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After being in Kager for just 2 weeks, I’ve already seen what a challenge quality education is for this village. I’ve also seen how this tightly-knit community is working together to overcome those problems, especially as they came together to establish their first ever secondary school.
Now for a closer look at what life is like as student in Kager, and to realize the impact of Jubilee Village Project’s work here, I’d like to introduce you to two of my new friends who are determined to complete their education.
Iris came bounding into my room the day I arrived, slid into the space next to where I was seated on the bed, and started asking questions – it was clear she wanted to get to know me, and that she was a big fan of JVP. It was just one of several conversations we had that week.
Turns out Iris is one of 3 students who is attending a regional high school because of a JVP scholarship. Before Kager opened God Kado Secondary School, the only available option for her was a private school in a town over an hour’s walk away. Besides being inconvenient, the isolated road isn’t safe for vulnerable young girls.
But in Iris’s case, the biggest deterrent to pursuing further education, and a chance at a paying job, was lack of tuition money. Primary education in Kenya is free (after paying for required school uniforms and textbooks) but secondary school isn’t. With an elderly and sick father, her family wasn’t able to keep the four oldest boys in high school, even though their grades and ambitions were high.
So you can imagine how life-changing the JVP scholarship was for Iris. Because she earned the highest national exam score out of all the 8th grade students in Kager, Iris is now attending a nearby girls’ boarding school – free of charge and free to pursue her dreams. Her goal is both simple and ground-breaking: to be one of the only girls in Kager to graduate from secondary school, and to study law at a national university. The door is now wide open!
Just this week I made another friend named Mary. Mary is one of the pioneering first-year students at Kager’s own God Kado Secondary School. She is one of six kids, and the first girl to make it past 8th grade. Her brothers managed to walk to the distant private school, but her older sister never made it.
When I talked with Mary on her morning break from classes, she told me that paying school fees is also a problem for her family since her mother is the only parent in the home. If God Kado hadn’t opened the year after she finished primary school, she would probably have waited a few years at home to see whether or not their family and friends could pull together the necessary money for her to go somewhere else.
Thankfully, Mary’s not waiting at home. In fact, she’s hardly there. School lasts from 7am until 5pm, which is when she begins her 45 minute walk home to the other side of the village. After dinner, she begins homework as long as there is kerosene in the house for the lamp. If they don’t have 10 shillings (13 U.S. cents) for the fuel that night, she’ll get up extra early to finish the assignment before school.
That is what I call dedication. For both Iris and Mary, the chance to stay in school is the ultimate gift, and they aren’t taking it for granted!
- Do your homework by flashlight to see what the evening routine is like for students in Kager.
- Pray for Iris and Mary on a daily basis during their second trimester (lasting from May until the end of July).
- Consider partnering with God Kado Secondary School by supporting JVP's work there. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
About the Author: Jessica Shewan is a journalist with World Next Door. She graduated in 2009 from The University of Evansville with a bachelor's degree in History. She loves making new international friends and is passionate about seeing the global church pursue justice and peace!