By Sharon Atieno
“If I had not gotten this scholarship, I would probably be married by now like the rest of the girls in my village who get married at an early age,” narrates an elated Habiba Mohammed, a third year journalism student at Multimedia University in Kenya.
Mohamed, 22, a resident of Wajir County notes that in her community girls are married off at a very early age from 14 to 15 years. Most do not get a chance to advance their education either due to lack of fees or cultural beliefs.
“At 22 years, I would be having five children right now,” she states jokingly, adding that about 99% of her age mates whether they reached secondary level or not are already married.
But Mohamed has been lucky. She has been able to go through secondary school and university with ease thanks to getting a full scholarship (catering for tuition fees, materials, accommodation and even upkeep) from the Kenya Education Fund (KEF) and their partners like Prudential Life Assurance Kenya.
Through a partnership between the two organizations, more than 85 children from underprivileged backgrounds are set to get a similar opportunity like Mohammed to advance their education.
Speaking during the handing over ceremony of shs. 10 million donation to the KEF in Nairobi, Gwen Kinisu, Prudential Life Assurance Chief Executive Officer said the funds will be invested in cushioning families who have suffered loss of income due to COVID-19 and are unable to take care of the educational needs of their children.
“Students will not only get financial gain in terms of paid school fees but also essential life and social skills to help them become all-rounded people in the society, this is because we believe that education is the foundation for all forms of development and a catalyst for growth and success in life,” Kinisu said.
Appreciating the donation, Dominic Muasya, KEF Country Director said : “We are very lucky to have found partners like Prudential who have been generous not only in giving money, but also an opportunity to interact with staff members and other partners of Prudential who come to share their experiences and knowledge with our scholars. This has made the scholarship with KEF a very unique one.”
Muasya noted that the impact the funding will have is bigger than just giving a scholarship to the 85 students, adding that it has a trickle down effect on the student’s family and will go a long way in improving their lives.
Of the 4,407 applications that KEF received from disadvantaged students in 2021 across the country, only 160 students received high school scholarships.
Last year Prudential Kenya joined forces with KEF in printing and distributing over 16,000 learning materials countrywide during the Covid-19 lockdown. At the same time over 6,000 female students received sanitary towels.