Exams are a very important part of the Kenyan education system and are taken very seriously indeed. This week is the week of the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams for Safari, Kaingu and Pendo and the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams for Josephine. We thought you might like a little bit more information on them.
The Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams are ran by the Kenyan National Exam Council and take place at the end of primary school. They cover a wide range of subjects including English, Kiswahili, Maths, Science and Social Studies and are used to decide which school the child is able to attend.
Government run secondary schools are ranked and put into three categories:
A good result (usually more than 75% average grade) will secure a place at one of the prestigious national schools which have the best facilities and usually get the best grades. For those who are not lucky enough to gain entry into a national school they may be offered either a provincial or district school depending on their grade.
Unlike with primary education, the government runs some the best secondary schools in Kenya. Private schools exist but they are usually either of a lower quality or specialise in progressing poorer students. Mtwapa Elite Academy (where many of the Milele sponsored students do their primary education) runs a secondary school and has had great success helping students to increase their grades between primary and secondary.
The Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams take place at the end of secondary school and are used to access college or university. If a student scores above a certain mean grade (usually B) they are automatically offered a place at university with some government funding. It is also common for students to take a college course which offer nationally recognised qualifications that can be ‘topped up’ to become a degree at a later date. This option is often preferable as it generally allows the student to work along side their education which is near to impossible at university.
All four children sitting exams this week have been working incredibly hard. We really hope they will be able to achieve their full potential and go on to be very successful.
Visits to the beach are extremely rare for children from Mtwapa; since, despite being just a few miles away, they are mostly owned by hotels and therefore completely out of bounds for local people and children. However there is one public beach about 15 minutes drive away, so whilst out on our trip to Kenya we arranged for two buses to take the whole Milele group plus all their brothers and sisters out on a trip to the beach, in total 32 people.
The children were extremely excited and had an absolutely amazing time. It was a great fun day out for all of us and of course they were all absolutely perfectly behaved!
We played and splashed in the sea (some of the littler people went skinny dipping and others wore spare t-shirts and shorts because of lack of swim kit) and had a wonderful time! Even our co-ordinator Rieder joined in, splashing all the children and having great fun!
After a couple of hours I was keen to get everyone out and dry, so suggested that they might all like to have a camel ride (a very popular pastime on the beaches in Kenya… perhaps the kenyan version of the english donkey ride…) and never have I seen children move so fast! They raced back to the beach at lightening speed and we all enjoyed a fab picnic with juice and biscuits all round – a real treat. Little Emmanuel (who isn’t actually that little anymore) was allowed to take charge of taking back the leftover biscuits to the children in New Light Children’s Home (where he lives) which he was absolutely THRILLED about. Regular readers of this blog will know Emmanuel as the child who can never be given quite enough biscuits!!
After the beach everyone had a go on the camels and shrieksof nervousness and excited delight rang out all afternoon(the camel holding Tamira, Linet, Peris and Pendo’s younger sister Faith was particularly noisy!!) and I’m sure the children will be talking about it for years to come! When we dropped off some of the children that evening and stayed for a brief chat, Shakeel, who is just four years old just kept exclaiming “mummy, we went on a camel…. we went on a camel mummy… It was really big!!” every few minutes!
The whole thing came in at less than £40… camel rides, picnic, beach, private buses and iced lollies for 32 people! Unbelievable! We finished up a trip back to Mtwapa with some very sleepy and happy children. A huge success all round. Enjoy the photos!
Welcome to our monthly updates. I would like to appreciate the good work you have been doing so far and making everything run well. A big thank you to all as you have been doing a really good work towards Milele programme. We managed to complete the classes at Royal Academy and also made 12 chairs and 2 big tables for the kindergarten pupils at the school – donated by the TEAMS group.
The director of the school really appreciated your effort of supporting the school as most of the pupils are not capable of paying school fees regularly. He also wished to thank everyone through Milele program and the good work Milele directors are doing.
