These students in Dago, Kenya have a chance to make their dreams a reality, thanks to Naperville resident Brett Weiss.
In 2009, the high school teacher visited Dago, Kenya, witnessing the few opportunities related to education. It inspired him to create the Bernard and Elsie Weiss Dago Kenya Scholarship Fund in 2011 to help kids who wouldn’t normally be able to attend high school.
“If you go to high school you have to pay for everything,” said Brett Weiss, Founder of the Bernard and Elsie Weiss Dago Kenya Scholarship Foundation. “Most people don’t even have enough money for food, how are they going to pay for high school? So, only about 20 percent of the children in Kenya go to high school and only because someone is supporting them and paying for them.”
Currently, Weiss is sponsoring 11 students based on need and test scores. It takes $3,000 for one student to attend 4 years of high school, and those dollars add up to the opportunity for a better future.
“I never want these students to just think that were giving them money. I want them to think that were giving them hope for a better life. Money is easy, lots of people can give money. We are dramatically changing their lives,” said Weiss.
For local students, desks and well-lit rooms are what they’re used to, but it’s only a dream for students in Dago.
“I try to tell my kids how lucky we are here. These kids go to school in mud huts, some of the newer ones have a little cement and they have no electricity, no toilets, they barely have any paper, pens, chalk, all things we take for granted here, they have the bare basics when it comes to learning, and yet everyone of these children has a passion for learning,” said Weiss.
When Weiss visited the sponsored students just last year, they showed their appreciation for the scholarship funds.
“They understand that they have an opportunity that the overall majority of the kids don’t have. They are appreciative, they work hard, they want to give back. They all talk about when they grow up they want to help others the way they’ve helped me. I was in tears,” said Weiss.
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