Sponsor FAQ’s

Sponsored children write letters to their sponsors at least three times per year in April, August, and December.

Sponsors are also encouraged to write to their students.

Letters can be sent to the address below and we will forward them to Akiba School for you:

Kenya Connection
215 Lawton Street
Falls Church, VA 22046

The kids absolutely LOVE mail from their sponsors and will cherish each word written to them. Sponsors should NOT send packages, as they are charged a tax that the school cannot afford. Make sure to include your students name on the letter.

We love visitors! Sponsors are invited and highly welcome to visit Akiba School. During a visit, sponsors will meet with their student, interact with teachers and staff,  and can sit in on classes or participate in various school activities. To learn more, or to schedule a visit, please contact us at: kenyaconnection@gmail.com.
Students at Akiba School receive a report form at the end of each academic term. We forward these reports to the sponsors so that they can see how their student is progressing in school.

The report form lists the student name, grade, and academic subjects. It also includes their results from continuous assessment tests (CAT), their end of term grades, and any comments or remarks from their teachers.

The Kenyan grading system is quite different from that used in the United States. Whereas “A’s” and “B’s” are quite commonly awarded in the US, these grades represent exceptional achievement and are less common in Kenyan school systems.

The Kenyan system marks students from 0 to 100% and uses an E to A grade scale. Scores below 29% represent failure to meet knowledge requirements and are assigned an “E.” Grades above “E” are considered passing. Results of 30 to 44% are awarded a “D”, while 45 to 59% is considered a “C”, 60 to 74% represents a “B”, and above 74% represents mastery of the material and is awarded an “A.”

In Kenya, the national average is generally around 40 to 50% or somewhere around a “C-” or “D+.” Typically, students at Akiba receive grades of “C” or “D”.

The students we serve come from very humble backgrounds. These students often face challenges and have needs outside of school. Illness, financial difficulties or family emergencies are not uncommon. When sponsors hear of such difficulties they are often moved with a desire to help.

It is the policy of Akiba School and the sponsorship program not to allow students to request or receive money or gifts directly from their sponsors. This policy has been developed over years and is based on hundreds of cases of student sponsorship. We have set these policies in place in order to protect both students and sponsors, and to encourage respect for local authorities and sustainable community development.

While we want to encourage an attitude of compassion, we recognize that sometimes efforts to help can actually do more harm than good (A good book that we recommend is: When Helping Hurts).

In general, Western cultural assumptions about the value and influence of money are not transferable to Africa.

Traditionally, the systems that govern economics in Africa and the West are radically different. The economy in the urban slums surrounding Akiba School is primarily informal and the role of money in education and social welfare is distinct. The relationships of age, power, authority, influence, responsibility, and cultural expectations with money are different. (Another helpful book we recommend to learn more is: African Friends and Money Matters)

Below are some specific reasons why we do not allow sponsors to send money or gifts to their students:

Respect for elders is a key African value and can be undermined by making inappropriate gifts to children or youth.

Foreign donations to solve an immediate need often erode existing social networks and may diminish the responsibilities or influence of parents, guardians, or extended family.

Well-meaning foreign support can circumvent, distort, or prevent the healthy development of local and sustainable solutions to community welfare.

Financial gifts to students often have a corrupting effect on character and can lead to a variety of moral failures. Such gifts can limit one’s capacity to explore, inhibit local relationships/opportunities and may cultivate an unhealthy pattern of dependency which hinders self-discipline and development.

Gifts to students can undermine parental and teacher authority and foster jealousy among both sponsored students and teachers.

Allowing direct financial aid, creates undue pressure on both students and sponsors and can undermine the sponsorship structure.

Our sponsors are already very generous in their support to enable students to receive an education at Akiba. We want to protect them from manipulation or coercion to give to any number of related causes or needs.

The possibility of financial or other gifts creates immense temptation for students as well as their families or guardians.

Last but not least, Kenya Connection cannot designate donations for the specific needs of an individual because the IRS does not allow tax-exempt contributions to be assigned for the personal support of an individual or their family.

Sponsored students at Akiba School come from a variety of very challenging backgrounds and conditions of extreme poverty. Many students are orphans or from single parent households. The average income for these communities is less than $1.25 per day. Water-borne diseases, Malaria, and lower respiratory infections are widespread. In addition, HIV/AIDS affects up to 9% of the population.

We encourage you to pray for your student regularly. Please know that they also pray for you. Many students pray for their sponsors each day by name.

Please pray that your student would know that their Heavenly Father loves and delights in them.

Please pray that God would protect your student from illness and abuse and deliver them from temptations and traps common to life in the slums.

Please pray that your child would stay focused in school and grow strong in character, spirit, and wisdom.

Please pray that God would work in the lives of their families and that he would draw each into a living relationship with Jesus Christ.

Please pray that God would nurture their faith, inspire them with hope, grant them grace to endure difficulty and hardship, and provide opportunity for a brighter future.

Please also pray for the faculty and staff of Akiba School, that God would protect them from danger and that they would be equipped and encouraged to share the love of Christ and to teach with dedication and commitment.

Yes. The Akiba School sponsorship program is managed by Kenya Connection, a registered Virginia nonprofit corporation. Kenya Connection is a 50c3 public charity organization and your contributions are 100% tax deductible. Each year, you will receive an annual contribution report by mid-January which you can use when filing your taxes to claim your exemption.
Send us email at “kenyaconnection@gmail.com” and we’ll be happy to respond to your question.