HIV/Aids has ravished the Karachuonyo region leaving only a small percentage of parents between the ages of 30 and 45. This has created a tragic situation where thousands of children are orphaned. The children are left as “child head of household”, homeless, or living with aged grandparents that don’t have reasonable means to support them. Primary education is “free” in Kenya, but student’s must pay fees for school uniforms, books, and other supplies to make it possible for them to attend. For example, at one school visited recently the principal said that half of the children had been sent home because they hadn’t paid their fees. Add to that the need to have sufficient nutrition so that they can learn properly. Another factor keeping some from school is that they may needed to fetch water from several kilometers away and help with the farm. These dynamics add up to a situation where too large a share of the children either miss school regularly or don’t attend at all.
Funds for child sponsorship are used to pay school fees and other expenses that allow regular school attendance. School administrators praise the improvements resulting from SOHI child sponsorship’s to date. They are resulting in a much higher percentage of girls being able to attend school (and they are excelling!) as well as much higher academic tests scores. Sponsorship of a child dramatically improves her or his prospects for the future a personal victory that also leads to sustainable improvements for the community. The cost is $35/month per child.