We have been also giving out mosquito nets to a certain village around Royal Academy most of the families had no mosquito nets. Through your donations these needy families were able to receive a mosquito net each. Around 61 families got the nets.
We all know how the mosquito nets are important mostly to the infants and the younger kids below the age of 5yrs. As for the coming month we are expecting long rains thus you did save some lives and saved the next leader in the society. We really appreciate your effort towards this program.
We have been also monitoring our chicken project at Shanzu and charcoal business at Mtomondoni (new businesses for two of the families on the sponsorship program) and they are all doing well and they are looking forward to starting to make a living using the projects. We also say thanks a lot for making it happen.
We have our elder girl Josephine she managed to complete her primary education and secured a place at secondary school very soon she will be at school. All our sponsored kids are doing well and for now they have started their end of month exam. Thanks a lot for your support towards us may almighty bless you all.
We have been very busy over the last few days, but we have particularly enjoyed being able to spend some time at Shanzu village with Pendo and her family. Pendo is one of our sponsored girls, she and her younger sister Faith are both currently studying at Mtwapa Academy. This sponsorship arrangement works well for the family, since Faith inherits Pendo’s textbooks and uniform as she grows into it and they share the bus fare to school and back each day. The sisters are very close indeed and recently they have also welcomed into the family a new baby boy. His name is Omari and he is absolutely gorgeous – I’m sure you will agree. Pendo is absolutely fantastic with babies and young children and she is having a wonderful time looking after him just as she does Faith.
The last 6 months or so have been a bit of a struggle for Pendo and her family, her mum has been unable to provide food at home most evenings and weekends, meaning Pendo and Faith have been going hungry often. We were able to help them with some kind donations of food parcels from their sponsors in the short term and in the long term we have been working on building a business for her mum to manage from home. She settled on a chicken business raising and selling chickens and eggs. We have now managed to fully arrange everything and the family are now the proud owners of a cockerel, two hens and twelve young chickens! They have moved into their new chicken house and Pendo, Faith and their mum are really excited and looking forward to being able to raise them and make money from the business.
All in all I think it has been a huge success and I would like to say a special thank-you to their sponsors Lesley and Sue (with all the Gartree Against Poverty group) for their donation which has made the launch of this project possible. It is going to make a big difference to the family and will help Pendo’s mum to have a sense of independence and pride in her ability to provide for her family. Thank-you.
In our last post we mentioned that we had been able to sponsor 3 children and it is about time for us to tell you all a little bit about the second of the newly sponsored children; Pendo.
Pendo (meaning love in Swahili) is a lovely 10 year old girl who lives in Shanzu (a large village near to Mtwapa) with her mum, younger sister Faith and extended family. Her mum doesn’t have a career as such because she wasn’t able to get a good education, but she does kibarua (odd jobs) for people near where she lives. Pendo lives in her grandparent’s old house which is built out of mud, branches and palm leaves with a little cement added to make it slightly safer in rainy season (where mud houses collapse a lot). The house has a lounge and three bedrooms, one is used by Pendo, Faith and their mum and the others are used by 2 of Pendo’s aunts and their children. The bedroom Pendo’s family use is basic; it contains 2 beds (one for mum and one for Pendo and Faith), an area for storage and a small surface for a basic paraffin lamp.
Pendo lives quite away from Mtwapa so on a normal day she would get a local bus to school. Unfortunately her mother does not always have the £0.08 that is needed to get the bus so Pendo and her younger sister have had to walk for about 2 hours to get to school. As well as being tiring they have to use a main bridge with no official footpath so it is very dangerous for two young girls. Now Pendo is sponsored she will not have to walk to school again!
Pendo is now in Standard 4 with Charo and her younger sister Faith is in Standard 2. This is great because if Pendo keeps her books and uniform in good order Faith will be able to make use of them in a couple of years.
Today we took all of the sponsored children who attend Mtwapa Academy to Bamburi Nature Trail and Pendo enjoyed it as all of the children did. I will be posting a blog article about the Nature Trail Visit over the coming days with lots of photos!