Marion Tenai is a resilient young lady from Naibor in Laikipia County. Marion recently graduated from Loise High School, where she managed an impressive score on the Kenya Certificate Secondary Education (KCSE), the final exam for high school that impacts where you can go to university. The top grade in the KCSE is an ‘A’ and Marion managed a very impressive A minus, making her a top student in Kenya. She was a recipient of the George Small Scholarship Fund administered by Mpala Research Center. Marion defied all odds and she navigated the challenges of limited access to education, rising above societal expectations and financial constraints.
In 2022, over 100,000 students in Laikipia county were enrolled in primary school but the number of students who managed to enroll in secondary school was under 50,000. Far fewer school-age children attend secondary school often due to a lack of funds among poor families in particular to support secondary education, which is only partially subsidized by the Kenyan government. After the 2020-2022 drought, the financial challenges facing many communities around Laikipia grew more severe. However, Mpala, through the George Small Foundation (GSF), has provided a select number of students from the surrounding communities and children of Mpala staff with an opportunity to pursue high school or technical college.
Recognizing the urgent need to address this educational challenge, each year, GSF awards five scholarships to economically disadvantaged but deserving students who excelled academically. To ensure educational success, GSF covers all school costs: tuition, room and board, school supplies and uniforms, as well as personal supplies.
“The scholarship has really helped me,” Marion shared. “It was not a guarantee that I would join high school let alone finish it.” Since the GSF scholarship funds all school-based costs, Marion was able to thrive.
Marion’s success is a testament to what can be achieved when you invest in education. Thanks to GSF, Marion has a bright future ahead of her. “I hope to join a university, and do a course in programming or electrical engineering. Then afterwards, get a good job and stabilise myself,” she said.
GSF’s vision reaches beyond academic achievement. By supporting and educating these students, they can become catalysts for change within their households and communities. The scholarships are not merely financial aids, they are instruments of transformation, paving the way for a brighter future.