South African telecom MTN has joined hands with the South African High Commission in Kenya to provide scholarships to bright but needy girls in the East African nation.

In the first such initiative MTN Business Kenya will pay spend 170 000 Kenya Shillings (about $1 700 ) every year to educate two girls through secondary school.

MTN Business Kenya is also equipping several secondary school with computer labs in a bid to spur an interest in information technology in the country.

Starehe Girls Centre is a school and also a home for some of Kenya’s best brains. Without the centre many would not get an education.

Director at Starehe Girls Centre Sr. Jane Soita says, “We are talking about a girl coming here with minimal. They do not come with their beddings, they only come with their back packs and we provide everything for them.”

Chair of the Board of Trustees at Starehe Girls, Dr. Manu Chandaria says these girls need help.

I am very grateful because I will continue with my studies without being chased out school

South African High Commissioner in Kenya Koleka Mqulwana says, “It is important that we do business but we also at socio economic conditions that you operate in, so this is the start of the project to focus on the girl child.”

Managing Director MTN Business Kennedy Chinganya says, “When you support these youngsters through education, these are the same people who will be ICT professors of tomorrow and there is nothing that you will be able to do in the future without ICT.” Malika Lulu a student at the centre says, “I really want to work hard and I will not waste this chance.”

“I am very grateful because I will continue with my studies without being chased out school,” says another student Lydia Muthoni.

The High Commissioner also donated sanitary towels to the school, a project that she plans to roll out across several schools in Kenya.

Although the Kenyan government provides free sanitary towels to schoolgirls, thousand still miss school every four days of the month.

– By Sarah Kimani