Giving orphans and vulnerable children a chance

Education is considered a fundamental human right for those living in North America; however, often times for the children in western Kenya it is a privilege. The list of the reasons why these children must drop out of school is long, but the effects of HIV and AIDS is a frequent cause. It is not uncommon for a child to stay at home in order to care for ailing parents and younger siblings; or the need to purchase food and medication takes priority over school fees.

Assuring those children whose lives have been affected by HIV and AIDS receive a proper education is one mission for the AMPATH Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) program. This is just one example of how twelve girls in Trans-Nzoia County, Kenya, were given a chance to complete vocational training; when, most likely, they would not have been able to complete their education.


Each of the twelve girls has a different background, but their story is similar. None of their journeys had been easy—many had become caregivers for their family at an early age. Through the support of private philanthropy, six girls were funded to undertake vocational training at Zawadi College of Cosmetology. The director of the school was so impressed with what AMPATH was doing to empower these vulnerable children that she agreed to sponsor an additional four girls. The philanthropy became infectious—when another person enrolling his niece in the cosmetology school heard about the ten OVC girls, he too decided to sponsor another two girls. In addition to the 12 girls enrolled in the College of Cosmetology, the OVC program also provided funding to enroll another 38 children in Polytechnics to take courses in garment or fabric designing, motor vehicle engineering, building and construction, carpentry and mechanical engineering.

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