Israel Otieno is a former street child who has benefited from the Scholarship offered by ARM through the Rhino Cement Foundation (RCF). Originally from Kisumu, Israel left home at age 6. He found his way to Nairobi. He lived on the street for a few years before he got a break through Bahati Rehabilitation centre.
Bahati Rehabilitation Centre is an institution set up by the Nairobi local authority that takes in street children and sponsors their primary education to schools in the area. Through the centre, Israel was able to go to school and sat for his K.C.P.E in 2009. After this, he was left to fend for himself for further studies as the centre doesn’t cater for high school sponsorship for the children.
Israel took it upon himself to further his studies. He taught himself through borrowing books from friends and neighbours. For 3 years, he studied what his counterparts did in school without attending any classes. He would also do odd jobs around the area to get funds to pay for his exams. This was done at Makongeni Secondary School.
In 2012, he went for the “Vote for Kenya, Vote for Peace” blood drive organised by Ghetto Radio. While he was there, he was issued a wristband with information about RCF and their scholarship project. This is how he came to know about the scholarships opportunities the foundation offers to needy students. He tracked down their Nairobi office where he approached them and asked to be sponsored for his final year in high school.
RCF were impressed by the progress he had made on his own and sponsored him to attend St. Charles Luanga High School, a boarding school in Nyamira in 2013. He sat for his K.C.S.E in November and attained a mean grade of B-.
Today, Israel is working as an intern at RCF in the research and sales department as he waits to join university. He has a passion for civil engineering and hopes to one day work with ARM Cement. He has earned enough money to get rent his own place and moved out of the centre.
The RCF Scholarship Awards
Each year the Foundation’s education programme awards full scholarships and bursaries to students who’ve scored top marks in their primary and secondary final year exams nationwide. Needy students from disadvantaged families and backgrounds are selected from various parts of the country and are provided a rare opportunity to advance their education and reach their full potential. Full secondary school scholarships and university scholarships are awarded to students at some of the country’s leading institutions. The scholarship period exposes students to mentorship opportunities that keep them focused on their education goals. The program also offers professional development and extended education programs for ARM employees.
Every year since the inception of the foundation, 30 secondary school scholarships are awarded annually. This includes 15 girls from different regions in Kenya. The scholarships catered for fees, books, uniform and boarding costs for the entire school period. University scholarships are also awarded for the full length of the program. These numbers increase every year as the strength of ARM and the Rhino cement Foundation grows every year.
If you know of any children who would benefit from these scholarships find the forms here.