Wednesday, April 24, 2024

A Kenyan Christmas and the gift of education

Sarah has been making the trip to Kenya with her family every year for the past four years as an ambassador for the Kenya Youth Futures Program (KYFP).

The initiative focuses on alleviating poverty and creating a sustainable future for Kenyan youth by providing opportunities for students beyond what their community and their life situation can provide.

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Program coordinator Sarah Prout says that while primary education is free in Kenya, high school is merely a dream for most kids.

For academically gifted and determined youth, being unable to further their studies beyond year seven is a sad reality.

The program is currently sponsoring 16 gifted students from 12 Kenyan high schools to complete their entire secondary studies, an invaluable gift utterly embraced by recipients of the grant.

“What totally blew me away about these students when I first went to Kenya, which I’ve never seen anywhere before, was this incredible value of education, they see education as an absolute gift,” Sarah says.

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“They would get up at 5 am and study before school, work all day, and then study again before they went to bed.”

Along with financial sponsorship, the KYFP also provides its students with leadership training and education based on critical thinking as opposed to the Kenyan Education system’s Rote learning style.

“A lot of these students are dealing with really complex social and cultural issues like crippling poverty and aids, but they don’t have the appropriate frameworks in their education that enables them to think logically about what’s going on around them,” Sarah explains.

She says it is the students in programs like the KYFP that are best equip to recognise and address the problems their communities face.

“We see these students as an enormous resource that can then sew back into their community in really positive ways in the future. If we provide opportunity to a small group of people then they can go on to provide opportunities for so many more.”


Despite the remarkable generosity of KYFP team, Kenyan educators say there are still about 20 students at each high school that would benefit considerably from the a similar grant.

“What happens for some determined students is often their community will gather the funds to send them to school for a semester or a term and they go to school and they just excel in their studies and work so hard because they’ve been given this opportunity.

“At the end of that term the community and the family have no more funds left and the school has no choice but to send them home,” Sarah says.

The KYFP is aiming to extend the project into a secondary boarding school located in the Western Provence of Kenya.

“Our idea for that at the moment is that it would be called Tumaini, which in Swahili means hope and that is what this program is about, providing people with hope for what’s possible in their future.”

Currently in the planning stages, the KFYP is seeking support from individuals, small businesses and larger companies willing to donate their skills or even sponsor a student scholarship.

“In the long term there’s a whole range of people who we would love to come on board and offer their skills. We’d love to form some great partnership with business and individuals in Geraldton.”

Sarah, her family, and a handful of KYFP ambassadors are looking forward to spending Christmas among people who have an incredible capacity for joy in the face of incomparable hardship.

“We’ve been thinking a lot about some students in our program that actually don’t have families and we’re hoping to spend Christmas with them.”

“When you have so little in a material sense, you just focus on other things and are grateful for what you do have.”

For more information on how you or your business can donate to the Kenya Youth Future Program and help make Tumaini Academy a reality contact

You can donate online at by clicking on the ‘make a donation’ tab and enter J227B in the ‘I prefer my donation to go to’ section.





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