, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 19 – The Griffin Memorial Endowment Trust Fund aimed at raising Sh1.5 billion by the year 2014 has been unveiled to keep the Starehe Boys Centre running.
President Mwai Kibaki launched the Trust Fund on Friday and appealed to corporate organisations and individuals to support the Fund to cater for the educational needs of bright but needy children.
“I take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to all those involved in making the Griffin Memorial Endowment Trust a reality,” the President said at the launch of the Trust Fund at State House gardens in Nairobi.
Over Sh190 million was donated by various institutions and individuals to kick-off the fund.
Starehe Education Centre contributed Sh100 million, the Endowment Fund Management gave Sh84 million, the Starehe Old Boys’ Society Sh2.2 million, ministries of Education and Youth Affairs contributed Sh1 million each while the Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) donated Sh600,000. The fund targets to raise Sh1.5 billion in the next five years.
President Kibaki commended former students of Starehe for actively engaging in fundraising to ensure other boys can enjoy the same advantages as they did while at the school.
The President noted that the former student’s commitment has not only resulted in the individual sponsorship of several boys at the centre but also raising Sh84 million towards the Endowment Fund.
“I am encouraged by the commitment demonstrated by former students at Starehe towards their school,” President Kibaki said.
He pointed out that over the years, Starehe has relied upon individual sponsorships of boys by organisations and individuals around the world, noting that Dr Griffin was a great fundraiser and his excellent skills in persuading people to sponsor individual boys had for many years been critical to the success of Starehe.
The President, however, regretted that due to donor fatigue, increased economic difficulties and shifts in funding priorities, the funding streams upon which Starehe relied on are now drying up hence the need for an urgent change in strategy to enable the school continue providing education and care for disadvantaged boys.
“I am, therefore, encouraged by the ingenuity of the trustees and the entire Starehe community for embracing the idea of an Endowment Fund,” he said and added that the establishment of the trust fund will help “raise adequate capital endowment funds which the trustees will invest and the income accruing from the investments annually be remitted to the school to finance the education and care of boys.”
“Hence, one endowment which is presently valued at Sh600,000 will ensure that a Starehe place remains free forever for a needy child,” President Kibaki said.
He appealed to both individuals and corporate firms to support the Endowment Trust in order to secure the future of Starehe.
On its part, President Kibaki said his Government recognised that there are many bright children, both boys and girls, who cannot afford education for want of financial resources and introduced the free primary and free tuition secondary education.
The Head of State said the Government has further continued to provide grants to the most vulnerable children as well as bursaries to needy students through constituency committees.
and completion rates at all levels,” President Kibaki said.
Recognizing that every child has a right to education, the President urged all Kenyans to join hands so as to ensure that no child misses out on education in Kenya.
President Kibaki, once again, paid glowing tribute to the late Dr Geoffrey Griffin and his two colleagues, Mr Joseph Gikubu and the late Geoffrey Geturo, who fifty years ago started the Starehe Boys’ Centre to help the many young boys who were loitering around the streets of Nairobi, destitute and deprived of care.
The President noted that Dr Griffin and his colleagues sought to give the bright but needy boys, many of them orphaned during the struggle for independence, a fair chance in life.
“They sought not only to provide these boys a world-class education, but also to mould their character and offer a substitute to the family environment,” President Kibaki said.
Noting that today, a majority of ex-Starehe boys are prominent Kenyans, serving the country in various senior capacities in both the private and public sectors, the President said Starehe Boys’ Centre is a great example of how contributions from individuals of goodwill can make a lasting difference in the life of a nation.
“I am proud to be associated with this great institution of learning and pledge my continued support,” he said.
He emphasised that the greatest honour that Kenyans can bestow upon the late Dr. Griffin is to continue with his noble efforts by ensuring continued provision of a world-class education to bright disadvantaged boys.
Other speakers included Education Assistant Minister Prof Ayiecho Olweny and founder sponsor of Starehe Boys’ Centre and Trustee of the Griffin Memorial Endowment Trust, Mr Waheed Sheikh.