Registered Charity: 1136745. Trustees: Simon Brister (Secretary and Financial), Nicky Hart (Legal), John Pearce (Chairman and Educational), Sam Pearce, Stephane Janes, Hannah Rooke.

KES supports education in Kenya, by providing scholarships to significantly disadvantaged bright, pupils to be boarding students at Bahati Division Academy (BDA) and other Kenyan schools; and by contributing to resources and facilities which will assist the education of these students.

Friday, 7 February 2020

Scholars’ success creates a funding challenge for us


In December each year we receive results for the hard work of our secondary school leavers. Just like UK A levels, the results are eagerly awaited by students and their families, as they are the entry qualification for university. In 2019 twelve scholars completed their ‘Kenyan Certificate of Secondary Education’.

Most years we have been delighted that at least 50% achieved a mean score of C+ or higher and were offered a university place. This year all twelve KES students achieved, or beat, the threshold. We are overjoyed at their hard work and the resourcefulness of their teachers. Our thanks go to Vanessa Grant Girls school (eight girls qualified) and Sacred Heart Boys (four boys qualified).

Challenge
Avid readers of our Newsletters will know that students from impoverished backgrounds can apply for a government loan to cover their university fees and student accommodation, but the funds don’t arrive until after the first semester. So, KES students often couldn’t take up their places without extra financial help to get started.

Extra fundraising and donations have enabled Trustees to make one-off grants to such students in previous years. Grants generally work out at £300 per student. However, income for KES comes almost entirely from individual sponsors who sponsor individual students, so there is little spare funding. This means KES needs to raise an additional £1,800 this year to cover the unexpected and very welcome success.

Appeal
So, we are making a one-off appeal to all our supporters and friends in the hope that you will help us raise the additional funds KES needs to set our twelve students up for a successful start to their first term at university.

We do hope you can support this appeal in some way. Every little counts and all donations will go directly to support KES students.

If you do want to make a donation please visit our donation page on the Charities Aid Foundation and click on the 'Donate to this charity' button.

Three of our KES scholars who secured places at university

Where the students start their education journey with KES

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

KES students at university

The success of all twelve of our KES students winning university places this year inspired us to have a look back. One illustration of the impact of your support is that at least 25 KES-sponsored students have gone on to higher education in Kenya, greatly increasing their own life chances as well as becoming role models and influencers.

Lucy Mbaire one of our KES scholars completing
environmental work on World Werlands Day as
part of her university course
We thought you might like to see what our students went on to study, as well as getting a picture of the great variety of Kenyan university degree courses.

So, here goes:

Edwin – Bachelor in Economics
Faith – Bachelor in Education (Science, Mathematics & Chemistry) – hooray! how great that she wants to teach
Martha, Michael and Elisabeth – BA Commerce
Peter Maina – Community Development
Samuel and Eliud – BSc Analytical Chemistry
Joseph – Journalism and Mass Communication
James Samuriah – Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance
Stephen Mwangi – Agricultural Science at Nairobi University
Lucy Mbaire – (pictured above) for her work with a village community on World Wetlands Day – Environmental and Community Studies
Martin – Development Studies with IT (and part-time DJ apparently – according to his social media posts!)
Nahashon – Science Statistics
Ann – Kiswahili Communications
Sammy – Business IT
Enoch – Nursing (an expensive and long degree course – Enoch is realising his dream in becoming a nurse)
Peter Kanuiki – Design at Technical University of Kenya
Esther – Social Sciences
Margaret – Veterinary Studies
James Wandutu – Marine Management
Lucy – BA Arts
Josphat – BSc Mathematics and Economics with IT
Rael – BSc Procurement and Contract Management

You can see how many of the courses are vocational and also that many of our students are involved in studies which are likely to be critical to Kenya’s environment and economy. We congratulate them all on their success and wish them all the best for the future.

And on their behalf, thank you, our supporters, for making their dreams a reality.

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Happy Christmas and our latest news!

