What CHES Can Do
A message to sponsors and contributors from Petronillah:
I was born into a family of 5; three girls and two boys. I am the youngest. Our parents passed on when I was one year old so I had not even the slightest idea of how they looked. I was brought up by an uncle who has four wives. We were given to his first wife who couldn’t bare children. Life was okey. We were given food and relatives donated clothing.
My elder sisters and brothers didn’t finish school. I was lucky to be the last born and the brightest. I did class eight and scored 373 marks out of 500 and was the best in my primary school. This is when I discovered that I was not a member of that family. I was asked to go and stay with my sister who got married at the age of 15 so she can determine with her husband (then 20) how to get me to high school.
Lucky enough she stayed in a slum which was just about one kilometer from the old CHES office. My sister overheard one of the slum dwellers talk about CHES. The next day we were the first ones at the CHES offices for an interview. I was selected and placed at St. Mary’s Girls High School from form one to form four. I did my final exam and scored a B+ and later joined one of the best universities in Kenya. I pursued a degreed in education and passed very well. I graduated last year in July and am now teaching Chemistry and Maths in my former school.
I am very thankful to CHES Kenya for believing I could go through the TRANSFORMATION from poverty to a state where I can afford to provide for myself and become a sponsor to my sister’s and brother’s families. I am also very grateful to CHES Canada for their tireless efforts to ensure that there were always funds available for my fees and uniforms for the four years I was in school. My last and most important appreciation goes to my sponsor Perry Kukurudz for donating funds towards my school fees even without seeing me. I admire all the sponsors of CHES for the big heart you have for us Kenyans. You have not seen us but have a strong belief in us and silently you help Almighty God to transform our lives here in Kenya. Sometimes this makes me cry in my small house in the teacher’s quarters which the school has given me. I don’t cry because of I am sad but because of the joy that you placed in my heart . God bless you all.
Petronillah Aluoko, CHES grad 2015
A message to sponsors and contributors from Cecilian:
In 2004 when I sat for my local primary school exams, I had no idea that someone somewhere with a merciful heart will change my entire life. I had the top marks and so qualified to go to secondary school but my family had no money.
My mom never gives up easily; she visited many government officials, homes, churches but nothing came through. My Maths Teacher one evening visited us and told us about CHES. He took me to CHES house in Kakamega the following day for an interview .
But when the school term began I had heard nothing. My teacher later told me I failed to receive a scholarship.
My family and I resorted to doing menial jobs like ploughing for our neighbours just to earn a day’s meal. It was so painful to see those pupils whom you’ve been leading in school join High school while I had no hope for joining.
On Thursday, March 24th 2005, my mom had gone to work and I was washing clothes in the nearby stream. Around 11.00 a grey car came to halt. My elder brother got out. I thought there was a bad problem.
Then he ran to me smiling saying, “Sis, kneel down, lets pray”. In shock I complied. The prayer was short,” Thank you God for awarding my sister a CHES scholarship” That was it! I couldn’t believe it; I had received a scholarship from loving Canadians.
I joined Musoli Girls and told myself that I had to do something about my life and family at large. My sponsor , Gerda Suess wherever you are, may God bless you; you turned my life around, gave it a meaning and made it worth living.
I completed my form four examinations which enabled me to enter Moi University. My education at the university was facilitated by the CEDAR foundation. Knowing where I had come from , I couldn’t joke around. I focused and earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management in December 2013.
I secured a sales job at the best commercial bank in Kenya. Honestly speaking I couldn’t have achieved this without CHES family. CHES means a lot to me, CHES is basically who I am today.
CHES made someone out of a desperate girl. I have schooled my younger siblings and am currently schooling a niece at college. I am married and blessed with two children. I’m confident I can take good care of them because I am enabled; I have been given wings and nothing can stop me from achieving more.
What would have become of me minus CHES?…
God Bless Lorrie Williams. God bless Guerda Suess. God bless CHES Kenya and every CHES family; may you never lack.
