Equity Bank is now the biggest scholarship provider in Kenya through the Wings to Fly programme after spending on education hit Sh20 billion this year. Data from Equity Bank Foundation shows that the bank has spent Sh12 billion sponsoring poor students through high school.
It has also spent another Sh8.2 billion airlifting students to international universities. The Wings to Fly programme was launched in 2011. This year, the bank sent 64 students to international universities. “These scholars are the Vision 2030 generation.
They will gain global experience and exposure and will bring those skills and competitiveness back to Kenya and support in its journey of achieving Vision 2030,” said Equity Bank’s Chief Executive Dr James Mwangi who also chairs Equity Group Foundation.
Among the beneficiaries this year is Benjamin Eshiwani who started his studies at the Michigan State University last month. Eshiwani grew up in Gorofani area of Majengo in Nairobi.
“Every day my parents would give me Sh20 to survive the whole day, even though they knew it was not enough to get me lunch,” When Kenya Certificate of Primary Education results came out he had scored 403 marks and was admitted to Maseno High School.
His parents helped him apply and win the bank’s Wing to Fly scholarship, which enabled him score the best grade in high school. His performance in Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) placed him in line for Equity Leadership Programme, which involves an internship at the bank and full university scholarship.
Eshiwani, who is studying economics, wants to work for the World Bank where he feels he would be effective in changing Africa. For Keziah Oketch the path to the scholarship was not straight. After scoring good 364 marks in KCPE, it was obvious to her that her parents would not afford high school fees. She is the last born in a family of six.
None of her siblings has been to high school. “I kept hoping that I would be the one to change the life of our family,” says Oketch. One day she saw a school bus belonging to a St Francis Nyaganju Girls High school in Kendu Bay.
She followed it to the parking and sought audience with head teacher who was luckily in the bus. Touched by the story, the head teacher asked her to report to school where she was given school uniform. Her first encounter with the bank’s scholarship programme was during a motivational lecture in the school offered by Oyugis branch manager.
The manager told them about the scholarship and gave them the bank’s newsletter carrying stories of beneficiaries. When KCSE exam results came out, she was the top student in the district which meant she had automatically qualified for Equity Leadership Programme.
Oketch has started her neural science and biology studies at Spellman College in USA. Peter Muiru is the father of another beneficiary, Teresia Muiru, who started her Computer Engineering studies at the University of Toronto.
Muiru had given up hope of getting his daughter to high school after he went to Alliance High School and found that the school fees he was required to pay was Sh100,000.