February 24, 2006
Dear Scholarship Students and Family, Participating Schools, and other Educators,
Currently, TOTOS International, Inc., based in California, USA, is sponsoring the following secondary school students who have shown not only exceptional academic ability, but personal integrity and commitment as well:
Bernard Oduor in Form 2 at Njoro Boys High School, PO BOX 40, Njoro
Mugo Wanjira in Form 2 at Machakos School, PO BOX 39, Machakos
George Wanyoro in Form 1 at Meru School, PO BOX 103, Meru
Eric Kirimi in Form 1 at Meru School, PO BOX 103, Meru
Unfortunately, the bulk of scholarship students from 2005 have been disqualified due to persistent and serious behavioral misconduct. In order to maintain the integrity of the scholarship program and commitment to our objective of supporting the education and development of future community leaders, we have had to stand firm against pressures and intimidations from corrupt and exploitative individuals and groups. We are struggling in an extremely difficult environment, politically, socially, and economically, which makes the task of supporting students with leadership potential from all backgrounds more important than ever.
Our organization generously and ambitiously tried to sponsor the entire KCPE candidate class of over 40 students from the Bahati Rehabilitation Center in 2005, many of whom had marks as low as 140 out of 500 on the KCPE and a history of severe behavioral problems. Unfortunately, our organization was ill-equipped to deal with the extreme challenges present in this very vulnerable population, and it is with great sadness that I inform you that they are still very much in need, more than ever, but our organization is no longer able to provide any assistance to them.
However, we recognize and applaud the three scholarship students from 2005 who have endured the numerous trials and have shown themselves to have strength in scholarship as well as in character. We also welcome the new scholarship recipient recommended by Principal Kariuki D.G. of Meru School. We look forward to a strengthened and renewed partnership that will help us identify new scholarship recipients in the future, and to working together to support them.
On a personal note of introduction, I hold two Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of California Berkeley, in Mathematics and Physics, and a Masters of Education in International Education Policy from Harvard University. Due to other responsibilities, I cannot personally be in Kenya throughout the year, so I am asking for the schools and families to work closely with us to ensure that the students' academic, financial, as well as emotional needs will be met as they dedicate themselves to scholarship and personal growth.
We appreciate and applaud your tireless efforts in supporting students in education.
Sherry Chou, Ed.M.
0723 388 179
PO BOX 2296-00200, Nairobi
PS. Due to unfortunate recent events caused by the weak and often corrupt infrastructure here on the ground in Kenya, I was arrested on January 29, 2006 and imprisoned until February 8. The charges are absolutely false and I believe firmly that if given a fair trial I will be promptly acquitted. The first court date will be April 18, 2006 and the trial is being keenly followed by the US Embassy here in Kenya.
If you would like more information or to offer your support, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.