Sponsorship – F.A.Qs.

Q1. How long does sponsorship last?
A1. The Primary education system in Kenya changed in 2018. Our school has 2 pre-school years then 6 primary years, so a total of 8 years. We support children who are around 4 years old who are starting at Osiligi Obaya Primary School (the school that the Charity built and is helping to run), so they will be aged around 12 when leaving this school. Children can then go to other schools for  3 years of junior high school and a further three years of secondary education.

Q2. What happens if I can no longer sponsor the child?
A2. We understand that 8 years is a long time. Many changes can happen during that time. If you start to sponsor a child and are unable to continue, we guarantee that your child will not miss out. Ideally, we will find an alternative sponsor for the child. If we are unable to do so, the Charity will support the child using its general funds.

Q3. What happens after Primary School?
A3. At other schools, most children in Kenya cease their education after Primary school but bright children from rich parents will go to junior high and secondary school. Nearly all secondary schools in Kenya are boarding and the cost is around £34 per month for fees and board. The cost is likely to be the same for the new junior high schools which will be built in around 2023.

At the end of your sponsorship, it is up to you to decide whether you want to support your child at junior high and or secondary School. We will endeavour to place the top 50% (according to results in the KCPE end of primary national exam) of the children from Osiligi Obaya into secondary schools, either with the help of the sponsor or by using the Charity’s general funds.

Q4. Is a Primary education worthwhile without a Secondary education?
A4. Yes. There are many benefits from an education such as a reduced birth rate (almost 50% lower if the woman has at least a Primary education) or being able to fill in forms or read the dosage instructions on medicines. Primary education is for 6 years, (plus pre-school) so it is similar to a  UK primary education.

Q5 .Can I choose a girl?
A5. Yes, or a boy for that matter. We only sponsor 25 new children each year and this is roughly 50% boys and girls. Initially, you can chose a boy or girl, but as we get closer to the 25 limit, we may only have a girl or boy left.

Q6. Can I sponsor more than 1 child.
A6. Yes, and many sponsors do.

Q7. Can I support the child’s family as well as the child?
A7. We don’t encourage it. You are already doing a lot by sponsoring the child to go to school. This is more support than you can imagine.

Q8. Will I receive letters from the child’s family asking for money?
A8. We do not divulge your contact details to the child unless you want us to. If you do divulge your details and you are asked for additional help, we can advise you how to respond on a case by case basis. As mentioned above, you are already doing a lot for the family.

Q9. What feed-back will I receive from the Charity and the child?
A9. The charity produces 3 newsletters per year detailing the progress on all its projects. In addition, you will receive feed-back on your child, photos and drawings/letters from the child. The older children will give you a good insight into Maasai life from their letters.

Q10 Can I send gifts?
A10 We discourage sending gifts to individuals:

  • To avoid jealousy or children feeling left out.
  • To keep what’s good in Maasai culture – they live happily with few possessions
  • There is evidence that gift giving can create expectation.
  • Suitcase space – more room for educational things for all and necessities like shoes.

Q11. Can I send a gift for the school?
A11. Yes please. Here are some suggestions:

  • Wax Crayons, ideally thick ones that are easy to hold
  • Short pencils similar to those from Ikea – ideal for small children
  • Stickers for rewarding good work

Please, no sweets.

We welcome suggestions from primary teachers for suitable classroom equipment.

Q12. What about a sending a gift at Christmas?
A12. The Maasai don’t give gifts other than distributing food or clothes at a church service to the needy. From time to time we buy each child at our school the same small gift such as a food parcel, a bar of soap or something for school. We discuss what to get with teachers and then ask sponsors if they would like to contribute to a pot. If sponsors choose not to, that’s fine.

Q13. Can I send letters and photos to my sponsor child?
A13. Yes, they are really appreciated by the child and their family.
See here for some  ideas on what to write and sample letters. 

Q14. Can I visit the child and school
A14. Yes. There is accommodation in the area. Speak to us for more details.

Q15. When can I start to sponsor?
A15. The school year in Kenya runs from January to December, so we sponsor 25 new children in January.

Q16. Are any children available now for sponsorship?

A16 We have  a short waiting list of sponsors but children can come available at any time as sponsors drop out due to financial difficulties or, sadly, death or as new pupils join throughout the year.

We like to find sponsors for children of our cleaners, cooks, and security guard, and a small number of our teaching staff, all on low wages of £90-110 a month. This helps those children feel the same as the other sponsored pupils and the extra income helps sustain the school. We don’t ask for sponsors for children of our higher paid staff because it doesn’t fit our aims of supporting the poorest members of the community.

We need sponsors for the domestic care of children in our orphanage (£17 per month). They are also pupils at our school so sponsors of orphanage children receive updates on their home care as well as receiving a report on school progress.

For current availability please email helenpannell@btinternet.com

Q16. How and when do I pay?
A16. Most sponsors set up a monthly standing order (£17 per month) or pay yearly (£204) by cheque or bank transfer. Payment is usually due from the January that the child starts although some sponsors choose to help the school by paying earlier.

If eligible, please complete a gift aid form

Q17. Does all my money go to the school?
A17. Yes. We aim to exactly match receipts from sponsors to money paid to the school. Sometimes, exchange rate changes may make the receipts slightly higher or lower than the amount paid. If there is a surplus, it is used to improve the school. The Charity is run by volunteers and the trustees pay all the running costs, so nothing is taken off your payments for costs.

If you have any more questions, please email Helen who will be glad to answer them. Your questions help us to increase answers on this page.

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