We are quickly approaching Christmas 2013 and our donors are thinking again of their support of the Kyaithani scholarship program. In order to continue to provide scholarships to these students who come from very impoverished families, we are dependent on all of our past donors. We hope that the update below will encourage everyone to once again support these so appreciative students in Ndandini/Kyaithani. Jan & I thank you for your continued generous support.
Here is a current update.
Students are striving for excellence
The school year in the Ndandini/Kyaithani area begins in January (unlike here where it starts in September). Right now, from late October through mid-November, the Kyaithani students are writing their final exams. So it is a very busy and stressful time for them. Every scholarship recipient wants to maintain or exceed the previous academic ranking in order to retain their scholarship for the coming year. Those students who have not previously received a scholarship have been studying extremely hard to try to rank in the top 5 in their exams in the hope of securing a scholarship for the coming year. In fact, it is this motivation of every student that the teachers report is being successful in raising the overall academic performance of the school's student population.
Student Population and Scholarships Provided
There are approximately 130 students that attend Kyaithani Secondary School. These students come from five local area primary schools where there are about 1200 students in attendance (with about 110 in Grade 8). These primary schools are in the areas called: Ndandini, Kyaithani, Muusini, Ndunguni and Nthilani. As there are only about 30 students in Form 1 (Grade 9) at Kyaithani Secondary School you can see that the drop out rate between Grade 8 (110 students) and Grade 9 (30 students) is huge. This is mostly due to the lack of funds available to families to pay the secondary school fees and costs.
The 23 scholarship recipients in Kyaithani Secondary School are distibuted as follows:
Form 1 (like our Grade 9) 5 students - 3 girls and 2 boys
Form 2 6 students - 5 girls and 1 boy
Form 3 7 students - 4 girls and 3 boys
Form 4 5 students - 3 girls and 2 boys
Letters from Scholarship Recipients
We have recently received letters from many of the scholarship recipients. We distributed these to those of our donors who have provided us with their email address. If you would like a copy of them, let us know.
One of the recurring comments that you will read in these student letters is a request from these students to increase the number of scholarships, if possible, so that others who cannot afford to attend secondary school may also continue with their education.
Teachers go above and beyond to provide live-in "boarding" facilities for Form 4 (graduating) students
Many of you will remember that last October the Kyaithani Secondary School teachers decided to provide a supervised live-in "boarding school" environment for the Form 4 students so that they could take maximum advantage of the solar lighting at the school as they studied and prepared for their final examinations. The teachers received no additional pay for doing this. The teachers and administrators found the examination results so encouraging last year that they decided to support the live-in "boarding school" for the Form 4 students for the entire year this year (starting January 2013). So for the entire year about 12 boys have been sleeping over at the school and about 12 girls have been staying at the local church. I must explain that "boarding" means sleeping on the floor of the schoolroom or church on a 1" foam mat. There are no beds or private rooms! At least they have been able to use potable water at the school which gets delivered from the well by the tractor and bowser (water trailer) that our projects provided between 2010 and 2012.
Students hoping for post-secondary education opportunities
The 10 letters from the students are encouraging to read as we see how eager the students are to complete their secondary education (and so thankful for the scholarships that have allowed them to attend secondary school) and how much they would like to continue with further education after graduating from Form 4 (similar to our Grade 12 here in BC).
Can we do something to help with post-secondary training?
During 2013 we have formed a Ndandini Committee (composed of both Sunshine Coast based Rotarians and non-Rotarians) to provide support and advice for our efforts with our various Ndandini/Kyaithani projects. One area of focus of the Committee is the scholarship program and much discussion has centered on if we could, and how we should, try to provide some post-secondary education support for students graduating from Kyaithani Secondary School. This January will see the second set of students graduate and most are financially unable to pursue further education.
Goals for our Scholarship Program for the Coming Year
Last year we were able to provide each student who achieved a "Top 5 standing" in their Form with a scholarship. Each scholarship is funded for all their future years at Kyaithani Secondary School as long as they continue to show academic excellence.
This year we would like to increase the munber of scholarships available for each Form.
We would also like to provide at least two bursaries for graduating students (one from this year and one from last year) to assist them to attend a trade or vocational school and return to the village with skills that will both benefit the village and provide them with a meaningful career.
We look forward to and thank everyone for your support which is so needed and so appreciated by the students.
Merry Christmas season to you all!
Terry & Jan