St Mary's school, Yala
Kenya is a favourite destination for tourists wanting to enjoy a safari adventure or to relax on the shores of the Indian Ocean. Its national parks include the legendry Masai Mara, famous for the Maasai tribes people and the wildlife, including lions and the annual migration of wildebeest. However this beautiful country has been scarred by the HIV and AIDS pandemic which has left approximately 1.6 million children orphaned.
TaC is working to provide secondary education for AIDS orphans in Bondo and Siaya districts in Nyanza. Nyanza is a province in the west of Kenya bordering Lake Victoria.
In 2010, 4 years after the project began, TaC is supporting 38 orphaned children in secondary school (boarding school). Of those, 4 are at St Mary's school Yala.
Bondo district has a population of 237,780 people. 97,490 (41%) of people in Bondo district live below poverty line. HIV prevalence rate was estimated at 27% (1999). The main source of income in the district is fishing and peasant farming, which is often affected by the erratic rain pattern.
Siaya district has a population of 480,000 people (1999).While there are no current succinct data on HIV and AIDS prevalence in the district, 60% of bed occupancy in its main district hospital is filled by AIDS patients (2000).
Map of Kenya
Click to enlarge
Bondo and Siaya districts have 37 and 61 secondary schools respectively and a number of primary schools. In 2003 the Government of Kenya declared universal free primary education and the enrolment rate has significantly increased but children in these divisions still have limited access due to lack of basic utilities like clothes, food and other dignity materials, particularly for girl child, who often drop out of schools. Even if they are able to reach past primary education, few make it to secondary schools due to lack of fees and other social dynamics attributed to the impacts of HIV and AIDS and poverty.
Most of the children orphaned by AIDS have been taken in by extended family members. However, the large number of orphaned and vulnerable children is overwhelming this traditional copying mechanism. Elderly female caretakers or children themselves are heading many of these households and with no income, they lack resources needed to support these additional children and provide essential food, clothing and school fees. Conversely, for the children to cope and / or ensure the survival of their younger siblings, most orphans are being forced to find some sources of income.
Click here to read about Mary and Nancy, two girls from Siaya district and how TaC has changed their lives and gave them hope for the future.
For general information about Kenya see: