Educational sponsorship scheme
The Educational Sponsorship Scheme has been operational for almost 20 years and was initially set up because many children in Ifunda did not - could not - attend school. Since then, primary and secondary school fees have been abolished, but to buy a uniform, shoes and basic school equipment is still beyond the reach of many parents; consider too that many children are orphans so that a high proportion are cared for by aged grandparents, relations or guardians.
We have established a local ‘Steering Committee’ to oversee the Educational Sponsorship Scheme, working with five Primary Schools in the Ifunda area; each school has a Charity Trustee teacher appointed by our very able administrator, Moses Madembwe, who lives in Ifunda.
After his primary degree, Moses was sponsored by the charity to study for a Masters Degree in Psychology, and he has worked closely with us for a number of years. Through each Trustee Teacher and supported by Moses, we follow the children’s progress with twice yearly performance reports.
The sponsorship payment for a Primary School child is £125 p.a. which provides a school uniform, shoes and a school bag with all the necessary writing materials. It also provides supplies for the family such as maize, oil, soap and candles and even pays for basic family health insurance.
We also manage to stretch the funds to support each of the five local Primary Schools with an allowance for the most urgent needs, such as books, teaching aids, benches and maintenance thereby benefiting the wider community as well as individual children.
Children attend Primary School for seven years, usually entering at the age of seven. At the end of Primary school there is a Government leaving exam, which determines whether they can attend a Government Secondary School or if they will go on to a Vocational Training school. The sponsorship payment for students attending Secondary School, Vocational Training Centres or University is £175 p.a. Sponsorship covers fees and board & lodging and is in most case supplemented by the charity's general donation funds.
The Charity's Educational Sponsorship Scheme has had a major impact on the schools in Ifunda. Many students have qualified in electrical, carpentry, welding and tailoring crafts; some as nurses or teachers and some more recently have attained graduate status from Universities. At present there are fifteen students studying for various Degrees including English, Law and Conservation Studies. We are very proud to have sponsored children from primary right through to tertiary education giving them opportunities that would not be possible without the generous support of sponsors.
We currently have over 300 students in our Educational Sponsorship Scheme, from Primary School right through to University level.