Our scholarship award program is now into the fifth year. Through the generosity and support of sponsors we provide secondary school scholarship awards for tuition and fees for students orphaned or in severe poverty situations in western rural Kenya and north-eastern Tanzania. The government funds public education through Standard 8 – Grade 8. Most orphans cannot afford the costs of $400 per year to attend secondary school and they prove to be the highest performing students.
In 2006 Joining Hearts and Hands, Ltd. provided scholarship awards for tuition and fees for 12 Kenyan students. In 2011 we are scheduled to provide scholarships for over 125 African students.
We visit our scholarship students frequently during each trip back to Kenya. We drive in an old van to well over 40 different schools locations, mostly in rural Western Kenya. These are long days, as some of the schools are three hours away from Kisumu (our home base). Most of the journey is maneuvering through dirt rutted roads, sometimes very difficult to navigate with billowing dust clouds from passing trucks. And sometimes we’re outside the van pushing it after getting stuck after a heavy afternoon rain. Once at the school, it is amazing. Each school has a distinct environment and philosophical approach. Usually, the schools are either all girls or all boys boarding schools with very strict disciplinary rules and regulations. For the most part, visitors are welcome one Saturday per month. Of course, that would be impossible to coordinate, so we just arrive and proceed.
Generally the Headmasters have been very accommodating to us. We always meet to discuss each student’s academic progress and try to cultivate a special relationship with the lead teachers. We want all of our students to succeed. Many of these students are many miles away from home for the first time. We tell them how much we personally care for them and often tell them a bit about their sponsors so they can visualize the blessing they have through the generosity of a sponsor in the United States. We tell them that they have a special sponsor in the States who cares about them very much, who wants them to do well in school, and to try their very best. And of course every child gets big hugs from us along with encouragement and a discussion of career possibilities.
During these visits we provide each student a “care package” of items which must be approved by the school. You would be surprised at how many items get pulled out because they are not allowed, such as deodorant and fruit juice. We often provide a stamped post card or sheet of stationary so students can write a letter to his or her sponsor and tell them about how they are doing.
Notes of Interest
Scholarship awards are $500 per school year. The tuition and fees in Africa continue to spiral, but we are keeping our awards to each student limited to this amount. We make all of the scholarship award payments directly to the secondary school. We do not issue checks to individuals, family members or others, only to the secondary school official bank account. We receive individualized school receipts directly for each student payment.
Scholarship awards are renewed based on academic performance, attendance, volunteer hours, and good citizenship. We are collecting scholarship contributions in September and October of each year. In Africa classes begin in January.. Please make checks payable to: Joining Hearts and Hands, Ltd., 6944 Benedict Beach, Hamlin, NY 14464.
Essentially we provide scholarships to promising candidates from feeder schools: Mbaka Oromo Primary School, Lufumbo Primary School, Timau and Homa Bay.
On each trip back to Africa, we hand carry letters back to our scholarship students if sponsors would like to send over a letter.
Thanks for all you are doing to help children in Africa.