One thousand learners who sat their KCPE exam last year and scored over 350 marks have been awarded scholarships. The needy students from across the country will receive support from Wings to Fly after going through a competitive selection process that included interviews and home visits.
Charles Otieno from Kabong’o village, Nyakach in Kisumu County, is among thousands of students who went through the selection process. Otieno scored 392 in the KCPE exams and was the top candidate at Agai Primary School. “If I get the Wings to Fly scholarship, I will put God first, be disciplined and work hard in my studies. I know one day I will be a pilot,” said Otieno, a partial orphan and third born in a family of seven children, during his home visit.
The Wings to Fly program is funded by Equity Group Foundation and Equity Bank, and gets additional financing from the German Development Bank (KfW), Mastercard Foundation, USAID, UKAid, private institutions and individuals. Since 2010, the program has grown to offer 20,009 scholarships.
Jenifer Mudeizi, a 16-year-old orphan, had a compelling story and also got an opportunity to be interviewed by the selection panel. She resides in Nairobi’s Lenana Kijiji slums under the care of her grandmother, Janet Kadenyi who lives with a disability.
Despite daily challenges like teenage pregnancies, críme and drúg abúse that saw her peers drop out of school, she scored 365 marks at St Joseph of Tarbes Primary School. “I would have performed better were it not for the circumstances at home. I want to get out of here and help my family out,” she said, crediting her success to the commitment of her grandmother, who does odd jobs to fend for her.
Various leaders, including Dagoretti North MP Beatrice Elachi, have lauded the Wings to Fly Scholarship programme, calling upon other organizations and foundations to join hands and help educate the needy.
“The Wings to Fly scholarship has demonstrated tangible results in positively changing communities by empowering children through educatíon,” said Elachi, who attended one of the interview sessions in Westlands Constituency.
Dr James Mwangi, Equity Group Foundation Executive Chairman, said the successful candidates from this cohort will not only add to the growing number of students who have been supported by the Equity Group Foundation, but will also play a vital role in transforming their communities.
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“Wings to Fly offers a rigorous mentorship program that involves scholar congresses where they get to interact with industry captains and school holiday programmes conducted by Equity branch staff and Equity Group Foundation,” Dr Mwangi.
With a 97% secondary school completion rate and 82% qualification for transition to university rate, the Wings to Fly Program has been transformational.
The scholarship selection process prioritizes full and partial orphans with no relative, guardian, or sponsor to provide for their secondary educatíon. Also considered are children whose parents are physically or mentally challenged and children whose parents are living with HIV/AIDS or other chronic illnesses.
Children from families affected by natural dísasters such as flooding, drought, famíne or civil conflict, who have sufféred neglect and/or abandonment and children with parents living in extreme poverty are also eligible.
In the next few days, the 2023 Wings to Fly cohort will attend a centralized induction and get commissioned before joining high school at the end of this month.
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