Partner: George Odaa
In rural Kenya, children do not often have access to a good education. Those who do have access to education often attend schools that are run down and do not provide what is needed for students to qualify to attend secondary schools. Children grow up uneducated or illiterate. While primary school enrollment in Kenya is comparable to western nations, such as the United States, secondary enrollment plummets to around 50%. This creates an environment in which adults do not have opportunities to get good jobs. Joblessness is a catalyzing factor contributing to many issues found in villages in rural Kenya: alcoholism, domestic abuse, prostitution, and child abandonment. The village of Tamu is no stranger to these afflictions.
THE PROBLEM AND THE SOLUTION
The village of Tamu currently has two schools: a government-run primary school and a privately run primary school. Our partner, George Odaa, runs the private school. Neither school is adequately preparing children to move on to the next level of education.
The current school that George is running has fallen into disrepair. The building has become unmanageable. The curriculum is out of date. There not enough teachers for the number of students.
Like many rural Kenyan schools, these issues can be traced back to its beginning. The school was built to much celebration from the village, but there was no long- term plan for success.
This time will be different. The new plan to revive the school starts with a long- term impact in mind. We will build a school attractive enough for the (relatively) wealthy families to send their children there. Their tuition will be enough to factor in frequent upgrades to facilities and curriculum, and to keep high-quality teachers happy. Students from less fortunate families will still be able to attend.
The curriculum will be focused on preparing students for the next level of education. Setting them on a path towards job opportunities as adults, but with a built-in pride for their home village.
Mzee Joseph Aranga’s children used to attend a public school. Because of the severe overcrowding of the classrooms and poor quality of teachers, Mzee Joseph decided he must pull his children from public school. He knew affording the private school fees would be close to impossible on his manual laborer income. Even so, he moved his children to a private school to give them even half a chance at an education and a better life.
Mzee Joseph has 12 children. Ten of them were not able to get to secondary school because the government public school did not prepare them well enough. He has only Belinda (15yrs) and Rolex (9yrs) remaining.
Phase I will be revitalizing the current school’s facilities and curriculum. New teachers will be needed to improve standards and to keep up with the growing population of students.
The new students will come because of a grassroots-driven word-of-mouth campaign.
A community leadership council will be formed to get buy-in from local leaders on the new school project. These leaders will contribute to the school financially, and by showing parents the value of the school.
Phase II will include the introduction of a boarding aspect to the school. Most high-reputation schools in Kenya are boarding schools. The boarding facilities will improve Ebenezer Academy’s reputation through the region and increase enrollment of students from higher-income families in nearby villages.
The long-term impact of Ebeneezer Academy will be that families in Tamu, Kenya will finally have access to sustainable, quality education. The school will be the pride of their community, rather than a source of shame.
If you are a family with a steady income with the ability to send your child to a highly rated school, you will no longer need to send them hours away. High-quality education will be available to you right in your hometown. This will increase the chances that your child stays nearby for work in the future. The “brain drain” ends with your children.
If you are a father like Mzee Joseph, you now have options. You can choose to send your children to a highly rated private school by applying for a scholarship. However, as the school begins to produce change in your community, the public school begins to raise its standards as well. For the first time, families living off day laborer salaries have options to have their children educated.
75% of students to qualify for secondary education by the end of the 2nd year of reopening
- Enrollment to surpass 100 students at that time.
- Student/ Teacher ratio to be no greater than 20/1
The school will sustain itself through tuition, boarding fees, and local philanthropy by the end of the 2nd year of reopening.
- 25% of students to receive scholarships
- Savings to increase each year of existence