What’s in our November 2020 Newsletter: Notes from the Field ~ Day School or Boarding?; A Student Beats All the Odds; Kenya Education Chairperson, Maurice Odhiambo Arthur; YOUR Help Has Made a Huge Impact in Kopanga; Education Committee Report ~ Building on Success; AmazonSmile
Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today. ~ Malcolm X
Notes from the Field ~ Day School or Boarding?
By Nereah Obura, P4P Kenya Program Coordinator
Dear P4P Friend,
In Kenya, most parents prefer to enroll their children in day schools for primary education and then proceed to boarding school for high school. Here are some of the reasons why students do better in boarding schools:
1. More prep time. The extra time saved traveling the distance to and from school in the morning and evening can be used to finish and revise assignments and confer with teachers.
2. Increased responsibility. Students learn to handle personal chores, stay on top of their lessons and budget pocket money.
3. Weather. In Kopanga, for instance, heavy rains cause some rivers to become impassable and day students cannot reach their schools.
4. Fewer distractions. Relationships and socializing with other students, television and other interruptions are greatly minimized in boarding school.
5. Reduction of chores. The only direct chore in boarding schools is washing one’s clothes. On the other hand, students who live at home and attend day school must care for younger siblings, wash dishes, clean the house, perform farm work on weekends and/evenings, fetch firewood and water, handle grocery shopping, cooking and other general home chores.
6. A broader national view. Students from all cities, slums, high, low and middle income and different tribes come together in boarding schools to share their values and customs with each other. They form a unique lifestyle that they take with them into adulthood, creating an open-minded culture that is not based on any particular tribe.
7. Food. Students from poor backgrounds are assured of three meals per day in boarding schools.
A Student Beats All the Odds
By Nereah Obura, P4P Kenya Program Coordinator
Linet Awuor Sangra is 19 years old. She joined P4P’s scholarship program in 2015 in Form 1 (Freshman year of high school). At this time, Linet’s sister was also joining Form 1, she had another sibling in college, and her mother was battling cervical cancer.
Life was exceedingly difficult at this point, and Linet’s father could barely pay school fees for all of them. Unfortunately, in 2016, Linet became pregnant. She dropped out of school and stayed home for a year.
Linet says this was one of the toughest times of her life. Her parents were angry, she was isolated and desperate. She struggled for months then decided to “dust off the dirt and face life as it comes.”
In June 2017, Linet gave birth to a bouncing baby girl, Lizlent Petty. Following her thirst for education, she applied once again for a P4P scholarship. After considerable deliberation, the Kenya Education Committee gave Linet a second chance.
As happy as she was to resume school, she found it challenging to catch up and was embarrassed to find herself a year behind her friends.
None of this, however, deterred her. Linet did her level best and scored a C+ in her final exams. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in education at St. Paul’s University on their online platform. When I asked the father how she is fairing, he said, “Linet is very focused on her education."
Kenya Education Chairperson, Maurice Odhiambo Arthur
By Nereah Obura, P4P Kenya Program Coordinator
Maurice Odhiambo Arthur has been a teacher for the last 23 years. Seven years ago, he was promoted to head teacher at Boya Primary School.
Mr. Arthur has served on the Kenya Education Committee for four years and was elected chair early last year. The group works hand-in-hand with P4P’s Education Committee in the U.S.
The 49-year-old was born into a family of seven children. Their father died in 1972, leaving no one to provide funds for them to continue past high school. Mr. Arthur’s eldest brother, Mr. Okeyo (the first secretary of the Kenya Education Committee) was able to fund the education of Mr. Arthur and three of his siblings to become primary school teachers.
Mr. Arthur later earned a diploma at Migori DICECE, and last year he received a degree in education and human resources from Kisii University.
He is focused on seeing all children in the community excel in education, and he supports several students not related to him in his own small ways. He never misses any of the Education Committee meetings and takes time with each P4P scholarship student, going through their performance and listening to their challenges in school.
Mr. Arthur says he appreciates P4P’s work promoting education among the vulnerable learners and keeping young girls in school through the Days for Girls program. He believes P4P sponsored exams foster the spirit of positive competition that leads to better performance.
Mr. Arthur’s vision is an empowered community whose people can produce adequate food, both for consumption and for commercial purposes, with reduced dependency on donors and other well-wishers.
