Boniface Kanja is a 16 year old working child. He has worked at a hotel cleaning and sometimes cooking, where he earned 100 shillings ($1.20) a day. He would spend the money he earned on clothes and paying rent. Kanja comes from a single parent family headed by his mother who does casual jobs such as washing clothes in Kiandutu slum in Thika where they live.
He has seven siblings who all depend on him and their mother to meet their basic needs. Despite all these life hurdles, Kanja has been very keen on education and would often visit the AFCIC resource centre even when the school was not in session. He is also a member of a his schools Child Rights Club where he participates actively and has won several awards. He completed his primary education in 2012 at Kianjau Primary School within Kiandutu slum and scored 305/500 marks. “I had nothing to celebrate for even with the good mark since I knew that was the end of my education!”, said Kanja. The family was unable to raise secondary school fees and having had a relationship with AFCIC he came to seek assistance.
Kanja is one of the many working children in the three regions who have been financially supported with school fees to access secondary education. On identification of a vulnerable working child, an assessment is carried out by the partners’ project team in collaboration with community members to evaluate the level of household vulnerability. A decision is made whether a child qualifies or not and feedback provided to the family. In cases where the child is to be supported, the child, parents/guardians and CORPs are fully involved in the process. The best interest of the Child is the primary consideration for any decision taken. The partner organization then monitors the child in school and at home to ensure adequate support with regard to issues surrounding the child. For cases of education support, the fees are paid directly to the school.
Through Children Lead the Way, Kanja was financially supported to join Broadway High School. He performed very well in the end of term exam where he achieved a B plus grade. Kania had this to say when he brought his report form to the Project Coordinator: “This is a golden opportunity to pursue my dream of becoming a pilot. Thanks to the Children Lead the Way Project. I am very happy for your help and I promise to work hard. I am willing to mentor other children who are supported by the project with my own life experience.”