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For more than 50% of youth in Kenya, education ends after the 8th grade. This deprives Kenya of a skilled and growing workforce, and vast numbers of young people of a future. Instead, some of Kenya’s most talented kids are locked into a cycle of poverty and desperation.
As world travelers, Rod and Nancy Van Sciver saw evidence of this everywhere they went.
“It just seemed like a tremendous waste of resources,” said Nancy.
During a trip to Kenya, they asked people over and over: what would help? The answer was always the same: educate our kids. Great idea, they thought, but how exactly would two people from New Hampshire do that?
A day before the Van Scivers were to fly back to the U.S., they got their answer. They had arranged to have lunch with a young acquaintance who asked if he could bring along his mother.
She turned out to be the Vice Chancellor of Africa Nazarene University (ANU). By the end of the meal, Education for All Children (EFAC) was born. ANU agree to develop the program while the Van Scivers returned to the U.S. to fundraise.
Launched in 2008 with an initial class of 40 students, EFAC has grown to almost 600 today.
At its most basic, EFAC provides an eight-year scholarship from secondary through post-secondary school. Students are chosen based on academic merit, financial need, and personal recommendations. EFAC scholars come from urban slums, remote rural communities, and refugee camps throughout the country.
Two-thirds of EFAC scholars are girls who face a particularly brutal future in traditional societies where they are expected to marry young and bear children. Four years ago, EFAC scholar Mary Atieno was one of those young girls, on the cusp of finishing eighth grade and facing a bleak future.
With her family unable to afford the fees for high school, she feared she would “vanish” like so many of the girls in her village — unvalued and undereducated. Watch her story below:
Not surprisingly, plucking a 14-year-old from his or her village and setting them down in unfamiliar surroundings comes with challenges. Many of the kids are overwhelmed when they begin high school, away from home for the first time, excited but apprehensive.
Recognizing this, EFAC developed a comprehensive mentoring program, identified a designated EFAC liaison at each school to provide support and guidance, and created a series of annual workshops to help students develop both personal and professional skills necessary to succeed in Kenya’s challenging job market.
A network of sponsors and supporters in the U.S. provide personal and financial support. Ten years later, this approach is bearing fruit: 92% of EFAC scholars graduate from college or a training program; one year after graduation, 88% are employed or in an internship; and 47% of scholars are paying school fees for a sibling.
Education creates hope. Hope creates change.
Education For All Children provides an education-to-employment program for bright, disadvantaged Kenyan youth to foster leadership, economic opportunity, and social progress.Learn More
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