One of the
primary factors that leave children and youth in Kenya at risk for
engaging in dangerous and self-harming behaviours is idleness which is
often a result of not attending school. Because secondary school
is expensive for most Kenyan families, the financial burden of sending
even one child to high school is too much for a family to bear.
The end result is that many high school aged children are either married
off without a chance to be educated in the future; or, more commonly,
are left idle and are at a much greater risk to engage in risky sexual
behaviour which puts this population at risk for contracting HIV or
other sexual transmitted diseases. This, in turn, leads to low
emotional and spiritual morale. After much prayer, the Coptic
Orthodox Church felt that one way to combat this problem of idleness is
to financially support youth education. The program was started in
January of 2000.
of the School Fees Program allows for the family or caretaker of each
student to be engaged in the education of their children. The
students will be chosen by the church committee in each area based upon
the family's need. The church will fund half of a year's
education, and the family will be expected to pay the other half.
If the family cannot afford to pay half, they can pay as much as they
can afford and the priest of each are will determine how the family can
volunteer their time by working on church projects in order to "pay"
their share. By this type of design, the family will be more
likely to be invested in their child's education and will also be more
likely to encourage their child to study hard and excel in school.
student who is sponsored by the program will also participate in one
spiritual day per month in order for the students to grown in their
faith and feel connected to the church community. Such a
connection could also promote a sense of belonging and love for each
student which would make them less likely to engage in risky sexual
behaviour in order to find that love or sense of belonging.
program develops further, it is our hope that each stuent could be
academically and spiritually mentored by an older member of the their
church. That way, the students would be encouraged to make and
effort in their academic and spiritual lives. In addition, the
communities of these children would begin to feel responsible for the
students and their academic and spiritual well-being. The church
hopes to sponsor 200 students by 2006.
went to school, I was bored and I felt like my future was hopeless.
I figured I would just have tomake do with the jobs around me because I
couldn't afford going to secondary school. When the church
sponsored my education, my view of the future changed. I was
motivated to work hard and do well in school. I am now teaching
Sunday School and trying to go to college. I am encouraging the
kids I teach to work hard and dream big. I felt like God answered
my prayers about my future, and I know He will answer theirs too."
- Program Member
may find detailed information about these services at the website