14 year-old Mary was KCE I’s top scoring student in the recent national primary school exam. As a result, Mary secured placement at a prestigious national high school where she reports this week to begin her high school education.
Mary’s family lives nearly 50 miles from KCE I’s campus, in one of the most remote villages located in the Maasai Mara National Reserve. Often, access to basic necessities in such a remote location is limited. Mary is the second oldest of 17 siblings. Her father is a herdsman and makes a living selling cattle to support his family. “My wives and I never went to school but we know that education is important for all of our children. We encourage and support their studies because education will enable them to have better lives in the future. That is why we are proud of Mary’s hard work and good performance in school. She is a role model to both her older and younger siblings as well as other children in our village,” says Kaipai, Mary’s father.
Left to right: Mary’s mother Noolkisaruni, Mary, Mary’s father Kaipai, and Mary’s step-mother Noolmirisho.
Noolmirisho is Mary’s step-mother. She says her step-daughter loves to share what she’s learning with the entire family. “Last year, Mary had the opportunity to travel abroad with three other KCE I students for an educational conference in America [the 2018 Montessori Model UN Conference in New York]. She shared with us what she learned and about the wonderful experiences she had, including flying in an airplane and seeing snow for the first time. During her school breaks, Mary always informs us of new skills and knowledge gained at school and at Health and Leadership Trainings, and she even tutors her siblings in their weak subject areas,” Noolmirisho says.
Mary’s mother, Noolkisaruni, also shares the same sentiments as her husband and Noolmirisho. “I am proud of my daughter and grateful for her good performance. I wish her the very best as she transitions to high school and I trust that she will continue to work hard in school,” she says.
Mary (center) receiving a Maasai blessing from her mother, step-mother, great-aunt, and father.
Mary’s favorite subjects in school are mathematics, English and Swahili. Having been inspired and excited after taking her very first flight last year, Mary aspires to be a pilot when she finishes school. She says that it was the support she received from Kakenya’s Dream and all of her teachers at KCE I that contributed to her excellent performance in the national primary school exam. “I expected to perform well in my exams because I had been taught by well trained teachers who were committed to seeing their students thrive. I am also grateful to my parents for taking me to school and supporting my studies,” she says.
“On my first day of school when I was a little girl, my father made me a promise that when I am older and only if I excel and complete my studies successfully, he will tell me something of great significance and value to me. Since he won’t tell me now despite my numerous attempts to convince him, I am always motivated to work hard in school and excel in my studies so that when the time comes, I can hear my father’s special words of wisdom!”
Mary (center) with her parents, siblings, and a few members of her extended family.
In 2018, KCE I had a total of 33 eighth grade students take the national primary school exam. They performed exceptionally well, with 80% of the class scoring well above the Kenyan government’s 2018 pass rate. Given the severe socioeconomic hardships and educational setbacks most of our students faced prior to being admitted at KCE I, this is truly a remarkable outcome.
In Kenya, students’ national exam results determine which high school they are placed in. All 33 members of KCE I’s 2018 eighth grade class are joining various high schools across Kenya this month to continue their education.
At Kakenya’s Dream, we believe in providing holistic support to all of our students throughout their entire educational journey, even after they leave KCE I and II and move on to other schools and university. Through our Network for Excellence program, 100% of KCE I and II alumni receive support to continue their education, from being paired with individual mentors, to receiving academic tutoring, financial assistance and scholarships, and assistance applying to universities around the world.
Your support ensures that we can provide these holistic services to students like Mary, and the rest of KCE’s alumni.