Our program supports children who have the ability to succeed but not the means. They primarily reside in the area known as Dagoretti, one of the major slums in greater Nairobi. They come from families affected by the HIV epidemic, that is, they have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS, have a parent infected, or are infected themselves.
Students must apply and pass a rigorous selection process and are paired with a sponsor to fund their schooling and support their development. Students start the program between the ages of 7 and 9 (grades 2-4) and stay with the program until graduation from post-secondary.
Most primary students attend one of three schools with whom we partner and have been fully vetted for academic excellence. (A very small number attend boarding schools if their home situation becomes dire.) The secondary school (high school) a student attends depends on their 8th grade test scores in a national exam called the KCPE (Kenya Certificate of Primary Education). All students receive support for tuition, uniforms, and supplies. Most of our secondary students attend boarding schools (the norm in Kenya) where we also cover living expenses. Post-secondary students attend four-year universities, two- or three-year colleges, or trade school depending on their secondary performance and career aspirations.
We started the program in 2006 with 60 children and now have over 400 in the program with hundreds more on our waiting list. We also have over 100 alumni. The results have been tremendous with over 92% of our students completing primary school, compared to an average of just 63% in Kenya overall. Then, after joining secondary school, over 83% go on to graduate, as compared to the Kenyan average of just 42% and on-par with the US average high school graduation rate of 83%. These high school graduates are accepted into a trade, college, or university program or gain employment. Over 87% of our students who start one of these post-secondary programs go on to complete them. This is something they never would have achieved without the donors and sponsors of Friends of Ngong Road.