Church Launches Scholarship Program For Bright And Needy Students

By Andanje Wakhungu

Friends Church of Kenya (FCK) has launched its scholarship programme for the bright and needy students across all the Quaker schools in the country. The national presiding clerk of Friends churches in Kenya, Stephen Magwilu, while addressing congregants assembled at Friends Malava Boys School during their annual Thanksgiving ceremony, announced that so far, the first group of students had been sponsored through the initiative as part of their journey to assist its Quaker students’ access to education. The ceremony that saw the church celebrate its 33 years since harnessing all the friends’ churches in Kenya was held at Fiends Malava Boys.

“As a church, despite the spiritual nourishment and support we offer our Quaker schools, we found out there was a need to set up a scholarship programme that can identify very bright but needy students who were struggling to join national county and extra county schools after attaining good grades in their Kenya certificate of primary education (K.C.P.E.) exams, and because of the magnitude of the matter, we have put in place a special team to vet and identify extremely needy bright students for this exercise. We might not reach as many students, but we will do our best to expand the programme to accommodate as many students as possible in the coming future.”

Magwilu pointed out that through their five regionals, which host 23 yearly meetings, education secretaries were mandated to give out application letters after scouting for bright and needy students fit for the programme.

“Already, the church is sponsoring 10 (five boys and five girls) who are spread in our schools across the country, and since we started the initiative last year, we are spreading the word to our country’s Quaker churches to embrace it and enable more bright and needy students to attain education, and we are hopeful that with the mechanisms put in place, we will assist more. We are doing this so that we also give more to society and church members in accordance with the Quaker faith and teachings, considering that when the missionaries came to Keya, the first thing they introduced was education.”.

Magwilu further hailed the cooperation they were getting from the Quaker schools countrywide, hailing the efforts of the school managers to improve their schools.

The Presiding Clerk further revealed that, through the recent meeting with the National Conference of Churches of Kenya (N.C.C.K.), it has been agreed that schools being sponsored by churches should identify themselves by first labelling the name of the sponsoring church before the school name, respectively.

“We want to have clarity on which church sponsors which schools so that we can be able to identify and ensure that all schools under our Quaker faith are fully catered for and also be easy for parents seeking to enrol their students in whichever faith or denomination can easily locate the school.”

He also announced that the church was organising a global strategic management workshop for its members, including school managers, where issues related to handling their various institutions would be discussed.

“This global summit bringing on board foreign and local trines and trainees will be held in Kenya, where anyone interested in learning about strategic management is welcome to participate, and we expect it to be a huge milestone for our Quaker members countrywide and even beyond.”

The national Friends schools chairman, who doubles as the Chief Principal of Friends Malava Boys, hailed the new move of sponsoring students, saying it was one way of reigniting hope in many.

“The harsh economic times and the recent COVID-19 pandemic have left many families in tough situations, with the county undertaking massive layoffs, leaving most families jobless and unable to cope with the current times. It has even made us  start our own internal scholarship programme to assist our bright, needy boys who come from humble backgrounds and who are unable to continue paying fees after being admitted, and we are happy that we have quite assisted over 200 students since we began.”.

He also lauded the exam mocks the church has been sponsoring for sharpening the candidate’s wits before the national exams and having a greater impact on improving the performance of the learners within the sponsor schools.

He called on the Friends-sponsored school principals to closely follow the Quaker virtues for the smooth running of their institutions.