Karibuni is looking to enable students who have been supported throughout their school life to reach the point that they can get a job and start their own independent careers through a sponsorship scheme.
Since 1995, Karibuni has been supporting students through successive levels of education. But for many, to become truly independent, they need further training on completion of their final schooling, at University, college or in a vocation, depending on the grades they get in their examinations.
Karibuni has already supported a number of students through to this point. Many have achieved excellent school results, sometimes qualifying for entry to the top institutions in Kenya. These range
from those starting careers with international firms, to those looking to launch businesses and careers in their own communities.
It has been exciting and encouraging to see the young people we have supported overcome very difficult circumstances to achieve such significant success.
The student sponsorship scheme was set up last year to provide a more secure funding base for students getting to this stage.
Sponsors agree to offer financial support for an individual, named student during their final training. Sponsors have appreciated this opportunity to have a personal link with one of our young people, and to encourage them in their studies. Students too have said that they really appreciate the interest shown in them as an individual during this stage of their lives.
Last year the pilot scheme covered students at two centres: Kibra (one of the biggest slums in Nairobi, with about 1 million people) and Tharaka, a poor, drought stricken rural area.
Ten students were sponsored, with courses including business studies and accountancy, degrees in biomedical sciences and linguistics, certificates or diplomas in teaching, nursing, food production, and vocational training in HGV driving and fashion design.
The enthusiastic response from donors meant we could extend the scheme to our project in Kawangware (another large slum in Nairobi, with about 800,000 people), where four students are supported, three taking degrees (Statistics, Applied Physics and Computer Science, and Human Resource Management) and one a diploma in Clinical Medicine.
Wherever possible students and sponsors are matched according to any preferences (for example by project or on the course being pursued) expressed by the sponsors.
The costs of courses varies, but all students are expected to take out government loans where these are available. These normally cover a significant contribution towards the course but are not sufficient in themselves. (For example a student taking a degree needs to find an additional sum of around £600 a year over four years; a student taking a vocational training certificate considerably less than this over a shorter period)
Typically sponsors have offered between £20 and £50 a month, to fully or partially sponsor a student, or an equivalent annual or one-off sum.
We are looking now for sponsors for the next academic year, starting in September, when we expect to have fourteen students proceeding to further training. Students are currently in the process of applying for courses (their results came out at the end of last month), and we expect to have details about individuals and the courses they hope to take by the end of May, when we will expect to start matching students and sponsors.
If we get enough sponsors we would love to start extending the scheme to students in other Karibuni sponsored projects.
If you think you would like to be involved, or just to find out more, please email Robert and Penny Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be delighted to provide more information about the scheme.