What happens to our orphans after they graduate from high schools?

by Usha Wright

The SHARE Orphan Sponsorship Program (SOS) has been in existence for more than 20 years. Over the course of time, a group of orphans have graduated from high school through the generosity of our sponsors, and some of them continued with their education at a University level. During our trip to Kenya in September 2008, we decided to follow up on some of these orphans to see what their lives are like. Today we have more than 8 students in prestigious universities, and each of these success stories is heart warming.

For example, Wycliffe. SHARE found Wycliffe when he was barely a teen and was taking care of his 5 and 7 year old siblings. As the eldest child, he took on the responsibility of caring for his younger siblings after the death of their parents. We decided to immediately place all three children in the SHARE SOS program because starvation was certain if no help was provided. Along with providing the necessities of life, such as food, shelter, and clothing, SHARE also gave him an opportunity for a quality education. Wycliffe immersed himself in studies and eventually graduated from the Bishop Mugandi High School. Today, Wycliffe is attending Maseno University. All his University studies and expenses are being paid for through scholarships and grants, and he is well on his way to becoming a self-sufficient and contributing member of the society. We are proud of Wycliffe and plan to follow his progress.

Today, we have 3 graduates from universities in our SHARE SOS alumni and would like to bring you the story of Everline:

Everline Anyango Kamaria

Everline came to SHARE SOS in 1999 at age 13. She worked hard eventually graduating from high school with marks sufficient to earn admission to Maseno University on scholarship. In fact, her substantial scholarship paid for all costs except boarding. SHARE’s mission is to see orphans through high school and prepare them to get other assistance to either pursue a skill or higher education from other sources. However, in case of Everline when we learned that she would not be able to accept the full scholarship without room and boarding assistance, SHARE made an exception and decided to help support Everline out of our general funds. The amount needed was $300 per year for 4 years and we knew this was a sound investment in her future. Throughout her university studies, we received great reports of her progress, so it was with a great deal of anticipation that we met with her.

We arranged to meet with her at the Share office and to our amazement in walked a stunningly beautiful girl (now 25 years of age) with a confident gait and an engaging smile. Gone was the shy young girl whom I had met several years ago! We were delighted to learn that Everline majored in education and is scheduled to graduate next month. School year runs from January to early December; graduation usually takes place in November. She will be licensed to teach mathematics and chemistry in high school!

Given the shortage of teachers in Kenya, her exceptional academic performance and her choice of subjects, Everline is in high demand and has numerous choices. Indeed she informed us that she has received 4 job offers! She selected Bishop Mugandi Boarding school, where we currently have 8 SHARE orphans. Everline wants to teach in Suba district, preferably in a school, where SHARE has the greatest number of orphans… as she noted “I want to give back to those from whom I have received so much!”

We cannot think of a better place for her. We know that Everline will stand tall as not only an outstanding educator but a role model and a beacon of hope for all the orphans. We salute Everline and those who sponsored Everline, and those who sponsor would-be Everlines!

Everline with several SHARE sponsored orphans at her college graduation.