CLOUDS OF HOPE SPREAD ACROSS KENYA AS KPC’S INUKA SCHOLARSHIPS TOUCH LIVES OF DISADVANTAGED CHILDREN
When Nelson Mandela said that education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world, he may have had in mind the 20-year old Sarah Ogutu from Migori County. A third born in a family of 8 children whose parents are small-scale farmers, Sarah is a beneficiary of KPC’s Inuka scholarship scheme that benefits disabled children from all 47 counties.
“I am forever grateful for the Inuka scholarship because it has completely changed my life. I dread to imagine what my life would have been like if KPC did not come to my aid,” Sarah, who is blind, told Kenpipe News this week over lunchbreak in Thika School for the Blind where she is preparing for her KCSE exams that have delayed because of COVID-19 disruptions.
“I want to be a teacher after my university education so that I can go back to my village and empower more poor kids,” said the optimistic young woman from Migori County.
Her classmate David Ndungú,20, from Nairobi County – also an Inuka beneficiary – wants to be a television director or producer to churn out stories that will amplify the socio-economic challenges facing the urban poor in Nairobi.
“My parents are poor and I know for sure that they were going to struggle to educate me. But when I landed on the Inuka scholarship from KPC, it became certain that I can actually start dreaming of being one of Kenya’s best television producers,” David whose best subject is English observed.
“Many people think there are no poor people in urban areas. In fact, this is where we have millions of people who can’t even put food on their table. Their story needs to be told,” the last born in a family of 3 children declared finishing off with loads of thanks to KPC for giving him the opportunity to get an education.
As for Anne Njeri from Kajiado County, there was no other way of harnessing her optimism if the Inuka opportunity did not come by. With two older siblings and a single mother on her side, she already knows what she wants in her life, thanks to her being in school.
“KPC has enabled me to be in school fulltime even when other students are being sent home for lack of fees or fees arrears,” she said.
“I want to be a lecturer in music. In fact, I have already released my first song called Upendo wa Yesu which is already on Youtube,” said Anne who is completely blind but with a clear vision in life.
“I want to develop my singing talent even further but that is not where I will stop. I will help a needy student with a scholarship the same way KPC has empowered me with one,” Anne said while appealing to all KPC staff to watch her music video on Youtube.
“Thank you KPC for the opportunity. I am going to work hard in school and who knows, I may one day join the Company as an employee,” said an optimistic Anne.
The story of Inuka cannot be told exhaustively without Wilchester Agaro’s name featuring. The Thika School for the Blind 17-year-old finalist from Kisii County knows that tourism is one key sector that moves the Kenyan economy.
“I want to pursue a degree in tourism because that is where my passion lies. We must all strive to build our country which relies majorly on tourism,” a grateful Wilchester told Kenpipe News.
The last born in a family of 8 children is partially blind but endowed with a clear focus on how her life is going to be.
“The Inuka scholarship has enabled me to be in school without interruptions and given me a good ground on which to work and achieve my dreams. Thank you KPC for the opportunity and keep the Inuka scholarships in the years to come so that other students can also benefit,” she said.
The Inuka scholarship program benefits ninety-four disabled students annually drawn from all over the country. KPC rolled out the program in 2016 and the first cohort of form one students were enrolled into the program in January 2017.
“Each year, we sponsor two students, a boy and a girl from each of the forty-seven counties to help them attain high school education and ultimately realize their dreams. As we speak today, the first cohort of students are currently preparing to sit their KCSE examination,” said Bernice Lemedeket, KPC Foundation Manager.
Since inception, the Company has spent Kshs 56 million on this intervention which has so far benefitted 376 students from all 47 counties across the country.
“With unflinching support from our Board of Directors, KPC sets aside Kshs 14 million annually for payment of school fees for the Inuka beneficiaries. We work closely with the National Council for Persons Living With Disability (NCPWD) who through their national network, help us identify deserving cases for this program,” Lemedeket said.
According to James Ndwiga, a senior programs officer with NCPWD, all children living with disabilities should be enabled to access education in order to empower them to confront modern day challenges.
“In line with our Constitution which celebrates inclusivity in various aspects of our lives, we as a Council are very grateful to KPC for coming up with the Inuka scholarships to benefit our disabled children and enable them not only achieve their dreams, but also contribute positively to national development,” Ndwiga said while taking us back to what Nelson Mandela further said on education:
“The power of education extends beyond the development of skills we need for economic success. It can contribute to nation-building and reconciliation,” said Nelson Mandela.