As Kenyan schools finally get fully back on track after years of pandemic disruptions, we have been eagerly anticipating our next group of Ndoto sponsored students. The process didn’t disappoint: earlier this year, 680 applications for sponsorship were turned in.
|Willis (center left) and Andako (right) meet Nancy and her guardian at their home in a rural area|
The admission process is done entirely by our Kenyan staff. Americans have no role in the sponsorship decisions. This year, a team of five (Alice, Andako, Willis, Susan, and our intern, Joy) were selected to lead the process. They shortlisted the candidates and performed 105 in-person interviews with prospective students and a parent or guardian. This allowed them to narrow the field to 60, which was close to our target.
|Mark is the second-born in a family of thirteen living under one roof|
Then, they went out to visit the final candidates in their homes for a final due diligence check. For some students, this involved lengthy travel to their family homes in the rural areas, facing challenges from confusing directions, dead cell phones, and parents who forgot about the visit. More than once, our staff turned back to try again another day. Several times, our team members, who are used to working with impoverished families, were shocked by the squalid conditions that they found.
Andako shared that the home visits “made me appreciate what God has given under my care.” Joy reported that “some of them are even struggling to get three meals in a day.” Alice said, “the high level of poverty in these homes was extremely saddening.” They found several large families living in extremely small houses. Despite it all, they found smiles and joy in most of the households to receive visitors from Ndoto.
|Lupita’s parents are all smiles after reconciling with each other|
At least one home visit of a successful applicant was productive in an unexpected way. Lupita’s parents were separated, and Alice, Joy, and Andako found them arguing at home. After some discussion, the parents reconciled with each other and have even come by the Ndoto office to offer their appreciation.
After all this, Ndoto now has a new class of 59 students! We’re beginning to recruit new sponsors immediately.