YOUR Help Has Made a Huge Impact in Kopanga
By Dia Maurer, P4P Executive Director
Partnering for Progress was never intended to be a disaster relief agency. We work alongside our Kenyan partners to recognize community challenges, and we develop projects that address these difficulties. The 26 villages that are engaged with us have identified education, poverty reduction, safe water and health as critical areas.
All that changed in 2020 as COVID-19 decimated health care and the economic systems already insufficient for the rural area we serve. Current reports coming out of Kenya indicate that COVID numbers are spiking considerably and hospitals are nearing capacity. An 18,000 case increase in one month and rise in the positivity rate from 4 percent to 6 percent indicate that the situation remains dire.
The desperate need has become food and safe water for handwashing. Already we have distributed over 500 emergency food baskets to families with malnourished infants, the elderly and those who suffered severe flooding. We regret that we had to enter the disaster relief arena, but if your partners are hungry, that is the first priority.
Rest assured we are addressing the long-term food shortage with innovative agriculture programs, a poultry raising project, tower gardens and education about indigenous foods. But for right now, remittances are not feeding families in need. Remittances are funds sent by workers in the city to their rural families. When there is no work, there are no funds to send home. Indeed, there are more mouths to feed as students and out of work relatives come back to their village to wait out the pandemic.
We are so very thankful for your support of Partnering for Progress. Because of your generosity these milestones have been recorded during our 13-year history:
• 147 infants have graduated from the Power of Milk, our infant nutrition program.
• 48 students have received high school scholarships, 25 students have graduated from high school, and 7 students have received college scholarships.
• 675 girls have received Days for Girls reusable personal hygiene kits, helping them stay in school.
• 64 farmers have received seed, fertilizer and mentoring to increase yields.
• 4,000+ people have access to safe drinking water provided by rainwater catchment tanks, borehole and spring protection projects.
While we are proud of how far we have come, there is still so much more that can be done. As 2020 comes to an end, please consider making a financial contribution that will literally feed the hungry and promote long-term solutions.
By donating to Partnering for Progress, you are making a world of difference, a world away.
Education Committee Report
Building on Succes
The Kenyan Minister of Education declared in July that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire school year was “a total washout, and order[ed] students to start over” in 2021, according to The New York Times.
That was a huge blow to all Kenyan students, including those in our scholarship program. We currently support 23 high school students, as well as seven in either college or university.
Before the pandemic, however, P4P’s Education Committee responded to a suggestion from Nereah Obura, our program coordinator in Kenya. Nereah found that some students in our scholarship program struggled to adjust to a new school, especially those who went to boarding school for the first time.
In response, the Committee prepared Building on Success, a 12-point curriculum that Nereah will use to orient our new scholarship recipients and prepare them for the changes they will face.
Topics in the curriculum include academic and general life skills such as:
• Taking Notes
• Increasing Concentration
• Studying for Success
• Time Management
• Coping with Stress
No doubt, all of these would also help your average Spokane high school student. We have also included a section on coping with bullying, a problem that is unfortunately common in Kenyan schools.
Of course, the curriculum is on hold until Kenyan schools re-open and our scholarship recipients can return to the classroom. But it is now in place, ready to use as a tool to heighten our students’ ability to succeed.
Ironically, if Nereah had been able to present the curriculum before schools were forced to close, the students would have encountered topic number 12 on the list: Dealing with Change.
SMILE, Shop and Donate to P4P
The holi-daze (we spelled it that way on purpose) are right around the corner and we bet you have lots of shopping to do. If you buy online, you can support P4P’s programs by buying presents, holiday decorations and lots of other fun things on Amazon Smile.
How? Go to http://smile.amazon.com and register first. Then whenever you make a purchase, log onto smile.amazon.com and .5% of your purchase will be donated to P4P.
Easy, right? Now, smile and enjoy the holidays.
Get the AmazonSmile App for Your Phone!
STEP 1: Join AmazonSmile
If you are not already an AmazonSmile member, sign up on your web browser. Simply select your favorite charity to start generating donations, at no cost to you.
STEP 2: Get the app
Download or update to the latest version of the Amazon Shopping app on your phone. You can find it in the App Store for iOS or Google Play for Android.
STEP 3: Turn on AmazonSmile
Open the app and find ’Settings’ in the main menu (☰). Tap on ‘AmazonSmile’ and follow the on-screen instructions to turn on AmazonSmile on your phone.
Same products, same prices, no cost to you
AmazonSmile has the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping as the Amazon you know.
Partnering for Progress
P.O. Box 28191
Spokane, Washington 99228