My name is Jonathan. My daughter, Everlyn, is a 12-year old sixth grader at the Kakenya Center for Excellence (KCE).
In addition to Everlyn, I have seven other children between four and 18-years old. Of the eight children, six are my own. My wife, Lillian, and I have been the guardians for Everlyn and her 10-year-old brother since the death of their mother, my sister, 10 years ago. She died from childbirth complications after experiencing an epileptic attack while giving birth to her son at home. Everlyn and her brother know they can trust and depend on us for their needs. All eight children attend school, and we do our best to support their studies through the income we generate as small-scale maize farmers.
(Above) Jonathan and Everlyn at their home. In Maasai culture, elders touch the head of a younger person to signify warm greetings and blessings.
Everlyn has been a student at KCE for three years. When she was admitted in 2015, I was so excited. I sold my cow for 15,000 Kenyan shillings (US$150) and used the money to buy her shoes, writing materials, mattress, blanket, soap, padlock and a metal box where she could safely put all her belongings. I was worried it would not be enough, but when I got to the school, Dr. Kakenya told me the school would provide everything Everlyn needs. As if that news alone was not enough to make my heart fill with joy, Dr. Kakenya sent me home with the items I purchased for Everlyn, so my other children could use them.
Oh, I was (and still am) so grateful! Kakenya’s Dream continues to provide for her needs to support her education. As a result, Everlyn has been able to concentrate on her studies and improve her academic performance. As of the end of this term, she moved from position 20 to number 15 in her class out of 41 students. I am so proud of what she has accomplished.
Everlyn and Jonathan look over her school workbook. Like many fathers of KCE students, Jonathan visits the school regularly to meet with teachers, offer support, and stay engaged in Everlyn’s education.
Everlyn is grateful for her father’s support and for her education. She enjoys every part of school, but mathematics is her favorite subject and she likes playing sports after class. One of her proudest achievements this year was scoring 90% on her mathematics final exam.
She says, “I have been told that my mother died shortly after giving birth to my brother, which also left my brother’s leg disabled. This is why I want to become a doctor when I grow up. I will be able to treat sick people, especially those that are poor and vulnerable like my community. I will help prevent cases of death that can be avoided, such as the ones associated with home births. With all the support I receive from Kakenya’s Dream, I know my dream will be made possible.”
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