Needy and bright students from Gem constituency in Siaya County will get a second chance to study after a retired Anglican Church of Kenya bishop came to their aid.
Former Maseno West ACK Bishop Joseph Otieno Wasonga’s foundation has partnered with the TiJi Foundation to pay school fees arrears for students who will sit their Kenya Secondary Certificate Education examinations this term.
They have set aside about Sh10 million for Form Four students in schools in Gem sub-county. The arrangement will allow students with arrears to stay in school as they prepare for the examinations.
Under the auspices of the Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (KESSHA), the Bishop Wasonga Foundation and TiJi signed an agreement with headteachers that took effect immediately.
The school heads agreed not to send away students “until vetting and verification of the beneficiaries is done”, Bishop Wasonga said. The foundations will work with KESSHA to identify students with arrears.
He spoke to journalists at his rural home in Nyangweso alongside TiJi Foundation patron Jill Odende and the organisation's coordinator Caroline Ochanda.
Ms Odende said the education kitty has set aside Sh10 million to pay for the third term fees of identified students.
“The youth go through a lot of problems, especially on education and employment, and this is the gap we want to fill by ensuring they are kept in school and sit for examinations without interruptions,” said Ms Odende.
She added that their interest is helping the students to develop technical skills needed in the job market.
She expressed hopes they will expand their charity to other parts of Siaya in the coming years.
Ms Ochanda said that they issued bursary forms to the children last week.
Bishop Wasonga, who was at the helm of the diocese for 28 years, also said they will offer psychosocial support to students so that they can better understand themselves and achieve their potential.
They have trained 70 prefects on counselling skills so that they can help their colleagues.
“Sometimes students react differently and the only way to help is to have their peers who have been trained to assist them. This is what we are doing,” Bishop Wasonga said.