Dennis Gachoki can relate to the struggles students from poor families go through to pay school fees. His dream of becoming an engineer was almost shattered by consistent lack of school fees right from primary school.
Gachoki always topped the list of students with arrears and at times he could stay for a month at home as his parents struggled to pay school fees for him and his four siblings. His mother was a housewife and his father a carpenter, thus they found it hard to put food on the table and pay school fees at the time.
“My parents could not afford Sh2,200 for my fees and I would always be sent home then go back with Sh300 or Sh200 until they cleared. This was how my entire primary school life was, but fortunately, I completed school and went to high school,” narrated Gachoki.
After his high school admission, he was required to pay Sh16,000 per term. At this point, Gachoki tirelessly looked for sponsorship, but his efforts were futile. Fortunately, in his final year, an anonymous sponsor cleared his arrears and also paid the remaining school fees, as he learnt from the school bursar.
His determination was refreshed and he scored a mean score of an A-, which got him to the University of Nairobi where he pursued Geospatial Engineering. Now 25 years old, Gachoki has developed a platform called E-bursary, a web-based platform that connects bright needy African students to scholarships and bursary opportunities.
Unlike his fellow students who spend leisure time in extra-curricular activities, Gachoki dedicated every second of his leisure time to experiment on new web development projects at his company, which he founded while still pursuing his engineering course. “E-bursary is inspired by my personal story growing up.
Realising how time-consuming the process of finding scholarships and bursaries in Kenya is, I founded E-bursary to save some students who are going through the same struggles I went through,” noted Gachoki.
E-bursary is a web-based system that aggregates secondary school, undergraduate and postgraduate bursaries and scholarships into one platform. It allows students to view bursaries and scholarships relevant to them based on their profile, receive email notifications whenever a new bursary or scholarship matching their profile is posted and allows for the online application of those opportunities through the platform.
It further allows organisations to post bursaries and scholarship openings online and allows them to receive applications through the same platform. It also provides them with smart tools that enable them to filter through thousands of applications based on their awarding criteria.
For students, the platform is beneficial in that it enables them to search through a large database of bursaries and scholarships, they receive a report matching bursaries and scholarships based on their particular criteria search and it enables them to apply for bursaries/scholarships online at their own convenience.
On the other hand, for organisations, it allows them to receive applications online, filter applicants based on their criteria and save on cost and time with respect to advertising, sourcing, profiling, and processing of applicants. It also provides organisations with smart tools to list, sieve and manage grant applications and disbursements.
“This is a platform I have worked on from scratch and it is helping hundreds of students who are signed up. It is available across Africa,” said Gachoki.