Gaining Wisdom from a Mentor

Blog post by Peter King'ori, a member of EFAC's Kenyan Team.

The traditional African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child,” depicts the expected collaboration in all levels of life while nurturing children. Research has shown us that children who are connected with numerous caring adults tend to do well in life. They are armed with resilience that enables them to step up and respond positively to life challenges.

As the students mature, they need connections with caring adults who ask them: What are your ideals? How is your self- esteem? Do you value yourself? What is your dream career? How often do you evaluate your journey of moral and academic excellence? These kinds of questions provide a road map for life.

Esther Wagaki sharing a word of advice to Valentine Ngigi, an EFAC Scholar at Vanessa Grant Girls School.

Esther Wagaki sharing a word of advice to Valentine Ngigi, an EFAC Scholar at Vanessa Grant Girls School.

Education for all Children (EFAC) continues to incorporate mentoring in its program with the aim of empowering the students with survival and life skills which are essential for their success in life, higher education, career growth and community development. The mentors guide the students to make wise career choices as well as build their character throughout their moral and academic life. Students continue to share how mentorship has impacted their life. Recently Pauline Sinyok, an EFAC student at Kenyatta University said, "I would really wish to thank Africa Nazarene University and my mentor for the guidance that they gave us, it has really helped me to stand by my principles and focus on my studies and I'm really hoping that I will achieve my goals." Brian Okoth, a scholar at Multimedia University acknowledged that “I am so grateful to EFAC. I was totally lost but EFAC mentored me. Now I am a role model to the young ones.”

Prideluck Kabugane, a student at Moi University once said, “Thank you so much for your kindness. Your kind hearts have kept me going. Above all you are also a source of empowerment and inspiration to me.”  Esther Wagaki, a scholar at Masinde Muliro University and a passionate mentor of EFAC scholars in secondary schools shared that “I have been mentored by the EFAC mentors and this has greatly helped me and many of us to always know what to do and what is required of us.”The annual mentorship workshop has also played a role in shaping the moral compass of the students. Gildah, a form three scholar at Starehe Girls’ Centre who is looking forward to becoming a lawyer explained that, “I learnt on how to manage my time well. Now I equate my free time as an opportunity to achieve an A grade.”

Thank you to each of the EFAC mentors, as we continue to impact one life at a time!


Voice From the Field - Mona Kyle - Final Yoga Class

Mona Kyle, is a volunteer from California who is volunteering with EFAC in Kenya for three months. Mona is living and working at the Vanessa Grant Girls School (VGGS) in Rongai, Kenya, a partner school of EFAC. EFAC students attend secondary school at VGGS. Mona has been teaching Yoga classes during her time there, read Mona's description of their last class together.

Ann Sammy is on the left doing Tree Posture

Ann Sammy is on the left doing Tree Posture

Yesterday I taught my last Yoga class at VGGS.  Although I was a little skeptical when the idea to teach Yoga during my time in Kenya was first suggested, and getting the mats here proved to be more problematic than I anticipated, the entire experience was fantastic.  When we began, very few, if any, of the girls had the slightest idea of what the practice of Yoga involved.  Most of those who had heard the term were under the impression that it was just some type of meditation.  When we started moving (and breathing) into various postures, I think my students were pleasantly surprised to learn that our practice would not only improve their flexibility, but their overall level of fitness.  After a 90 minute class, the girls always embraced our final relaxation, and left for dinner ready to face another three hours of studying. 

Fraziah in Pigeon Posture

Fraziah in Pigeon Posture

I am happy to report that I have found two girls who are willing to take over my classes by forming a Yoga Club in January, and both of these girls happen to be EFAC scholars.  One of the girls is Fraziah. She is a natural, and has challenged me to come up with something new and exciting for each and every class. Unfortunately, Fraziah is a Form 3, so come next September, she will essentially be sequestered as she does her final preparation for the KCSEs.  Therefore, Ann Sammy (Form 1) will be working with Fraziah so she can step in when it is necessary for Fraziah to remove herself from the practice. 

