Catherine was offered a scholarship in 2011 as she entered Class (grade) 4 and is now in Class 8.

She comes from an incredibly poor home. There is no running water, no power. The house has two rooms, a dirt floor and a few bits of scavenged furniture. The cooking shack is separate also has a bed in it and that’s where the children sleep.

The family lives on a plot about a quarter acre in size, which is nowhere near big enough to support them. Her parents seek out “casual labour” whenever they can to help make ends meet. But this sort of work is hard to find and doesn’t pay well and so the family is desperately poor. And to make matters worse, Dad tends to drink most of what he earns.

Standard class 4

Catherine now goes to Nanyuki Boarding Academy, a private boarding school that while not especially grand by Western standards is a significant improvement from the local school she had attended. The kids all have their own books, both notebooks and textbooks, and the instruction is structured and organized. There are extracurricular activities and field trips. Based on the results of the state-wide Class 8 final exams, Nanyuki Boarding Academy consistently ranks first of all the schools in its district.

At home, Catherine shared a bed with her brothers with no mattress and just a few old and dirty blankets. At school, she has her own bed and bedding. At home, Catherine would have, at best, one meal a day, frequently just a few boiled potatoes, and meat was a very rare occurrence. At school she gets three good meals a day with meat twice a week. At home, Catherine had one set of used clothes and only a pair of flip flops for shoes. Personal hygiene was a challenge. At school, she can shower regularly and washes her clothes and bedding once a week. If Catherine got ill at home, she usually had to tough it out. If medical attention was needed, the family had to spend its meager savings or beg from neighbours. At school, if necessary, she is taken to a proper clinic in town.