January through March in Kakamega is the busiest time of all as students start their new school year. During this time, KOCC staff are absurdly busy but also excited as they oversee the placement of more than 350 students in schools all over western Kenya.
This year, the Care Centre is home to 47 elementary age students, nine of whom came in new as of January. The new children had been a part of our Home-based Program, but the KOCC management and staff determined that conditions in their homes were so difficult that they needed the kind of protection and environment that the Care Centre offers. During the first three months at the Care Centre, these children have made good friends, and their faces show relief and happiness as they experience the warmth and support of the Care Centre community.
The new school year has brought a number of positive changes for the Care Centre children, geared to improving their academic performance, which is particularly important in Kenya where national test scores determine a child’s educational opportunities. A math teacher from one of the local schools now comes to the Care Centre two nights a week to tutor older students. The Care Centre’s Activities and Education Director Kelvin Kalogoni has also organized small study groups, during which the children lead and teach each other. Test scores have already shown improvement since these initiatives began, and the children are enthusiastic about their learning, challenge one another, and bring more questions and thoughtfulness to their studies.
Another innovation at the Care Centre involves matching each child to a staff member who serves as their mentor. Students check in regularly with their mentors, are able to talk about things important to them, receive guidance and help with academics, and feel extra special love and care from this connection.
Home-based Family Care Program
In December, KOCC’s Home-based Field Worker Lucy Khasoha led six KOCC graduates in conducting the second annual Monitoring Assessment, during which they visited each home-based child’s home for two hours and examined the positive and negative aspects of each situation. This major effort was very important, not only because it provides an opportunity to check in with parents or guardians, but also to assess and plan for the needs of those homes which lack strong models of care. This year's assessment, which resulted in a 10-page document about every family, also alerted us to some serious problems such as roofs in disrepair and pit latrines full or falling in. We are now working on programs to address these concerns.
At the start of the new school year, the KOCC management committee selected 15 children to be added to the home-based program. Please help us find sponsors for these 15 new home-based children. To learn more about the home-based program, click here.
Fourteen new Form I (first year) students started high school through Friends of Kakamega (FoK) sponsorships, and it was an exciting time for all involved. The Kenyan Ministry of Education assigns students to schools based on their exam scores at the end of eighth grade. We were very proud of the marks our students scored on their exams, especially Emmanuel, a Home-based boy who scored in the top 1% nationwide.
With the help of Friends of Kakamega’s sponsors, 52 teenagers are going to high school, where they have opportunities to socialize and get to know people from a broader area, and to mature into well-rounded and competent adults. KOCC also runs the Crossroads Springs Africa (CSA) High School Program, which sends another 120 young people to high school through support from CSA. Through the two programs, KOCC sends nearly 175 students to high school.
High School Retreat
In December, KOCC held a first-of-its-kind 4-day retreat for ALL 175 high school students in its programs, using the facilities of a high school that was empty during vacation. Sessions covered topics such as life skills, relationships, health, substance abuse, HIV, leadership, and integrity. Students participated in games, competitions, and a talent night, and they also had plenty of time to just hang out with their peers. Deemed a great success by all involved, students and staff expressed their hope for similar events in the future. We are very grateful to Crossroads Springs Africa for providing funds for such an important event.
Friends of Kakamega's News & Updates
This page offers occasional highlights, news, and updates about our work in Kakamega.