To assist them in their endeavors, I am leaving behind not only the mats, but a book on Yoga, an outline I have prepared describing the basic class I have been teaching, as well as some cleaning supplies to extend the life of the mats.  I am confident that Fraziah and Ann will do an excellent job of keeping Yoga alive and well at VGGS.

The final class doing Camel Posture

The final class doing Camel Posture

Namaste.


Voice From the Field - Mona Kyle - Kivu Retreat

Mona Kyle, is a volunteer from California who is volunteering with EFAC in Kenya for three months. Mona is living and working at the Vanessa Grant Girls School (VGGS) in Rongai, Kenya, a partner school of EFAC. EFAC students attend secondary school at VGGS. Read Mona's description of a recent retreat for students at the Vanessa Grant Girls School. 

On Thursday, November 6th, in order to reward those students who excelled during Term 2, and to provide an incentive for those who need to improve, VGGS took the top three (3) students in each section (there are three sections in each Form – “V,” “G,” and “S”) of Forms 1, 2, and 3 to Kivu Retreat, a hotel in Nakuru with two fantastic swimming pools. Unfortunately, the Form 4 Candidates were still taking the KCSEs.  

The “Most Improved” students in each section and the top three (3) performers of Forms 1, 2, and 3 in the Mathematics Contests were also included.  I am pleased to report that many EFAC scholars made the cut.  In fact, EFAC scholars swept section “G” of Form 1 with Irene Linah coming in first, Rehema Matua second, and Joyner Wambui third.  Irene also qualified for this outing as the “Most Improved,” and with the top Form 1 performance in the Mathematics Contest.  Stacy Murungi was also recognized as the #2 student in section ”S” of Form 1, Abigael Muia was the #1 student in the “V” section of Form 2, Pamela Achieng was the #3 student in the “G” section of Form 2, and Dorcas Mwango was the #1 student in the “V” section of Form 3.  Fraziah Njeri also qualified with the third best performance in the Form 3 Mathematics Contest.  It was quite an impressive showing for EFAC.

After swimming, the girls were also provided lunch, and, judging by their appetites, it was a welcome change from the food served in the dining hall. 


Exam Season: A Transition of School Life to an Adult Citizen

Blog post by Peter King'ori, a member of EFAC's Kenyan Team. 

A wise man once said “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Likewise, the long awaited day October 21, 2014 dawned a hopeful day for the 485,547 candidates of the 2014 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (K.C.S.E.). It’s a day that all the candidates across the country sit for their English paper in National Examination.

K.C.S.E. serves as a bridge between high school and college/university life where the students are able to specialize in a few subjects and pursue their careers. It also marks an important transition of the students from childhood to adulthood. The Kenyan education system is structured in a manner that by the time a candidate is ready to sit for his/her K.C.S.E. they are already or about to turn 18 years old. In Kenya an 18 years old person is eligible to apply for an identity card which acts as legal document in defining a person transition from childhood to adulthood. 

EFAC team with form four students at Stahrehe Girls School.

EFAC team with form four students at Stahrehe Girls School.

As the clock ticks on, Kenyans wish the candidates good luck and God’s blessing in their exam. Among them include the President and Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya who in a co-jointly signed card for the candidates articulated that, “This must be an exciting time for you. We encourage you to overcome your anxiety and write the exams with a calm, steady hand...This is therefore to wish you good health, confidence and success in all your papers.”

Among the 485,547 candidates, EFAC is glad to have sponsored 48 scholars. Prior to the exam period, the EFAC team participated in the prayers day in the respective school of each scholar to give them encouragement and moral support. The prayers day brought together the parents, friends, siblings and relatives who made their way to their daughters/sons schools to wish them the best and pray for them as they prepare to sit for their final exams. The prayers day is usually a solemn assembly where the entire school fraternity joins in unison to dedicate their candidates to God. This is because the success of one student means the success of the entire school. This is enshrined in the African spirit of “Ubuntu” where the joy or success of a person is attributed as the joy or success of the entire society.