KES trustee Nicky reports on her visit to Kenya with Founding Trustee Simon...

Meeting KES Students face-to-face...

We make the trip to Kenya regularly to see the KES project in action and meet face-to-face with as many of our sponsored students as we can, and talk with teachers and school heads, as well as parents, aunties, grandmas and guardians. Simon and Chair John visited last year and this September Joseph and Lydia kindly hosted Simon and I and helped greatly with the school visits. Last time we both visited together was two years ago. At that point most of our KES students were about to change secondary schools from Bahati Division Academy, as it was going to close. The boys were moving to Sacred Heart and the girls to Vanessa Grant Girls School. So we were keen this time to visit them all in their new environment and make sure they are happy and thriving.


Simon and Nicky with KES Girls at Vanessa Grant


Due Diligence

KES is currently sponsoring 53 students at six schools. We managed to visit five schools and see 49 of the students. We do look out for any issues on our visits and this time there was one, which luckily we were able to help to resolve. All the students seemed fine, as far as we could tell, apart from one, Rachel, who is the only KES student at her national school. We had been concerned about her progress and so were pleased to see her and to understand the problem. We could tell from a walk around with Rachel and our discussion with her that the school was badly under-resourced. The teachers seemed demoralised. As a result of the visit, in consultation with her adoptive grandmother, we were able to make arrangements to offer Rachel a transfer to Vanessa Grant for her last 2 years of secondary. She will be welcomed at VGG and we are sure will find everything much better resourced and join old BDA friends.


Vanessa Grant Grounds


Update from Lydia Kiuna KES Welfare Officer!

"We stayed with Rachel for two weeks whereby she had tuition in both Maths and Chemistry while also attending to her music lessons. This is as very helpful for her. She then went for her interview, at Vanessa Grant, on 28th November and passed! She was very excited together with the grandmother and really loved the school! She will be joining VGGS on 8th of January."

University successes

Most KES boys are at Sacred Heart and most girls at Starehe or Vanessa Grant. These are all excellent schools. We were reassured at Sacred Heart to spend time with Doris, the school counsellor, who moved over from BDA, and Brian, the science teacher, who also transferred from BDA. They are both kind and thoughtful teachers. The results from Sacred Heart have been very good with 6 boys out of our 7 finishers last year winning a university place. At VGG, Nancy, the principal, gave us a generous amount of her time to talk about the school and the KES students and issues in Kenyan education.

Our Kenyan visits are always rewarding and fun, thanks in large part to Joseph and Lydia Kiuna. We always learn a lot from them about current issues in Kenya, and they often have news of former students who have progressed on to university.


Starahe Dormitories

State funded Secondary Education?

Since the Kenyan government made state-funded secondary education available to all two years ago, some of the national schools have been overwhelmed by extra student numbers - accompanied by no extra funding. So, for example in Rachel’s school, she is now in a class of 57 students with the obvious detrimental effect on education. While it is great that all children are now able to access secondary education, clearly much more funding is needed to support that promise with qualified teachers.

Another issue which impinges on KES and the fortunes of our female students particularly is sex education. This is very restricted in Kenyan schools - as is information about contraception. Inevitably and regrettably Kenya suffers from a high number of teenage pregnancies, particularly in areas with the highest levels of poverty. Some of our KES students have fallen victim to this, whether at school or soon after leaving. What we try and do is to offer support and encouragement to girls to continue or return to education - one of our students who went through pregnancy and gave birth will shortly complete her school career. We hope she will continue on to university next year. Early pregnancy is not what we hope for for our students, but in that event the child will at least have an educated mother.


Starahe girls and Nicky

It was great to meet so many KES students and talk to them about their hopes and aspirations. We took photos and reported back to individual sponsors. After all this, we had a bit of a holiday at the coast too!

