Greetings to you from Child Aid Africa. We are truly thankful to God for a great experience during 2016. Following the discouragements at the close of year 2015, concerted efforts in prayer and a humbling response from our partners kept us fully engaged in support of every student in our program. One of the long standing “Founding” Partner of Child Aid Africa responded generously to our plea for help; touched our hearts deeply with the financial help we desperately needed. His family became the hand-of-God to save our ministry from a debilitating blow. This is how it unfolded: While making travel plans for a meeting at his city, he opted instead to make a 18-hour round trip to my town to pray with us and to offer encouragement to our ministry. This is his enduring remark during the visit, “I do not wish to see any of the students suffer.” This he concretized by offering us adequate funding to cover the budget shortfall -- a clear demonstration about the faithfulness of God to the mission of Child Aid Africa. Consequently, we were able to meet our students’ fees commitments for our graduating and continuing students. We granted full year scholarships to 15 students but this year we have 7 cases needing scholarships under our current scholarship format; we are very encouraged that our partners are keen to support efforts to allow these students complete secondary school education.
Wonderful News! Two of our partner families supporting our secondary school education scholarship program - the Johnsons and and Pruitts, have determined to continue support to their sponsored students through college education. This is a surprise development just when we are lamenting that most of our students loose their dreams for college education due to the cost of higher education in East Africa. We are most grateful for this pre-emptive gesture from these two wonderful families.
New Program Direction: Although we had a low-key year, 2016 was a tremendously important year at Child Aid Africa. We carried out an evaluation of our accomplishments, challenges and lessons learned during our 11 years of ministry providing orphans’ with education opportunities. Our findings demonstrated clearly that large numbers of primary and secondary school graduates are still in great need of support. Further, the need has become more urgent with new shifts in political, cultural, and social economic landscape in the region. While secondary school support continues to be urgently needed, students that graduate from secondary schools have had little or no chance of entering college. Our initial ideation that college scholarships would be readily available to the majority has been contradicted by the on the ground reality. Although many agencies have popped up lately with a populist agenda to support the minority cream and exceptional achievers, average students – the bulk - the hump in the normal distribution curve, scoring C grade and below, have absolutely no support to earn college education. The faulted drive to support only the brightest has unwittingly neglected a huge section of student population mostly orphaned, poor and disfranchised cases.
Students with grade C and below comprise the highest percentage of all the KSCE graduates that do not attract support from any of the available education support agencies.
To address this urgent need, Child Aid Africa has developed a strategy to address this need in a new education support program - the Pay It Forward (PIF) under an Impact driven conception. Among the key facets of the PIF scholarship format, Child Aid Africa is poised to become a fully sustainable agency. Qualifying students will carry more responsibility by signing a PIF loan repayment contract. Different products will be available under the program i.e. secondary school education, vocational training, college education and job-placement training. The hall-mark of the program is the birth of the Center for Adolescent Health Social Enterprise (CAHSE) Initiative. Funds generated through the servicing and sale of medical devices (equipment) will support CAA operations and eventually, the PIF fund. In this regard, we are recruiting and engaging in conversations with individuals, churches and corporations to join hands with us. We are seeking inclusion in the Cooperate Social Responsibility (CSR) grant provisions in local and international businesses. We are also keen to join partnerships with impact investors for the support of our Social Enterprise Business start-up needs.
Our five-year projection is to assist 1000 students through secondary and college education; and 500 in vocational-training and related mid-level training. Our Life Skills and Mentorship program will cover all students in batches of 200 through counseling and training. The most urgent need is for a start-up fund estimated at 10% of the projected first annual budget at $230,000.
We are inviting all our existing partners, and newcomers to join with us to jump-start the new program initiative. We are inviting our recently retired (all whose sponsored children graduated from high school during 2015 - 2016), and existing partners to join with us in our mission.