Teach A Child: Education for Life. Scholarships for AIDS Orphans

Year of Grant: 2016

Location: Kenya

Teach a Child (TaC) was founded in 2007 by two Kenyan women, Pamela Steele and Margaret Oriaro, both of whom lost many relatives to the AIDS pandemic. Its mission is to provide access to good quality secondary education to the most talented orphans from AIDS-stricken Western Kenya, particularly from the province of Nyanza, where HIV/AIDS has left close to 500,000 children fully orphaned. As it is well known, orphans tend to suffer from neglect and many of them face serious risks such as hard labor, abuse and sexual violence. Their need to work prompts such children to leave school early or to engage in early marriages, robbing them the chance for education and keeping them in poverty.

In Kenya, the enrolment rate at primary school is very high for a developing country, exceeding 90%. However, enrolment rate at secondary school decreases substantially to 50% - and the attendance rate is even lower at 40%. The reason for this significant drop between primary and secondary attendance rate is that, unlike primary education, secondary education is not free anymore and many families cannot afford the cost.

It is for this reason that TaC awards four year scholarships to academically gifted children who would otherwise lack the financial means to continue with their education. The model has proved successful and 80% of scholars who have finished secondary school have now transitioned into tertiary education. TaC also works exclusively with selected boarding schools and therefore, students gain access not only to quality education but also to shelter, food, basic healthcare, counseling and a stable social network. Children are also given some financial allowance (pocket money) to purchase personal essentials and they can also access emergency medical
treatment (glasses, dental).