M-Pesa Academy admits 5 refugee students for fully funded secondary education
For the second year in a row, five more refugees have been admitted to the prestigious M-Pesa Foundation Academy
Garang Deng, Shadrack Ngueny, Ader Kiir, Deng Garang and Keth Garang originally from South Sudan were selected to join the prestigious M-Pesa academy, having scored more than 300 marks in primary exams. ©UNHCR/Caroline Opile
For the second year in a row, five more refugees have been admitted to the prestigious M-Pesa Foundation Academy, which is a project of the giant telecommunications company, Safaricom.
The five join 187 Kenyan students who have also been admitted to the academy this year where they will pursue their secondary education. This is the second cohort of refugees to be welcomed into the institution, the first group of six refugee students having been admitted in 2018.
14 year old Keth Garang Yuot was almost speechless and mesmerized by the facilities at the school. However, once she fitted and changed into her school uniform, her demeanor changed to that of a very confident girl.
“Having won the uniform, I am now very sure I have been admitted to the M-Pesa Foundation Academy. Before today, it felt like a dream, but now am living the dream,” an elated Keth said.
"Having won the uniform, I am now very sure I have been admitted to the M-Pesa academy,"says 14 year old Keth Garang originally from South Sudan. ©UNHCR/Caroline Opile
“I have been studying under harsh conditions while in the camp, now I will have access to all education resources and books in this digital school," says 15 year old Shadrack Ngueny originally from South Sudan. ©UNHCR/Caroline Opile
“I am grateful to M-Pesa Foundation for the heart they have to support needy children, not everyone can do that," says Ader Ariik, 15 year old refugee originally from South Sudan. ©UNHCR/Caroline Opile
15 year old Deng Garang originally from South Sudan hopes to pursue a career in civil engineering. He boasts of being an excellent goalkeeper in football.©UNHCR/Caroline Opile
“I want to develop an application for games. While I was in primary school in the camp, I would go for computer lessons which taught me a lot about programming" says Garang Deng, 15 year old, originally from South Sudan.©UNHCR/Caroline Opile
Born in Kakuma camp in 2003, the last born in a family of five siblings scored an average of 320 marks out of 500 marks in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE). She hopes to advance in her education and become a pilot. Apart from excelling in academics, she will continue to play her favorite sport netball, and learn to play basketball.
Ader Ariik Akueyi is also among the few selected to study at the academy. The last born in a family of eight siblings is beaming with joy as she ties up the lace of her shoes after receiving her collection of personal items. The 15 year old scored 341 out of a possible 500 marks. She dreams of becoming a heart surgeon and wants to not only concentrate at being the best academically, but also wants to play netball and learn swimming.
“I am grateful to M-Pesa Foundation for the heart they have to support needy children, not everyone can do that,” Ader says.
Kenyans take people as friends and not strangers
She notes that even though she is a refugee, she was confident of being among those who will be selected.
“Kenyans take people as friends and not strangers. I was sure the M-Pesa Foundation Academy would consider me for the scholarship opportunity that is often a preserve of the nationals.”
Shadrack Ngueny Kuol sits quietly in a corner waiting for his turn to take a photo for school identification. He looks visibly exhausted from the admission process that has at least 8 stages, from registration to issuance of personal items and allocation of accommodation. Born in 2003 in South Sudan, the 15 year old wants to be an author of books because of his good command of English. The former student at Kadugli primary school scored 336 out of 500 marks and want to continue playing football and learn to play hockey.
“I have been studying under harsh conditions while in the camp, with limited books and facilities, but now I will have access to all education resources and books in this digital school. I know my life will change for good,” Shadrack remarks.
Deng Nyuon Garang was born in South Sudan 15 years ago. The second born in a family of seven siblings was among the three boys admitted at the institution. Having scored a mean grade of 320 out of 500 in the primary exam, Deng remains hopeful that he can pursue a career in civil engineering. Geng, who boasts of being an excellent goalkeeper, is eagerly waiting to join the school football team after the two weeks of mandatory orientation for all new students.
I have been studying under harsh conditions while in the camp, with limited books and facilities, but now I will have access to all education resources and books in this digital school
Garang Deng, another new student scored 332 out of a possible 500 marks. The friendly 15 year old is the last born in a family of five siblings. Being an orphan motivates him to work hard in school and transform the lives of his family and community.
“When I received the news of my admission, I lost appetite for supper that had already been served, the joy was uncontainable,” Garang says.
He is excited to have joined an institution that promotes innovation and cannot wait to put his skills to work.
“I want to develop an application for games. When I was in primary school in the camp, I would go for computer lessons which taught me a lot about programming. I want to apply these skills while in this school that has an innovation centre, “Garang says.
Les Baillie, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the Academy says, “In this school, we live as a family, and we encourage integration among students from the different backgrounds – nationals from the 47 counties in Kenya as well as foreign students from the refugee camps.”
The CEO reiterates that M-Pesa academy not only focuses on academic performance, but seeks to build the whole person while engaging the students in talents and skills development for self-reliance and excellence in the market place.