This week TIA is delighted to publish a contributor post written by an American married to a Kenyan. She is Margaretta wa Gacheru, a journalist at the Nation Media Group in Nairobi. She informs us about the Sunrise of Africa School’s participation in an upcoming Nairobi fund-raising event. It’s crucial to the school’s ability to raise scholarship money for young students, especially girls, who need a chance to glimpse the benefits of delaying marriage and obtaining an education.
Sunrise of Africa School, a Nairobi-area facility with many scholarship students from poor families, faced a dilemma: How to raise scholarship funds. Then one of its board members, Australia resident Michelle Maher, ran in a Brisbane half marathon and raised US$12,000 for the school. Immensely grateful for the support, folks at Sunrise of Africa wondered if it might be possible to raise scholarship money by running in Kenya.
Michelle’s donations came from Australia as well as Europe, the States and Kenya. “Those funds went a long way towards strengthening Sunrise’s own scholarship program, especially as it helps the young Maasai girls we are currently sponsoring,” said a School’s staffer who will also be running in the Standard Chartered Bank Half Marathon this year for the very first time. The Standard Chartered Bank’s Half Marathon is an important Nairobi fund-raising event.
Michelle’s example inspired several of Sunrise’s teachers to do the same. “What got us thinking specifically about the Standard Chartered Bank Half Marathon was the fact that one of our staff, Evans Chunguli, has been running in it for the past seven years,” said Corinne Corvin, the founder-mother of Sunrise of Africa School.
“We asked him if he would like to run on behalf of the School this year and he said he would be happy to,” added Corinne, the woman who had the vision and desire to prayerfully build a school for less privileged Kenyans on Christian values some years ago. Corinne is a business woman and ensures that every cent is spent wisely on the School.
“Currently, we have 228 students in the school which runs from pre-primary up to Standard 8,” said Musila. ”As many as 62 of them are on full scholarships and another 74 are on half scholarships,” he added.
A number of the full scholarship students are girls from poor homes for whom going to school can literally change the course of their lives. “One of our teachers told us about a 12-year-old girl whose family was about to marry her off to a man more than 40 years older. In return, the family had been promised many cows,” he said.
“Child marriages are illegal but still practiced,” said the staffer, who added that in certain tribes many girls as young as 12 are first circumcised (also termed ‘Female Genital Mutilation’ or FGM) and then quickly married off by their families.
But this girl refused FGM, specifically because she wanted a different future, one that included education. Today she attends Sunrise of Africa School.
It is girls like these that inspired three Sunrise teachers to join the Standard Chartered Half Marathon. It will take place on Sunday, 25th October.
None of them trains quite as hard as does Evans Chunguli who at 52 is running eighteen kilometers three days a week to prepare himself for the twenty-one-kilometer half marathon.
Angelyne Ndunda, 24, runs about two kilometers every day. After listening to Evans’ inspiring story, she too realized she possibly should run a bit further regularly. “Right now I run around the school field during games time and when the children are in PE class,” said the School’s Kiswahili teacher for classes four through eight.
Her colleagues, Evans Myamwano, 24, who teaches science and social science and Sammy Ayal, 30, the school’s music teacher, are also in training as they too are taking seriously the idea of strengthening Sunrise’s scholarship program.
Sunrise of Africa School started humbly in rented tin huts in 2004 in the ‘informal settlement’ of Waithaka on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city. Through the support of generous friends Sunrise was able in 2005 to purchase land outside the capital in what was then an under-developed area called Kitengela.
Sunrise has now shifted its focus to Kitengela, an area of the country which is not only more multi-cultural than Waithaka (meaning Africans from many different communities, once known as ‘tribes’), but which is also under-served in terms of education.
Today, Kitengela is a bustling town which is growing fast, making it even more multi-cultural and in need of a quality education facility like Sunrise of Africa. However, the neighborhood is a poor one, which is why the school feels compelled to offer so many scholarships to needy children.
The School invites friends of Sunrise and all other interested parties to participate in the sponsoring of Evans Chunguli, Joshua, Angelyne, Sammy and Evans Myamwano.
To pay via credit card or your Paypal account, please go to Evans’ sponsorship page on the web:www.gofundme.com/zagaa2c
You can access the Sunrise of Africa School website at www.sunriseofafrica.com and
Margaretta wa Gacheru at firstname.lastname@example.org.