A message to sponsors and contributors from Agatha – Hand Written Letter
A message to Sponsors and Contributors from Fabiola – Hand Written Letter
A Message to Sponsors and Contributors from Victoria – Hand Written Letter
Several Short Stories
Measles caused Uda to go permanently blind as a toddler. Realizing she was a bright child, CHES sponsored her through Secondary School and High School. She went on to receive a BA and later an MA from university and now shares her time teaching High School and as a member of a national committee that supports initiatives for those with a disability. She is married and has two children.
Gangrene from a minor injury when she was 8 resulted in Ancilla losing a leg. CHES sponsored her schooling but was initially not aware that she’d had no support for her disability. Agents discovered her hopping from class to class using a branch as a crutch. The agents found her some crutches until it was clear she had stopped growing and then went “leg shopping” with her. Her prosthetic at the age of 18 transformed her. She is now fashionable, social and runs a small hair dressing salon near her family home.
She was born with a number of physical challenges that impacted her growth, manipulation and mobility. Although she graduated from secondary school with good marks, her disabilities prevented her from attending Teacher’s College. She resided for several years with nuns in a convent where, thanks to additional support from CHES and the nuns, she learned how to use both sewing and knitting machines. We also sent her on a computer course where she proved to be very skillful. It took some time and some doing but CHES agents got her a job as a Teacher’s Aide at a thriving Technical College where she now supports the computer programme, teaches sewing and knitting skills to interested students, (and earns a bit of extra money), is provided with room and board by the college and, at last report, had contracted a builder to construct a house for her.
Sadly, Seselia died of Covid19 early in 2021 leaving a husband and three children.
To the best of our knowledge, she is the only CHES student, past or present, who has died of COVID
Her Path to success was as follows:
After writing her final exams in Secondary School, CHES student Sesilia went home to await the results. One day she noticed extra cows in the family’s corral. Her mother explained that her father’s friend had brought them over to pay for SESILIA who was now promised as the friend’s fourth wife. Sesilia bolted from home and turned up on the CHES doorstep in Katesh with a letter that stated in part, “I am an educated woman. I am not going to become an old man’s fourth wife”. The agents managed to find the funding to send her off to Teacher’s College. She has now taught for a number of years, is married, has a daughter, a nice place to live, has paid the for the schooling of her brothers and has built a new house for her parents with whom reconciliation has occurred and who are now justly and enormously proud of her.
Her parents kept her from school but at the age of 19 she ran away, found a supportive family to live with and managed, over the next three years, to acquire primary school equivalency. With no real home and no money, she applied to CHES. A place was found for her in a secondary school from which she graduated at the age of 25. Shortly thereafter she established a flourishing sewing business and found a supportive husband. The couple now have a lovely baby girl.
I am Vugutsa Lincy, a CHES BENEFICIARY. I attended Bunyore Girls’ High School in Kenya and graduated from CHES in 2011 with good marks. I later joined Kibabii University where I pursued a Bachelor of Education with a Mathematics and Business Studies combination and graduated in November 2016.
The CHES SCHOLARSHIP came my way as a miracle. I completed my primary education in 2007 and scored 395 marks. This was a great joy to all my family but the reality of the school fees required tempered our joy. Worst of all, Kenya was experiencing the post election violence after the disputed elections. This was going to be a very big challenge to my single, divorced mother. She had already started preparing me psychologically to go to a local village school so that I could at least get an education; or maybe get a casual job to get school fees. However, one evening after church, her friend told her about the CHES SCHOLARSHIPS. The following day, we were at the CHES offices where we found interviews underway. Getting this chance was important to both of us since it was the only way I could get a first rate education and have a brighter future.
Days after the interview I called the office and found out that I had been granted a scholarship and that my sponsor was the BEV FACEY COMMUNITY SCHOOL, near Edmonton. This was the best news ever, and it has changed my life forever. I got a chance to join the school of my dreams. While in school, I worked very hard and got direct entry to University. My mom was very happy and so thankful to CHES for giving her little daughter a chance. She was so happy to see me graduate in November 2016 and she gives a big thank-you to the whole CHES fraternity for makings our dreams come true.
