Caroline Njeri Macharia is a 3rd year nursing student at Outspan Medical Training College in Nyeri. She has 3 siblings and lives with her single mother who is a widow. Caroline is among 42 beneficiaries of the Afya Elimu Program that is a partnership between The Family Group Foundation (TFGF) and Afya Elimu Fund (AEF).
The Afya Elimu Fund is a revolving fund initiative that aims to provide low interest loans to prospective health care trainees in mid-level medical training institutions. TFGF continues to support Afya Elimu and has contributed 3.75million to date, to support the revolving fund. With its support 42 students in public, private and faith based medical training colleges (MTC).
“After I completed my form 4 exams, I kept wondering where I would get funds to further my education. All I wanted to do was nursing. One day, I was going through the newspaper and I saw an announcement for first time applicants into the Afya Elimu Program. I decided to try my luck and applied. I was happy to receive my loan disbursement a few months later” Said Caroline.
To achieve the healthcare provisions mandated in the Constitution of Kenya 2010, Kenya needs to address the current shortages in the health workforce which are below the 2.5 per 1,000 population threshold for doctors, nurses and midwives.
One of the challenges Caroline has experienced is being brought up in a single parent home. Her mother is the sole bread winner and she is not financially stable. “I would wish to assist others who are not able to access school fees to be able to help my mum” she said.
Being a revolving fund, means that at the end of completion of her course, Caroline will start the process of repaying her loan so that another student who is in need of the funds can benefit from it.
At Outspan Medical Training College, Caroline has had the opportunity to learn through hands on experience by volunteering to participate in medical camps and as a nursing student, spending a lot of time in the wards acquiring nursing skills will providing the best care for patients.
“My favourite unit is the health reproductive unit, that specializes in women’s health. I look forward to providing the best care for patients when I go to the ward.” She said. She added that her mother is her role model as she inspires her to work hard.
TFGF’s support for the 42 beneficiaries is a big step towards the foundation achieving its mission to support 100 students in the next 10 years and contributing to the health pillar in the foundation’s strategic plan.
By Sharon Lumbasi