STEP UP), sign up for our mailing list in the column at right.