Ngara Girls School alumnae pays school fees for 10 needy girls
A group of old girls of Ngara Girls High School has prevailed upon Kenyans who can afford fees for their children to spare something small for the bright needy ones.
The alumni of Ngara Girls, founded in 2018, said last Friday the number of bright children in the country dropping out of school due to poverty is growing, and calls for pooled efforts to have them back.
Some of the members of the alumni - who converged at the school last Friday - said the future of the country’s academic sustainability should not be left entirely to the government.
Regina Ombam, the president of the alumni, Joan Aywaya, the vice president; Jacqueline Okendo-Aduda, the group's head of finance, Stella Kagendo and Emmah Njoroge delivered a cheque of Sh413, 139 to the school, being payment of fees for 10 needy girls.
"Let’s give back to society for it nurtured us. We have a responsibility to reach out to the poor bright children amongst us in order for a balanced future society," Ombam said.
About 60 percent of the school’s 1, 300 student population is drawn from the informal settlements, and poor household set ups.
The school's principal, Dr. Beatrice Ndiga said half of this population is completely unable to pay for their fees.
"Thus, the alumni came in handy to help offset the huge fees balances," she noted as she received the cheque.
Besides being unable to pay school fees, about another 50 percent of the students according to Dr. Ndiga, have challenges clearing fees balances.
According to the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), investing in girls’ secondary education leads to a number of benefits including; dramatic increase in lifetime earnings of girls; rise in national growth rates, and decline in child marriage and mortality rates among others.
It's also believed that education of girls leads to fall in maternal mortality rates, and stunting.
Ombam said since the Alumni was established in the fall of 2018, about Sh1 million has been churned out to benefit around 20 girls.
However, the most important aspect of this initiative she said is to enable the girls to see the broader picture; to be part of an ongoing inspiration and mentorship programme for many others coming after them- for decades to come.
“As we exit, we want to leave a lasting mark. We want to create a network of philanthropists. We want to put in place a sustainable system where the underprivileged will have an opportunity to study and become important members of society,” she said during the event that coincided with the school’s morning assembly.
At the moment, she said the alumnus is working on a program to bring on board guardians and parents in a move that will help nurture the learners’ confidence.
Aywaya, a teacher in one of the schools in the city said most times, even if they are lucky to be in school, learners worry about the situation of their parents.
“Therefore, bringing on board the guardians and parents in the activities of the alumni will nurture the whole aspect of the students so that as they study and their fees is paid, they also need to be comfortable that their parents are fine and in touch,” she added.
“That worry bit affects the learners’ performance, and that’s what we want to reduce,” she said.
Dr. Ndiga said on its part, the school has established a payment system through Mpesa where parents deposit as little as Sh500 to Sh1000 to the school, and with time, this reduces the balances.
In the start of this term, she advised guardians to deposit at least Sh10, 000 of the Sh22, 000 so that they can pay bit by bit using the school Paybill system until they complete.
“We have advised the parents to pay even as little as Sh1000 through the Paybill programme. We don’t insist that they pay everything at once, but continue to pay as they get the money, because we understand that most of them come from slums,” she said.
Ndiga appealed to Kenyans to embrace the spirit of alumni to give back to their former schools in order to give opportunity to future scholars.
Besides the installation of hand washing machines, donation of detergents, sanitisers and sanitary pads for the girls during the Covid-19 pandemic period, the alumni has also helped the school to school to rebuild a perimeter wall separating it from the mechanics yard along Grogan area.