27 March 2009
|Young refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Eighteen students are being considered for scholarships for secondary education after JRS re-oriented its education programme in Nairobi. (Angelika Mendes/JRS)|
|"JRS is like a second parent, who ensures that our needs are catered for as we go on with our studies."|
Nairobi, 27 March 2009 — After a needs assessment was carried out in 2008, the JRS Scholarship Programme has diverted its attention from college to secondary school and pre-primary assistance. It became clear that the funds available could accommodate a higher number of students if the focus was shifted to secondary education. Interviews were held in February and intake of 18 students took place in March. At the moment JRS also sponsors two deaf students from Sudan.
By assisting mainly secondary school students JRS helps them to become less dependent. Their opportunities to pursue their education with further support from other organisations are improved so that they can contribute to the development of their community once they return to their countries of origin.
Priority is given to refugee students who have been
in Kenya for two years and more, and who live in particularly vulnerable
conditions. At least 50 percent of the scholarships granted go to female
students. JRS covers all their expenses which include school fees, reading
material, pocket money and transport.
JRS supports higher education
The programme foresees that school visits to secondary schools and colleges in Nyeri, Meru, Nairobi and Rift Valley provinces are carried out regularly. Through the visits the academic progress of each student is monitored and any matters arising are directly discussed. The dean of each school updates JRS on the general performance of the supported students. During the recent visits it became clear that the students supported by JRS feel very privileged. “JRS is like a second parent, who ensures that our needs are catered for as we go on with our studies,” one of our students in Nairobi said.
Another student who was taking a degree in nutrition at Baraton University has recently completed her four-year course. She has now gone back to Sudan where she hopes to make a contribution to the development of her community.
Pre-primary assistance will also start soon. Interviews are scheduled for the end of March and students will then be sent to different schools for the second term, which is due in May 2009.