In 2010, Road to Freedom Scholarships was founded, with the intent to provide boarding school education for orphans from Kibera. At first however, despite a willingness to pay full school fees, this was proving difficult as many schools demurred when approached to accept girls from the slum of Kibera.
But persevering, Road to Freedom Scholarships succeeded in creating access for the children, and now 16 girls, mostly orphans or from vulnerable family structures, are attending elite boarding schools in Nairobi, Kenya, along with 2 young men, - one boarding at high school in Nairobi, and another at Dominican University, San Rafael, CA, USA, which graciously provided a four year full scholarship to RFS's oldest student, Yema.
A grassroots organization, RFS, is in place on the ground in Kibera, with Lilian Kakoli, a Kibera resident and one of the few mothers in our program, leading Schools visits, medical visits and updates; John Adoli, of Kibera Hamlets, an after school program, - responsible for our guardian outreach program, communications and report cards; and Juliet Dima, our program director responsible for oversight, organization, transportation and program development, including mentoring, role model talks with career women in Nairobi, and class trips.
Road to Freedom scholarships chooses participants in our program based on a needs assessment rather than report cards or scholastic aptitude tests. We have experienced that students who were middling students or below in slum schools, exhibiting little to no excellence, were able to excel once they were well fed, and safely housed in their schools. We also prize the diversity of our students by supporting the individual achievements of each student, knowing full well that each of them are overcoming years of inconsistent or total lack of schooling or proper nutrition, and yet the majority of them still score in the top half of their classes.
Our oldest student, Yema, at Dominican University in San Rafael, CA, was accepted into this private University despite his middling performance whilst living in the slum. He repaid our trust by achieving a grade average of A+ throughout his now five semesters at Dominican, earning the President's Award now two years in a row, and being appointed student ambassador for Dominican, a first for a foreign student.
We would love to open our program to many more students. Africa as a continent is struggling yet failing to provide education for its many orphans, and Kibera too has plenty of orphans and children with vulnerable family structures that need help. We see so many children every day, with so much talent and sheer force of will to survive, we want to help them onto a road to freedom. Please help us reach out a hand to these children so we can provide safety, food, medical assistance and education for these children, and help them become the leaders of their communities.