In 2012, we had our first five students finish high school and in 2013 another twelve students joined their ranks. We have treated this first group of 17 as a pilot project as we worked to shape the Post-Secondary Program.
Based on our mission
The underpinning of the Post-Secondary Program begins with our mission statement which concludes with these words: “so they can transform their lives.” The question is, what is the measure of a life transformed?
Our answer is that if these students are able to gain employment in the formal Kenya economy or as business owners, they will have transformed their lives. So, we naturally are eager to do what we can to equip them to achieve that goal.
Provide preparation for jobs
In Kenya, the unemployment rate is very high but it is lowest among those who have completed high school and have one-to-two years of additional job-specific training. Our 2012 graduates are in the midst of their 15 to 18 month training programs in the following fields:
• Esther Wangari – airline reservation agent
• Jackline Nyarwai – receptionist/front office work in insurance industry
• Joyce Wairimu – food service and production
• Maureen Wambui – accounting
• Marline Wanjiku – working at DDD (see companion article)
Having worked with the post-secondary students for more than a year we have developed these guiding principles:
1. The core NRCF program will end when students finish high school
2. The Post-Secondary Program will be available to students who finish high school and who develop a plan that is endorsed by our Scholarship Committee of five Kenyan professionals.
3. Once endorsed by the Scholarship Committee, we will seek sponsor support for up to two years of additional sponsorship.
When is university a possibility for our graduates?
In Kenya, students who achieve marks of B or above when they finish high school are eligible for government scholarships.
We are hopeful that we have one or more students who qualify among the 2013 class. If a student is able to earn government scholarships, we believe that with sponsorship support the student will be able to attend and finish university.
Once a student is in the NRCF Post-Secondary Program, contributions made by the sponsor go directly to the Post-Secondary Program to pay for tuition, books or fees.
Education expenses only
Students in the Post-Secondary Program do not receive meals or medical support. As a result, our overhead for supporting this program is limited.
In 2014, we will be adding one case-worker /adviser to support the Post-Secondary Program who will assist students as they develop their plans and, importantly, will work to keep graduates connected to our program.
Our goal is not only that students gain employment but that they also reach a hand back and help younger students who are coming up in our program – by being a mentor, helping with Saturday Program or, hopefully, sponsoring a child themselves.
In 2015, our 2012 graduates will finish their post-secondary programs and hopefully become employed. We will continue to modify the Post-Secondary Program to maximize the chances that students will indeed transform their lives.