Blog Archives

The first group of SYEF recipients – 10 youth who received their scholarships in January 2011 – completed high school and received their diplomas in December 2014.   On January 4, SYEF sponsored a ceremony and reception with our 63 SYEF recipients to-date, family members, community elders and more than a dozen SYEF donors who traveled to be part of the festivities.  The morning ceremony featured remarks by a number of individuals, introductions of the graduates, traditional celebratory songs and dances by the SYEF students and more.  It was a heart-warming and fulfilling day for everyone!

The latest cohort of scholarship recipients was selected in early January. The group of 8 girls and 5 boys were informed about their full scholarship on January 3, and on the 4th they were introduced at the first-ever SYEF celebration to recognize the first graduating cohort (selected in 2010).  The students were selected by SYEF’s local advisory committee based on academic achievement, character, and leadership potential.  Welcome to the SYEF community to Tabau, Jackson, Elisabeth, Sandra, Julietta, Diana, Martin, Dida, Jane, Nasieku, Musa, Juliet and Bukayo!

In November, SYEF alumnus Gabriel Lengamunyak kicked off the Samburu Moran Education Programme (SAMEP) to increase literacy among his peers with minimal formal education.  “Moran” is a term to describe young (and usually unmarried) adolescent men in Samburu, and they have traditionally had primary responsibility for herding livestock and providing security to their community.  Nowadays, individuals like Gabriel might choose to pursue a formal education in lieu of those traditional roles. In the case of Gabriel, he chose school in order to acquire skills and strategies for community development  and poverty alleviation.  He is now a student at University of Nairobi seeking a degree in project management and planning. SEMAP is entirely his vision and initiative, and his efforts illustrate the positive outcomes of an investment in education.

Andrew, one of SYEF’s first-ever scholarship recipients, recently started his first term of college at Eldoret University in western Kenya.   Many years ago, Andrew was one of a cadre of young people in Samburu who inspired SYEF founders to start the organization. He would work tirelessly on homework, and after completing his homework, asked for more story problems, multiplication worksheets and other homework so he could continue learning. He was around 11-12 years old at the time.  Following his completion of secondary school in November 2013, he was awarded a government scholarship to college for his high marks on Kenya’s required national secondary school exam.  In early September, he made the 15 hour journey to Eldoret and began classes, with an intent to major in a science discipline.  Congratulations, Andrew!

As part of their scholarship requirements, SYEF recipients participate in service projects during each of the three annual school breaks.  In April, the students pooled their energy and time to rebuild the failing hut of an elderly Samburu man.  They repaired the mud walls, weaved new thatched pieces for the roof, replaced broken beams, shook out the animals hides and picked up trash around the place.  Little kids stood by and watched what was going on; passers-by gave our SYEF youth kudos for their humanitarian work. This is what SYEF is all about: nurturing leaders, helping each other, and building a community norm that values investment in youth.

for Thursday, October 9 at 7pm the Agave Room in Fort Collins, Colorado (143 West Mountain, next to The Rio).  Join us for good food, camaraderie with other SYEF supporters, a silent auction, and more! This year features a Samburu Marketplace – win Harambee currency to use to buy beaded bracelets, necklaces, and more! 

The first term of the school year is over, and many of our young people are at or near the top of their class!  Most secondary schools in Kenya are boarding schools comprised of students from all over the country, so our SYEF students are in schools in which some classmates come from parts of the country where primary schools have much greater resources. It can feel intimidating to a Samburu youth when a classmate talks about the computers and labs in their primary school, while the SYEF’s students’ primary schools may not even have had electricity.


Many of our students overcome this through hard work and resilience, and it shows in their class rank. We have numerous students ranked in the top five in a class of hundreds! While the high marks are awesome, we are most proud of our students’ hard work ethic and commitment to their success.

Our local advisory committee in Archer’s Post, Kenya selected the 11 recipients for our next round of scholarships on January 8 (bringing our total to 50 students). The students will report for secondary school around February 1 for the start of the year. After a meeting with our students and their parents / caregivers to share the expectations and parameters of the scholarships, the students gathered a few days later at a local primary school for a few hours’ of service in which they painted and hung new blackboards (supplies courtesy of SYEF contributor Karen Canino. Thanks Karen!). We were so immediately impressed with their hard work and cooperative attitudes with each other, that we took them to lunch afterward. It turned into a great discussion about their hopes and fears as they prepare to start school in locations throughout Kenya. Each student shared final remarks as we wrapped up the day, one indicating he never felt so special and happy as he did at that moment, and another sharing that she was surprised at how quickly she felt accepted and a part of something important. We are excited for them to thrive and prosper!

No Comments

Our 39 returning scholarship recipients gathered for our annual forum on January 4 to share their experiences of the past year and to listen to members of their community express their sentiments about the importance of their education. Ms. Christina, parent of SYEF scholarship recipient Adriana, gave a speech that had the group silenced as she eloquently spoke about a changing world and the role of these young people have in leading their community through dramatic changes that will come with anticipated development and infrastructure improvements. “In a globalized world, do not be a spectator,” was one of her many poignant moments. Many other speakers from the local community joined the line-up, including two students who are now enrolled in universities to share their stories of how to overcome obstacles and continue their education.

No Comments

directly to programs and scholarships that support our youth, and spent a modest three cents ($.03) for every dollar raised. These metrics beat every standard of excellence for non-profit organizations with which we are familiar. We’re able to have a fiscally tight ship thanks to the many people who volunteer their time each year, from maintaining donor databases to stuffing envelopes to planning events. So, when you donate to SYEF you know your contribution will be used well and by volunteers who are motivated by passion and belief in education for Samburu youth.