Q1. How long does sponsorship last?
A1. The Primary education system in Kenya has 3 pre-school years then 8 primary years, so a total of 11 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 15 when leaving Primary education.
Q2. What happens if I can no longer sponsor the child?
A2. We understand that 11 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 Secondary school. Nearly all Secondary schools in Kenya are boarding and the cost is around £32 per month.
At the end of your sponsorship, it is up to you to decide whether you want to support your child at Secondary School. We will endeavour to place the top 50% 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 intangible benefits from an education like 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 8 years, (plus pre-school) so it is similar to a mixture of the UK primary plus 2 years secondary 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. Some start with say 1 boy then later sponsor another child from the same family or a girl from a different family.
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. At Christmas we usually support all the families with a food parcel.
Q8. Will I receive begging letters from the child’s family?
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 a quarterly newsletter detailing the progress on all its projects. In addition, you will receive feed-back on your child 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 like those from Ikea – ideal for small children
- Felt pens
- Stickers (for rewarding good work)
- Notelets, for writing to sponsors
- Coloured paper or thin card
- Oxford reading tree books, especially level 7 upwards. Any condition welcome
- Any other reading scheme or ex school library books (Disney, Ladybird & Thomas the Tank Engine are not really suitable)
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. Every Christmas we buy each child at our school the same small gift such as a food parcel, an item of clothing 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 next to the school and you can be met at the airport. Speak to us for more details.
Q15. When do I sponsor?
A15. The school year in Kenya runs from January to December, so we sponsor 25 new children in January. Before January, we keep a list of potential sponsors. It helps us if you can commit early so we can allocate children.
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 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.