I am currently a High School teacher, teaching Mathematics and Business Studies. I also coach volleyball in the school. Additionally, I teach and ref volleyball in the sub-county and county games.
I find time to work with my CHEBAK members in the mentorship of our younger sisters still in school where we remind them that ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE DESPITE OF WHERE WE COME FROM and that THEIR DREAMS ARE VALID. This has helped us to get in touch with many CHES girls, to find ways to handle the challenges they are experiencing first hand and to encourage them to continue working hard.
I say a big thank-you to the larger CHES fraternity for the support you are giving the poor African girl to get an education. Most importantly, I would like to greatly thank my sponsor, the BEV FACEY COMMUNITY SCHOOL, for giving me the gift of Education. Thank-you so much. I am Madam Lincy today because of the sacrifice you made to ensure I got high quality education. Thank-you so much.
With lots of love, VUGUTSA LINCY.
My name is Lorrie Mwamire Okunyanyi, 23, from Kakamega, a small town in western Kenya. I’m currently living in Canada pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting. I came here in late 2015 thanks to Lorrie Williams who got me a two year scholarship at Dorset College in Vancouver.
I was born into a family of six siblings, third born and first born daughter of Mr and Mrs Anjere. My father, Laban Anjere went through the CHES scholarship programme about 30 years ago when it first started and then sponsored both males and females. He was sponsored by the founder and current founding president of CHES, Ms Lorrie Williams, who was then the principal of my father’s school in Kenya.
To show his gratitude to CHES my father named me after Lorrie Williams; hence my name. Being an educated man in a village where education for girls was not a priority, my father was determined to educate all his children including the girls. He encouraged me to work hard in middle school which I did. I eventually got a CHES scholarship to a credited boarding school, Musoli Girls.
A boarding school scholarship is a very precious gift to poor, bright and determined village girls who would otherwise never have a chance to attend high school. Boarding school makes them focus their minds and exempts them from a lot of chores that girls have to do such as fetching firewood and water, cooking, taking care of their younger siblings etc. Hence I’m so grateful to have had a CHES scholarship because without it, I wouldn’t have passed exams and I wouldn’t be someone with a clear future as I now see it unfolding. I see myself changing my family’s economic status.
To show my tremendous appreciation, I joined the CHES Alumni Association of Kenya (CHEBAK) in order to give back to the community, to help more girls get opportunities, to see a brighter future and to have the great feeling of being a free, independent woman.
Education is the key. Thank you again CHES.
Berni is the Office Administrator in Katesh. As such, she is a key member of the three people that enable CHES to function in Tanzania.
Berni was born near the tiny community of Endasiwold in March, 1982. She was the sixth in a family of nine children; her parents were and remain subsistence farmers. As a small child she was given chores to do almost as soon as she was able to walk. Household tasks remained a responsibility even after she began attending the local primary school. Berni enjoyed school and did well. However, when she completed Standard (grade) 7, although her marks were well above average, she knew that her parents would not be able to afford to send her to secondary school. However Berni had seen a CHES flyer while in Standard 7. She applied to CHES and much to her delight and that of her parents, was accepted as a student at Endasak secondary school where, over her four years there, she thrived. Her sponsor throughout this period was Elizabeth de Beck from Kamloops who sadly died in 2013, having sponsored at least a dozen CHES girls.
She graduated in 2001 and the next year signed up for a CHES sponsored course in keyboarding. She enrolled in a more advanced course the following year but as no employment opportunities presented themselves, she returned to her family home and made herself useful in and around the family compound.
In 2006 she applied for the job she holds to this day. Her many tasks include helping to select CHES applicants, collecting and coordinating the photographs and letters that are sent to sponsors, recording the complex monthly accounts, organizing the accommodation, meals and presenters at the annual tutorial and workshop sessions and dealing with the maintenance of numerous buildings, computers, generators and plumbing issues. In addition to this, there are a multitude of other things that keep her busy well past quitting time almost every evening. Apart from a night watchman, Berni is the only person in Tanzania who is paid by CHES Canada.