EFAC team together with the EFAC scholars at Rongai Agri-Tech Boys High school during the prayers day for the form four candidates

EFAC team together with the EFAC scholars at Rongai Agri-Tech Boys High school during the prayers day for the form four candidates

As Berger pointed out that the “success of students largely depends on school culture, home culture and community culture,” EFAC appreciates the parents, siblings, friends and relatives of EFAC scholars who came in large numbers during prayers day to support their candidate. We also appreciate the support of the teachers in nurturing the dreams, character formation and talents of the candidates. Our sincere appreciation to all sponsors for their moral and financial support to these candidates. Together as a family we join our hands to wish the EFAC Class of 2015 ‘Best Wishes, good health, success and God’s blessings in their National Exam.’


Voice from the Field - Mona Kyle – Rongai Boys School Prayer Day

Mona Kyle, is a volunteer from California who is volunteering with EFAC in Kenya for three months. Mona is living and working at the Vanessa Grant Girls School (VGGS) in Rongai, Kenya, a partner school of EFAC. EFAC students attend secondary school at VGGS. Read Mona's description of Prayer Day at Rongai Boys School.

Prayer Day at Rongai Boys’ School was held in early October.  Since this is a Christian Brothers School, there was quite a bit more emphasis on prayer than on entertainment.  The program consisted primarily of a Mass, which was held in the dining hall.  It was a treat to hear the powerful voices of the Rongai Boys’ choir singing throughout the service. 

After the Mass, the congregation of students, family and friends was addressed by the Headmaster, Bro. James Thiongo. Bro. James commended the candidates on their ability to work together, and assured them that as a result of their teamwork he is certain that this class will do particularly well on the upcoming exams.  

The Head boy, Ismael Ngei, an EFAC scholar, was the next speaker.  Ismael gave a very moving speech in which he noted that these candidates were essentially in the same position in 2010 as they are in now because they were preparing to take their KCPEs (Kenya’s 8th grade exam).  At that time, they were only boys, but in the past four years they have become men, and Ismael believes they have, in fact, become men of substance.  He credits their progress to putting God first, and respecting not only their parents and teachers, but also themselves.  He thanked the parents for their love and support throughout primary and secondary school, and the teachers for their assistance and persistence in imparting the knowledge necessary to complete the syllabus before the end of the term.  Ismael also acknowledged his gratitude to the faculty for their advice and guidance over the past four years.  Finally, Ismael expressed his appreciation to his fellow candidates for exhibiting character, discipline, focus, and cooperation.

Before the students were dismissed, the mother of one of the Form 4 boys spoke on behalf of all of the candidates’ families.  She stated that because much is expected of their sons, all of the families need to pray for their success.  She thanked the teachers for their support and guidance, and for imparting the knowledge necessary for their sons to be successful not only on the KCSEs, but in life.  She concluded by asking the candidates to take care of themselves, to ask God for assistance, and to remember that they are brothers and need to work together.

After the service all of the students were permitted to spend the afternoon with their families.  The EFAC scholars were gathered in the library by Carol Ngetich, Samwel Mwiko and George Mwangi.  When asked to share their impressions of the Mentorship Workshop, almost every student commented on the significance of something said either by the Principal of Alliance Boys’ School or by Johnson Mwakazi, and each stressed the importance of time management in handling their busy schedules.  Samwel, is not only a Rongai Boys' graduate, but was also a mentor at the workshop in August, and it was obvious the boys could relate to him as they listened attentively to his words of wisdom.  George Mwangi, who had been a teacher at Rongai Boys’ School and is now an EFAC mentor, advised the boys to soften their hearts so they can be molded, and stressed the importance of giving back to their society.