For children of Kibera, advancing through the education system is fraught with difficulties.
At Future Stars, the free primary school removes the first obstacle for many children who would otherwise be unable to afford to attend school. However, a primary education is not enough to give these children a real start in the world.
At the end of Class 8, children can sit exams to achieve their Primary Leaving Certificate. Without this, they have no proof of education and also cannot progress to High School. Registering for these exams incurs a fee that is beyond the means of many. However, today we were able to pay these fees for two of the residential children – John and Vincent Austine.
High School will take a student as far as Form 4, after which they are entered for the Secondary Leaving Certificate. Again, registration for these exams can be pricey. Fortunately, we have been able to pay this fee for another of the residential children – Philemon.
In addition to exam registration fees, John and Vincent Austine were in need of birth certificates. Without these, the boys would not be eligible to sit the exams.
There are many children born in Kibera, or in villages throughout rural Kenya, whose births are never registered by their parents. It then becomes necessary to purchase a certificate at a later date to allow the children to sit their exams. Also, without a birth certificate, a Kenyan citizen is unable to acquire an identity card when they reach adulthood, which means they are unable to vote, to work a regular job, or even to walk into a government building. Acquiring a birth certificate is therefore an important step in preparing these children for adult life.