Elizabeth, age 14, hopes to become a journalist. That looked like an impossible dream just a few months ago as she didn’t have the money to continue with school past the sixth grade.
Money is tight because Elizabeth’s mother is the family breadwinner, and she’s a waste picker at the Dandora dump. Elizabeth remembers being left as a 3-year-old with her older siblings, who mistreated her, while her mother was picking through trash, looking for things to sell and keep.
Now, Elizabeth is one of 50 students who recently said goodbye to the Dandora dump as they look toward a new future. They have signed on to become the first Samaritan Scholars in Kenya.
Samaritan Scholars and their parents said goodbye to the Dandora dump, a place their families have depended on for their livelihoods.
Some of the new scholars had dropped out of school for more than two years due to a lack of school fees. Now, a scholarship has revived their hopes to achieve their dreams.
With a holistic scholarship, these students will have their school fees and basic necessities covered. They will now have school books, transportation to school, food, health, and life skills programs.
I have told our scholars that our slogan is “We are a family.” This helps us to build strong relationships, care for each other, and correct one another with love.
Our new Samaritan Scholars in Kenya.
The seeds of kindness planted by you, who give your unwavering support through International Samaritan, are evident through the stories of transformation from our scholars.
Our Samaritan Scholars have embraced their new chapter with enthusiasm and a desire to achieve their dreams and then come back to change their communities.
The scholars sing and dance with confidence, “For I know who I am. I know who God says I am.”
I feel we have been able to share the love of God with our scholars and parents. We’ve built a Samaritan family in Dandora, provided food baskets to the most needy, helped with emergency health needs, and discussed life skills and personal journeys. We returned scholars to schools and have given them back their dreams.
I am confident that these efforts are not in vain. With your support, the lives of these 50 scholars have been changed, and they can afford to sit in a classroom to read once again. I highly appreciate it on their behalf.
Step by step, we will work to rewrite the narrative of communities working at the dumpsite and write stories of triumphant scholars and families.
In a recent webinar, several of the new Samaritan Scholars shared their stories. Watch to learn more about the program and to meet some of our new scholars.
Esther Muhia, Country Director
Esther’s education is in sociology, communication, and gender and development studies. She has worked in several leadership roles in Nairobi, Kenya, including at the Catholic Medical Mission Board. She has worked with NGOs and community and global organizations. Esther has successfully implemented various programs, including family and parent skills development, school-based mentorships and scholarships, economic empowerment, psychosocial support, and gender-based violence prevention programs.
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