What does vulnerable child and partial orphan mean?
Children are identified as vulnerable when both parents are living but one or both are too ill to work or care for the family (usually as a result of HIV/AIDS). These children are often relied upon to take on the role of a parent, working to provide food for the family and caring for siblings. Not only are these childrens basic needs barely being met, but they are forced to sacrifice their education, frequently missing school, being unable to complete homework and unable to afford the required uniforms and supplies.
A partial orphan has one living parent. Most often the deceased parent died as a result of HIV/AIDS and many of the surviving parents are also infected with the HIV virus.
Why do some of the children seem so old for their grade (i.e. a 12 year old in the second grade)?
Although most parents recognize the value of an education, many cannot afford the cost of supplies required to attend school such as uniforms. Or children may be needed at home to work. Even with favorable home conditions, it is not unusual for children to begin school at the age of seven or eight. An older age in a lower grade is not necessarily an indication of low intelligence or inability to learn.
Why pay for a child to attend a private boarding school when Kenya provides free primary education for all of its citizens?
Kenya boasts “free primary education”, yet public education in Kenya is not free at all. Children are required to buy school uniforms, textbooks are not provided and must be purchased, and community members are forced to pay for teachers, as the government does not provide enough to cover all classes. The quality of education at most public primary schools is poor at best. Most children who attend public primary schools perform very poorly on the KCPE, the standardized national exam, and are unable to continue with their education past the eighth grade.
Additionally, there is a marked gender disparity in education placing girls secondary to boys and orphans, both girls and boys, are often denied any educational opportunity. The cost forces many families to make a choice which child will attend school. Guardians and caretakers of relative orphans most often choose their own children. In addition, poor families often rely on their children for farming labor and caring for siblings, requiring them to stay home and miss a substantial amount of time from school.
Without the opportunity to attend secondary school, these children’s future is bleak. With few jobs in the village and scarcity of resources, they face a life of poverty with little or no potential of improvement. Many girls marry young and immediately begin having babies. They are not able to support themselves or their children. Some of the young men may attempt farming and some leave the village for life in the city, often ending up in the streets.
We believe that providing a quality education is the best strategy for breaking the hold of poverty.
How can I keep up with how my child is doing?
We will send you a photo and a letter from your child a minimum of once per year. We will also give you regular updates on your childs performance in school. Report cards can be provided upon request. Please keep in mind that using mail service to and from Kenya is unreliable, so we rely on friends, associates, and even our own travels to get these updates on your child. We are committed to doing our best to facilitate communication between you and your child, but we cannot adhere to a set schedule. We appreciate your understanding.
We also encourage you to write letters and send photos of yourself and your family to your child. You can mail them to the address below and we will make sure they are delivered. Please do not send gifts or money - letters and cards only.
Read our Guidelines for Communicating with your Child.
Can I visit my child in Kenya?
Yes! Our friends in Dago and Oronkai are available to host visitors and volunteers. For information on OWO escorted trips, please contact us directly at email@example.com.
Are my donations tax-deductible?
Yes! We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
What if I want to stop funding a sponsorship?
We encourage donors to make a commitment for the life of the childs education through secondary school. With a sponsorship you are matched with a child who becomes dependent on your annual donation to finish school. You are asked to give this amount each year until your student graduates from secondary school. There is no contract, but please know that one hundred percent of your donation designated for sponsorships goes directly to the students. Failure to pay annual tuition and fees will likely result in your student's removal from school.
If, for some reason, you must discontinue funding a sponsorship we request as much advance notice as possible so we can attempt to match the student with a new donor or make arrangements to cover the balance of the sponsorship.
Why not provide sponsorships in the United States?
We are fortunate in the United States to be able to have publicly funded K through 12 education for all children. One Way Out has chosen to concentrate in Kenya where the government lacks the funds necessary to provide quality free public education and where family incomes are insufficient to pay tuition. When a year of high school costs one to two years gross family income, education without a sponsor is impossible.
100% of donations designated for sponsorship go to the children!
We are a volunteer driven non-profit. There are no salaries and all costs of operating this organization are donated by us or paid for with grants.