Carolyn, Lavender, Jason, and Joseph are all children from Thomas’ late brother who died many years ago.
Thomas, 67, and his wife Eliminah, 59, have long provided care for their four orphaned nieces and nephews. All four are now young adults working hard in school to create brighter futures.
The couple says their greatest need is education for the children, so our support for this family focuses primarily on helping with school fees. All of the children have missed years of school in the past, in some cases many years, but they are still determined to move forward with their studies.
Lavender is a 19 year-old freshman at a local high school within walking distance of the family home. She was once the only sponsored child before we moved to a Family Care model. Lavender’s sponsor contributes enough for all of her school fees and much of the support towards her family in the areas of agriculture, health, living conditions, and livelihoods. It is not enough money, however, to also see her siblings educated.
Jason and Joseph are almost the same age, one born at the start of 2005 and the other at the end of the same year. Joseph is a freshman in the same nearby high school as his older sister Lavender. His younger brother Jason is in 8th grade, repeating his final year of primary school after moving back in with his family some months ago. His uncle and aunt brought him back to join his siblings after observing problems with the care at an orphans home where Jason was staying.
Our Education Fund is supporting Joseph in high school, while the schooling costs for his younger brother Jason, in 8th grade, are paid by Thomas and Eliminah.
Carolyn, the oldest, is 22 years old and finished high school earlier this year. Our Education Fund had contributed part-way to her high school fees to ensure she finished. She passed her high school exit exams but she did not get a university-level score. She is currently exploring options of where to volunteer, because UKR’s vocational training program asks fresh high school graduates to first give back to their communities. This is to give such young people a chance to earn our support and to gain experience in adult life after high school. After volunteering somewhere for six months, Carolyne will be eligible for a vocational training scholarship from our Education Fund. She is deep in thought considering what kind of hands-on skill in which she will get training.
Eliminah and Thomas are sharp farmers and they have close to two acres of land, which is a lot for families in their area. Living very near the Kakamega Rainforest, they have fewer challenges with irregular rains. They’re growing 9 types of fruits and nearly 20 different food crops to keep everyone fed with a nutritious diet. Still, it’s a lot of work to run the farm and hiring help eats most profits when they want to grow crops for sale. The children help when they can but they are also busy with school.
The couple have tried raising chickens for income and growing leafy vegetables for sale, but both ventures proved to be a break-even or a loss. They hope to find another way, soon, to start earning income. UKR staff are assisting them with this by providing some business training. More than anything, Eliminah and Thomas just want to make sure their four grandchildren finish high school and find work as adults.
Elminah and Thomas can stretch to pay for one or two of their grandchildren’s school fees, partly by leaning on relatives and community members for support, but they can’t afford all the kids. That’s why sponsorship and our Education Fund are both helping.
UKR’s Education Fund will be there for the next couple of years to assist this family in ensuring all their children get a high school education. If our Education Fund is bolstered through new gifts, UKR will also be there to ensure all four children have the chance to get a degree or learn a hands-on trade after completing high school.
Lavender, Joseph, and Jason
(From left) Lavender, Joseph, and Jason together at their primary school last year, before Lavender and Joseph joined a nearby high school
From left) Carolyn, Lavender, and their aunt Eliminah in front of the family’s home.
Emmanuel at the family farm,
Lavender, Joseph, and Jason together at their primary school last year, before Lavender and Joseph joined a nearby high school.