About the Ujima Subkia Fund Scholarship Program
The Ujima Subukia Fund (“USF”) is a charitable organization which operates a scholarship program for secondary school students in Kenya. Although primary education became free in Kenya after the conclusion of the Moi dictatorship in 2002, secondary school is not free and is well beyond the means of many Kenyan families, particularly those ravaged by AIDS. Therefore, the scholarship program aims to offer assistance to students that have the potential to become leaders but have lacked the opportunity.
The scholarship program operates mainly in the constituency of Subukia, just northeast of Nairobi in the Rift Valley. Students must demonstrate academic prowess and financial need in order to be eligible for a USF scholarship. To date, there are 40 male and female students from 9 different schools enrolled. Provided that the USF scholars perform to the best of their abilities, they are guaranteed that their scholarships will carry them through the full 4 years of secondary school.
The origin of the USF is itself an inspiring story. It resulted from a collaborative effort of two former Cornell University classmates, Neil V. Getnick, the managing partner of the Manhattan-based law firm Getnick & Getnick LLP, and Koigi wa Wamwere, a leading Kenyan human rights leader, Assistant Minister of Information and Communication, and Member of Parliament in Kenya. Mr. Getnick led the international campaign, which included Amnesty International and the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, to free Hon. Koigi wa Wamwere during his detention by the prior Moi dictatorship. Once free and popularly elected, Hon. Koigi wa Wamwere was able to put into practice many of his ideals. He has become one of the leading voices in support of a truly democratic and transparent Kenya. The scholarship program is the fulfillment of the lifelong dream of its two co-founders to erect a highly worthwhile charitable program of the highest integrity and transparency, having both intrinsic value and serving as a model for NGOs generally.
At present, the project’s financial support is principally provided by the administrators, parents and students of The Dalton School, a prestigious private school located in Manhattan. The Dalton community has led the drive to raise funds for the USF scholars by organizing Ujima-related events, including but not limited to walkathons, readathons, bake sales and lectures. These remarkably admirable student-initiated efforts have raised more than $50,000 for the USF to date. Through fundraising and parallel education, the Dalton community has built a personal and passionate connection to the students and schools in Kenya. As a result, rather than falling into the rut of a “donor-recipient” dichotomy, the USF ensures that students in both continents are engaged in a meaningful dialogue and thereby build a sense of global community.
For more information about the Ujima Project at the Dalton School, you may visit their website at www.dalton.org/ujima.