Many families from the Samburu tribe do not value girls’ education so they drop out at the end of primary school. This is often because they undergo the harmful cultural practice of FGM (female genital mutilation) and become child brides even though this practice is illegal in Kenya. Some just stay at home to help with younger siblings. Most secondary schools in Kenya are boarding schools, enabling the girls to escape the harmful cultural practices such as FGM, beading and child marriage. Education is so vital in making a significant difference to the quality of the young women’s lives, promoting equality, enabling them to understand their basic human rights, disrupting the poverty cycle and addressing the gender balance. We work closely with the Principle of Wamba High, local Primary schools and Women’s groups to identify those that are in the most need of our support. Many of the girls we support have run away from home to escape FGM or are orphans of HIV AIDS and are looked after by older siblings or extended family members, and sometimes just members of the local community looking out for them. The project is monitored by reports every term from the school and bi-annual visits to meet with the girls to make sure they are happy in their environment and have all the resources they need.
Our support of vulnerable girls from Wamba through secondary and further education is proving more and more challenging each year. Once they finish secondary education and move into further education, for most of them the support costs increase considerably. They need accommodation, equipment for their chosen course, placement costs when they have opportunities to gain experience on placements, and transport costs to and from home during holiday times. As education develops in Kenya most of the students need their own laptop and we also buy them phones so they can contact us via WhatsApp. We try to get the families to take some responsibility for their daughter’s costs where possible, but some are orphans, others have such large families, their families withdraw all help when a sponsor is identified so that they can concentrate on their other children who don’t have a sponsor.
Wamba Community Trust has supported 100 students, mainly girls, through secondary and further education with 34 ongoing. Samoki, who we previously sponsored is now working in the Kenya Air Force, and Jecinta is working in the Kenya Police force, Christabelle is a nurse in Wamba Hospital, Leah is a Journalist in Maralal and the list of positive outcomes goes on….