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1,000 learners get ‘wings to fly’

Top KCPE performers commissioned to begin secondary education as Equity Bank chief reveals the scholarship programme has received a Sh700 million boost from the German Development Bank

Irene Githinji @gitshee

At least 1,000 to KCPE performers who will benefit from the Wings to Fly scholarship were on Friday commissioned to begin studies in various secondary schools across the country.

The colourful ceremony saw the beginning of a hopeful journey for this year’s cohort even as Equity Bank CEO Dr James Mwangi revealed that the scholarship programme, sponsored by Equity Group Foundation (EGF) and Mastercard Foundation, had received a Sh700 million boost from the German Development Bank (KfW).

Mwangi, who is also the foundation’s executive chairman, said the funds would go a long way in giving the bright but needy learners the bright future they deserve.

“We have won a partnership with KfW worth Sh700 million and we could sign it coming week and start utilising the cash immediately,” he said. 

He appealed to Education Cabinet secretary Amina Mohamed, who was the chief guest at the ceremony held at Kenyatta University, Nairobi, to consider enhancing government partnership with the foundation to ensure more students benefit from the scholarships.

“We are working with the government to see continuity of the programme and we will go back to the drawing board to see if we get another 20 to 30 years of partnership,” he said.

Scholarship beneficiaries follow event proceedings on a screen.

Mwangi said the programme’s vision is to increase the number of beneficiaries from the current 1,000 to 3,000, adding that the demand for the support is overwhelming.

 He said the foundation received close to 20,000 applications this year from needy students, who sat for Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination last year. The programme, however,  could only accommodate 1,000.

He advised the beneficiaries— bright but needy students who score 350 marks and above, to concentrate on their studies and realise their dreams to transform their lives and those of their loved ones.

“When you start school on Monday, focus on delivering your dream and sharpen your skills so that you can transform yourself,” he told the scholars.

Mwangi said since the programme’s inception 10 years ago, 16,158 bright needy students have benefitted from it.

“So far, four cohorts of Wings to Fly scholars totalling 8,144 scholars have gone through secondary school with a 96 per cent completion rate,” he said.

Mwangi added that out of those, 84 per cent of the scholars (6,641) have attained university entry qualifications grades.

“Currently, we have 24 Wings to Fly scholars selected to join various global universities. Some of the universities include Yale, Harvard, UPEn, MIT,” he said, adding that 2,022 are in TVET institutions.

Wings to Fly scholars choir performs at the ceremony.

Cs Amina lauded the programme and pledged government’s continued support, saying the scholarship offers hope to thousands of bright and needy students. “

“My ministry will work with you  to get more partners in bid to increase the number of beneficiaries and cover the entire nation,” she told Mwangi.

She asked the beneficiaries to seize the opportunity to realise their dreams. “Please don’t be complacent. Do your best and aim to conquer and scale the heights to great success,” said the CS.

 The 2019 scholars thanked the foundation for timely support promising to do their best in school.

And one of the scholars, Maxwell Omondi from Muhoroni, who scored 385 and is set to join Kisumu Boys High,  said he aspires to be a lawyer.

“I promise to turn page after page until I become a lawyer. Not just a lawyer who knows of nolle prosequi, pro bono, or even amicus curiae but a lawyer who is not corrupt,” he said.

Sarah Pilot, who was rescued from in a sewer in Kibera slums, Nairobi, by Bridge of Hope Educational Centre, wants to be a pilot she was given by her rescuers at by becoming a pilot.

She scored 376 marks and is set to join Alliance Girls.

“I must rewrite my history for I must come out like (the Biblical) Moses. I will establish a children’s home of my own for I have wings to fly,” she said.  

 

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