The right to an education is a basic human right that should be given effect regardless of one’s origin, social status or economic situation. Every child has the right to education and to develop skills.
In Kenya, the right to an education is mostly theoretical. Although the state has a duty to provide universal and equal access to education and educational facilities, including preschool, in practice many children lack it. That is either because of cultural circumstances or the family situation. Although tuition in state-run schools is free, parents or guardians have to participate in certain costs.
In recent years, we have been witnesses to educational reform in Kenya, unfortunately imposing additional burdens on family budgets. Continuing difficulties include, for example, mandatory communal meals, for which parents or guardians have to pay. Many children and adolescents are not allowed in class if those payments are not made. It is also notable that many state-run schools present a low quality of education, which is why we want schools that will help children develop their potential and get equal opportunities from the labour market when they grow up.
Additionally, due to the aforementioned reform, as soon as January 2023 the number of students in boarding schools will probably increase, as they will be finishing their elementary education after six years (as opposed to the current eight). The next stage awaiting them will be a three-year Junior Secondary. Due to the locations of those schools, in many cases the only option will be to send the child to a boarding school, which many families simply will not be able to afford.
Another factor limiting practical access to education for children in Kenya are the consequences of the current economic crisis. Many young people will not be able to finish school — especially beyond the elementary level — without support. This is because the costs of education include the purchase of the necessary learning materials, uniforms, even shoes, according to the requirements of the Kenyan school system, as well as fees for meals, and — for boarding schools — accommodation and travel. Kenyan families cannot afford all those payments alone, but under this programme we try to take care of that with their own active participation, always taking the individual situation of each of our children into account.
We know many capable but educationally neglected children and young people in Kenya. We get in touch with them at caretaking and educational centres and in the local community. We help them and want to continue to help them.
We also want to reach out a helping hand to those with special educational needs, for whom the educational offering available in Kenya is very limited. In many cases, children with learning disabilities are left without professional assistance, or the scope of that is low.
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