Our program is grounded in the belief that children’s lives are changed when they receive an education. We don’t operate a school, instead, we identify local schools that deliver high academic outcomes and enroll the students we support in those schools. We started out supporting primary-school-age (elementary) students. As the sponsored students grew, the program evolved. When the first cohort of primary students was ready to enter secondary school (known as high school in the US), the board of directors concluded the mission could only be fully realized if students continued their education beyond primary school.
Now all students attend single-gender secondary boarding schools, which is the norm in Kenya and provides the additional benefit of removing students from the challenges of living in the slums during adolescence. When the first students finished high school in 2012, we launched a post-secondary program, along with a commitment to help students who complete their post-secondary education and secure jobs.
Breaking the cycle of poverty in the slums is our goal. But it doesn’t just take an education. It also requires good health, a caring and supportive community, and employment assistance. Our Kenyan staff provides complete support to each student through the following program areas:
Program Acceptance Criteria
We employ a thorough review process to select students with a high probability of success. Then, we pair those students with sponsors who provide financial and emotional support.
Students admitted to the program must meet the following criteria:
- Are affected by the HIV epidemic. This includes children who have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS, whose parents are infected, or who are infected themselves.
- Reside in a geographical area known as Dagoretti, one of the major slums in greater Nairobi.
- Are between grade two to six, performing in the top half of their class, and are a Kenyan citizen.
- Score well on our placement exam that helps us assess their level of academic ability.
- Agree to attend one of our focus schools that deliver strong academic outcomes.
- Live in a family setting that is conducive to academic success. The parent or guardian:
- Understands the importance of and agrees to play an important role in the child’s success.
- Agrees to keep a roof over the child’s head and do their best to provide at least one meal per day (in addition to the two meals we provide).
- Identify a successor guardian, if the parent is HIV+, in the event the illness leads to their death.
- Must keep us apprised of any changes in the child’s situation and take the lead in getting treatment in the event the child falls ill.
Read more about the impact of the program