by Rich, Co-Director, IHF Kenya
“Your donor has sent you some money. What would you like to spend it on?”, I asked.
Most children in the UK would instantly reel off a catalogue of toys, computer games and confectionary. But Krop’s list consisted entirely of items that would make it easier for him to go to school. New uniform; pens; and a box to keep them in was all that he asked for. As parents on a budget will appreciate, a child’s Christmas list would usually have to be cut down considerably just to make sure that the money stretches. His however was barely enough to spend half of the money on. Krop is 11 and currently in his fourth year of primary school, but already he recognises the importance of schooling.
In many respects, children in Kenya are no different to those at home. It is a fallacy that they all love going to school. It is equally difficult for some of them to get up in the mornings and they often need encouragement to get out of bed, especially on a Monday.
In the main however, the children at IHF do understand and value the importance of getting an education. Coming from families in which they may be the first person to go to secondary school, they generally relish the opportunity for learning. This has been particularly evident at the beginning of the year when we have had six new secondary school starters. All have been eager to get their uniform and equipment in anticipation of a new challenge.
Kelly Apedur in particular has been desperate to start at his new school. Any of his spare moments during the Christmas holidays were spent studying secondary school text books to give himself a head start. He takes a particular interest in science and once asked me to explain the effect of centre of gravity and centrifugal force on a loaded matatu (minibus taxi) as it goes around a corner! Kelly would like to be a police officer when he is older, which goes some way to explaining why he was so excited to get his new uniform. We were all very proud to send him off on his first day and wish him the very best in his next four years of education.