Empowering Our Kids Through Education: The Kenyan School Year

Empowering Our Kids Through Education: The Kenyan School Year

In Kenya, January brings the start of a new school year after a month-long summer break in December. Our kids spent Christmas welcomed into the homes of our staff and the local congregation to celebrate the holidays, and were happy to return home in time to prepare for the new school year and all that it holds.

Our oldest kids astound us with their intelligence every day.

Growing Up: New Independence and Opportunities

Eight of our kids (six from Kitalale and two from Kikuyu) will sit the final primary school exam for admittance into high school at the end of the year. Primary students learn five key subjects: English, Swahili, Math, Science and Social & Religious Studies.

Six of our kids started high school this January! This is a big deal in Kenya as students attend schools far from their homes; therefore, a majority of Kenyan high schools are boarding schools. Five of our kids will board and return home for breaks and holidays. In special cases, our teenagers with medical conditions attend a day high school to ensure the best medical care is available in case of an emergency. The kids are extremely excited to start this new journey. In high school, they get to pick electives from the science, humanities, creative and technical fields in addition to continuing their compulsory studies in Math, English and Swahili.

Two of our kids, Mercy and Fredrick, are preparing to sit for the final high school National exam at the end of the year. This test will determine which colleges they can attend, so the aunties and uncles are supporting their studies and providing encouragement.

Our kiddos wear uniforms to school.

New School Year, New Uniforms

Attending a new school also means the kids get new clothes: uniform, tracksuit and shoes. Our boys are especially hard on their shoes, and feet grow just as fast as our kids do! We strive to provide each kid with a new uniform each year whether or not they are attending a new school, both to keep a neat appearance and to boost their self esteem. Charles is known for taking especially good care of his uniform; last year his ‘brother’ Terrance, was negotiating to get his well cared for sweater as a hand me down.

The Kenyan School Year

Our kids follow a different school year than North America, thanks to the seasons in the Southern Hemisphere.

Kenyan School Year

Jan-Mar:First Term
*Apr:First Break
May-Jul:Second Term
*Aug:Winter Break
Sept-Oct:Third Term
*Nov-DecSummer Break

*While on break, our kids are out of school for the entire month.

Kenyan School Day

A typical day starts at 7:30am and ends at 4:00pm.

School starts
7:30am-10:30amFirst three lessons
10:30am-11:00amFirst break
11:00am-1:00pmTwo lessons
2:00pm-3:30pmTwo lessons
3:30pm-4:00pmFinal break
Faith hopping off the Kitalale home school bus!

The Big Green & White School Buses

To get to school in time for the 7:30am start, the kids wake up as early as 6am to get dressed and eat breakfast which consists of Kenyan-style tea with bread, butter, hard boiled eggs and sometimes sweet potatoes. At our Kitalale home, the bright green bus loads by 6:15am and leaves immediately as the ride to school takes about 45 minutes. At our Kikuyu home, the kids load up the white bus and leave at 6.30am. On a normal school day, kids will arrive back from school around 5pm in the evening at both homes. During the rides, the kids love to chat and catch up with each other – because of this, we sometimes have a Children of Hope staff accompany the driver to chaperone the kids and ensure a safe and distraction-free ride back home.

Our kids help each other with their homework.

Everyone in the House Helps with Homework

Our kids get homework just like the rest of the world! The Aunties and Uncles at our homes help the kids with their assignments, and it is very common to see one of our older kids helping a younger one with their homework.

After school activities include band practice!

After School Activities: Sports and Arts

Each term, our kids participate in extracurricular activities. Sports are a huge part of the ir school life. Our homes have a few track & field super stars, including Issa, Baraka, James C., Terrah, Kevin K., Ivy, and Viola.
Dance, Music, Drama and reciting poems are also encouraged. In high school, Mercy, Dennis M., Fredrick and Grace enjoy music and other performing arts. Last year we had three kids from Kitale, including Faith, represented their school at the National Level. This was no mean task; Aunties and Uncles were so proud of this achievement!

We celebrate educaiton milestones in the home, including Lucy’s recent graduation from Beauty Point College.

It Takes a Village to Raise our Kids

A big part of providing complete care for our 100 growing kids is feeding their growing minds and unique developmental needs. Like in any part of the world, education is expensive, especially for quality education, which we value. In 2019 alone, we estimate we’ll spend $72,000 USD to provide education ranging from Kindergarten to College.

Since our inception in 2003, 10 of our kids have established themselves as independent, flourishing adults working as Nurses, Accountants, Drivers, Estheticians and more. Despite having transitioned from our homes, our established kids are still very close to each other (they even have their own WhatsApp group) and are very connected to our younger children. Your donation directly  impacts our kids’ daily development and future independence.

It costs $50 a month to provide education for each of our kids. To supplement the increasing costs of higher education, we also have a Scholarship fund to ensure our older kids are able to follow their dreams and continue to receive the best available education through university or trade school. The world is their oyster, and Scholarship fund donations support fees to attend the post secondary school of each kid’s choice.

Meet our kids to learn about how they’re growing and changing every day and consider making a donation in support of their education.

Donate to Scholarship Fund