Why We Educate

Everyone should be able to go as far in school as their passions and abilities can take them. That’s why we remove the financial obstacles so that students can pursue their educational dreams. Ndoto means “Dream” in Kiswahili, and since our founding we have believed that students can best succeed when they are dreaming for their future.

How We Educate

Because of Ndoto, 628 students have been able to go to school who wouldn’t otherwise have had that chance.

There are two ways that Ndoto educates the next generation. First, we identify high-potential students with great needs and we sponsor them. These students, from kindergarten through college, go to over a hundred different schools across the country. We can take care of their basic needs so that they can get the education they need.

Second, we have our own private Christian academy on our campus in the middle of Obunga, the urban slum where we work. Launched in 2022 with pre-K and Kindergarten, we are adding one new grade each year. Featuring small class sizes, creative educational design, computer skills training, chapel services, and one of the best playgrounds in the city, Ndoto Academy is charting a new path in education and offering us a chance to even more directly support the education of the next generation.

Ndoto is educating the next generation by identifying high-potential students with great needs and sponsoring them. These students, from kindergarten through college, go to over a hundred different schools across the country. We can take care of their basic needs so that they can get the education they need. These students are selected through a rigorous application process that requires an application, past report cards, letters of recommendation, and family information. Applicants have to pay a nominal fee to demonstrate that they are serious about education.

100% of sponsorship donations go to Kenya to support Kenyans.

Just as the ground produces its crops and a garden yields its produce, so the Sovereign Lord will cause deliverance to grow, and give his people reason to praise him in the sight of all the nations.

Isaiah 61:11

Improved Grades

Students improve their grades and are able to graduate when they gain the support of Ndoto, removing obstacles such as financial stress.

Improved Life Skills

Students build character, social skills, confidence, and other life skills through Ndoto experiences that will serve them throughout their lives and careers.ty.

Improved Wellbeing

Ndoto ensures that students’ basic needs are met, providing a safety net for vulnerable families and supporting their health.

We believe that education is a fundamental piece in the complicated puzzle of eradicating poverty. In Kenya, school comes with fundamental costs. First, there is tuition, books, and various fees. Then, there is the cost of supplies and uniforms. Finally, there is the cost to the family of having older kids not at home, where they could be taking care of younger kids or even helping the family business. These costs can perpetuate generational poverty.

Through education, young people can achieve outcomes that their parents could only dream of. For example, Zadock earned only A’s in high school though his single mother struggled to keep him and his two brothers in school. Ndoto sponsored him to go to a top university and he graduated in 2019 with a degree in Chemical and Process Engineering. He now works for the Kisumu Water and Sanitation Company. In a country where less than half of working-age adults have a job with a steady salary, Zadock is an inspiration.

Others, like Silas, take the route of vocational training. Silas dropped out of school when his mother died and he fell in with bad company. In 2017, he joined Ndoto, taking a course in motor vehicle mechanics. He finished his course in two years a transformed man and now works as a local mechanic.

Ndoto sponsors students from kindergarten through college level, and also serves special needs students of all ages.

Kenyan School System

Kenya’s schools are divided into several levels. Nursery School contains three levels – play group, PP1, and PP2, which roughly correspond to preschool, pre-kindergarten, and kindergarten in the USA.  Primary School is the next eight grades, known as Class 1 or Standard 1 through 8.  Secondary School, or High School, is the next four years, referred to as Form 1 through 4.  Post-secondary education takes several forms. Vocational school, or trade school, is an option for anyone. Certificate-level courses are one or two year programs at technical schools. A Diploma is a two or three year college program roughly equivalent to an Associate’s Degree in the US. A Degree is a four-year university program equivalent to a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s and Doctoral programs continue after that, although Ndoto does not sponsor students for such post-graduate programs.

At the end of Class 8, or 8th grade, all Kenyan students take the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam. This is a high-stakes exam that determines what type of high school a student can be enrolled in. The exam takes three days in the last week of October. At the end of Form 4, or 12th grade, all Kenyan students take the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam. This is an even higher-stakes series of exams spread over the month of November in at least seven subjects (hover for detail, below). The KCSE grades determine the entrance of public and private universities. Students scoring a C+ or higher (recently less than 20% of all students) may join Degree-level programs.

The Kenyan school system uses a trimester system aligned to the calendar year. The first term runs from January through March, the second term runs from May through July, and the third term runs from September through November. Thus there are three one-month breaks throughout the year. Form 4 graduates typically are out of school through the first and second terms while they explore their options for post-secondary education and are known colloquially as "leavers".