Nicky

John, Chair of KES adds:

These visits are so important as you can tell. We, KES trustees thanked Simon and Nicky profusely and we noted that they funded the whole of this trip themselves - as always they give freely of their time and money.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

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Friday, 13 July 2018

Summer 2018 Update

Regular readers will know it's been a turbulent time for KES and so Trustees were pleased to relax a little and reflect on the solid achievements of the last nine months, or so..

You'll see in our recent posts the following good news:

1. A great letter from one of our first KES University Scholars - Lucy McBaire.  It's an inspirational read and a tribute to BDA's motto, "Impact Our World"... Lucy is certainly poised to do just that Read Lucy's email here




2. Letters and parcels are so important for our scholars and so Simon offers some tips about how to ensure yours are delivered safely  Read on here




3. Our last, certainly not least, post update, is Chair John's report on Simon and his visit to Kenya and the new schools.  This is well worth a read as it gives the detail of the new schools for our scholars.  Read John's report here




Finally,

All this demonstrates that the decision to close the BDA Secondary (allowing Joseph and Lydia to focus on expanding the successful Primary) was the right decision, at the right time 9 months ago.

Thank you for your continued interest and support...



KES Trustees....


Scholar letters are always informative and, as our scholars move on, often inspirational.  This from Lucy Mbaire, now at Kenyatta University, caught our attention and we wanted to share it with a wider audience...


Hello Simon,

Am going on well with the studies and campus life.


I take this opportunity to thank you, Veronica and all the trustees.  Your financial generosity since 2013 has allowed me to be steps closer to my goals. By supporting me in education you've enlightened me and my family.  Your support will help me concentrate on what is more important to me, education without worrying about the fees. This will help me reach my goal of graduating with a degree in bachelor of Environmental Studies and Community Development. 

I hope that one day I'll be able to help other students achieve their goals just as you have helped me. Every passing hour, day, week, and months I get to love my course, Yeah environmental studies!  I have joined a school environmental club which has lots of impact. It has greatly helped me recognise that we really need to focus more on our environment. We have lots of activities with other organisations that help us pass information to many about  the risks facing our planet.

Like last week we had a movement called save our NNP (Nairobi National Park).  You have heard of Standard Railway Gauge?  SGR was constructed from Nairobi to Mombasa and unfortunately it passes through the park, thus destroying the ecosystem, our pride, our heritage.  Meaning in coming years we may end up losing our wildlife.  Imagine taking my grandchild to the museum to see an image of an elephant because they may not be there in years to come. 



It hurts and but we are not too late to change.  Its horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.  It may take me hours to talk about this but I hope I will always be a part of the solution to my planet and not part of the pollution. 



I love this course and even after successful degree, I can't wait to do my masters and PHD.  Thank you for leading me in this brightness of education.  God bless you.  Next time you visit Kenya make sure you visit my school and we will share a lot.

Thank you and say hey to Veronica for me.

Yours,
Lucy Mbaire




Sending Letters and Parcels to Scholars


Simon writes...


Happy Scholars Joyce and Grace
With their hand delivered parcels

Our KES scholars love to receive letters and, even better, parcels.  

One or two sponsors have asked me about sending letters and parcels to Kenya and whether they get through okay.

Well, the best way is to deliver them is by hand, as John and I did on our recent visit (see John's report below) but this is not always practical.  So what is my advice?






In short:
  • Letters themselves always seem to get through okay
  • Books seem to get through okay – providing that the package is obviously a book.
  • Packages that look more interesting – and particularly ones that can be slipped under a coat by an employee – are likely to disappear.  I wouldn’t advise sending a football shirt, in the ordinary post,for example.
  • We have found that other parcels do go missing somewhere in the system and the advice we got on our recent visit that if you do decide to send a present then the best way is via DHL.

A reminder of the new addresses for students:


Vanessa Grant Girls School
PO Box 14-20108
Rongai Kenya 

Sacred Heart Boys School
PO Box 238-20108
Rongai, Kenya 

Bahati Division Academy
PO Box 15413-20100
Nakuru Kenya