Like many of the CHES graduates, Berni provides generous support to her family as she is one of the few in it who earns a monthly salary. Thanks to Berni, her parents have been helped with house repairs, a brother is acquiring a diploma course in history, a sister is attending a private teacher’s college and another sibling has his Form III school expenses paid. She, meanwhile, lives modestly in a couple of rooms near CHES House where daily except Sunday, she enables CHES to function. Her commitment and work ethic are enviable and admirable. She exemplifies the high standards that those of us in Canada hope that CHES girls will aspire to. Thank you Berni; you are the greatest of role models.
I am Jentrix Angara Masai, a Kenyan , aged 23 and a CHES beneficiary. I attended Archbishop Njenga Girls High School from 2009 to 2012. Currently am at the University of Eldoret pursuing a degree in Special Needs Edcation and am specializing in visual impairment.
I was born into a polygamous family in which my mum was the second wife. I am the only child of my dad and mum. Life started to be unbearable when my parents divorced compelling me to stay with a step-mother. I have two step-brothers and five step-sisters. Life has not been a bed of roses since then.
My primary education created a lot of challenges. I was unable to get the exercise books that I required and the situatiom forced me to start selling avocadoes to my fellow pupils at school when I was in standard (grade) five. The avocadoes were easy to obtain because we had avocado trees at home.I did my first standard eight examinations in 2006 and scored 370 marks out of 500 marks. Lacking school fees for my secondary education, I was forced to repeat the same class in 2007 and scored 385 marks out of 500. I tried my luck at CHES for a scholarship but unhappily I was not accepted so I opted to join a nearby secondary day school. My dad was unable to pay the required school fees which forced me to drop out while still in Form I. I never lost hope because I had dreams to achieve and succeed. I then tried for the second time to get the CHES scholarship and this time I was successful. I was the happiest person in Kenya, knowing that at least I had the opportunity of achieving my dreams.
My secondary life was not that easy. Sometimes I was unable to afford to buy food but I managed to put a smile on my face because my school fees were being fully paid. Nor could I go home during my holidays due to unbearable conditions there so I remained at school. I participated in music festivals, did kiswahili recitals and was able to reach provincial levels. I sat for my Form IV exams in 2012 and scored well enough to earn university entrance.
I joined the University of Eldoret as a government sponsored student; the government is paying part of my school fees. I also apply for a loan every year from the Higher Education Loans Board. This covers the balance. I am also in a work experience programme at school. My salary helps to cover food and lodging.
My sincere gratitude for my scholarship goes to the CHES board both in Kenya and Canada. I could have been a Form 1 drop-out from a local day school.The scholarship enabled me to be who I am today. Besides being a student I also participate in the CHES Beneficiaries Association of Kenya(CHEBAK) activities in which we mentor high school students in the schools attended by CHES girls. I do also engage in the PADS FOR GIRLS INITIATIVE where we donate some money to buy sanitary pads to enable our girls to stay in class.
THANK YOU so much for the scholarship that I received; it indeed changed my life for better.
JENTRIX ANGARA MASAI- KENYA
Josephine was a very clever student but was unable to attend secondary school when her family’s fortunes changed with the death of her father from cancer. Now a successful university graduate, she thanks the whole CHES Community for her CHES scholarship which “transformed” her life.
Maggie is a CHES grad who grew up in a polygamous family as one of 20 children. After graduation she specialized in community development work and has been elected to the United Women of Tanzania Council as the representative from the Manyara Region. The focus of her work is empowering women and girls. “I was empowered by CHES”, she tells us, “and I want to empower others and be a voice for my people.”
Magreth’s father was tragically killed by a car as he walked beside the road. This devastated and impoverished her family. Without a CHES scholarship it would have meant the end of her schooling. She’s now graduated from Form 4 with top marks in her district and wholeheartedly thanks her sponsors for enabling her to follow her dream of becoming a doctor.