Kenya (MNN) — Kenya’s economy contracted for the first time in nearly three decades because of COVID-19. A trickle-down effect puts education even farther out of reach for most Kenyan kids.
Even before the pandemic, many parents in rural Kenya struggled to find education for their children. “It’s up to these communities to come up with their school,” Kenya Hope’s Joy Mueller explains.
“The Kenyan government does not build public schools in rural areas.”
Poverty presents another persistent problem. If a school becomes available, education may still be out of reach for large families.
“[Kenyan] schools all charge a school fee and, even though it’s a very small fee, that quickly adds up when you have multiple kids. On top of that, they (parents) also have to pay for school uniforms,” Mueller says.
As described here, Christian missionaries first introduced Western-style education to Kenya’s coastal communities in 1557. British occupation later saw more classrooms pop up around the country. By the time Kenya declared independence in 1963, government schools were commonplace in urban areas.
However, 58 years later, many remote communities still lack access to education:
Despite the wishful reforms the government attempted to put in place, this system has not changed much. For example, a bigger portion of government resource allocation goes to the national schools such as Alliance, Mangu, Starehe, and Moi Forces Academy, followed by provincial schools and, at the bottom of the table, district schools.
Kenya Hope partners with local believers to provide rural communities with education and more. Find details here. “Kenya Hope works almost exclusively in very remote, rural areas of Kenya,” Mueller says.
“[In] many of our communities, by the fourth year we have over 400 kids coming to those schools.”
Using a holistic and sustainable model, Kenya Hope meets the physical and spiritual needs of entire families. For example, widowed mothers earn valuable income and learn about Christ through Kenya Hope’s Widow’s Might program. In turn, the Widow’s Might program supports the education program, leading to Gospel opportunities for children.
“In Kenya, all kids wear (school) uniforms, and the vast majority are hand-sewn by tailors,” Mueller says.
“Our widows are sewing uniforms for the kids in our schools, and that’s a win-win because it helps them (the widows) provide for their family.”
Wearing a proper uniform allows Kenyan kids to attend school and encounter Christ through a biblical curriculum. “Part of the Kenyan curriculum is Christian, and on their eighth-grade exams, there are 30 questions that deal directly with the Bible,” Mueller says.
“We have a wide-open door to share the Gospel.”
Find your place in the story
Send textbooks through Kenya Hope for only $15, or sponsor a student for $35. “[We also have] a feeding program; we feed between 1,500 to 2,000 kids every day. People giving generously to our program is such a blessing to these kids,” Mueller says.
Each gift helps a rural community move one step closer to independence.
“We put in programs that help [the community] raise funds. We have a herd of cows that they sell to pay for the feeding program, to pay for the upkeep of the school,” Mueller says.
“One of our main purposes is to help that community reach self-sustainability.”
Header image courtesy of Kenya Hope.