The COVID-19 pandemic has posed serious challenges in the country. Since the first case was announced in March this year, we have witnessed several businesses shut down, extensive job losses and an overall drop in the economy.
In the education sector specifically, schools were shut down to prevent the risk of spreading the virus to school-going children. The pandemic has also created uncertainties in the future of many families, businesses, and individuals alike. Students have had to study from home as schools continue to remain shut because of the pandemic.
However, Companies such as Equity Group Holdings rolled out several initiatives to help its customers and communities continue to survive during these times.
Some of these initiatives include supporting the Wings to Fly and Elimu scholars to continue accessing lessons through solar-powered radio devices as well as a stipend through a partnership with Mastercard Foundation.
In an interview with TBB, one of the beneficiaries, an Equity scholar -Joan Hellen revealed how stipends from the bank helped her to stay afloat at the height of COVID-19.
“I had to discontinue my internship at the Kenya News Agency and attending physical classes all together. When I turned to online studies, data would quickly run out and this became a major challenge for me. However, when Equity bank stepped in, it was a real moment of relief.” Said Hellen who is a journalism student at Kabete National polytechnic.
Hellen is among 800 alumni of the wings to fly scholarship program currently in Technical and vocational educational and training (TVET) who receive a monthly stipend from the bank to enable them access to essential food and personal item.
MUSIC AND PHOTOGRAPHY
Also, an upcoming artist and passionate about photography, Hellen says basic training from the bank on investments, savings and starting small came in handy for her survival.
“ Before using the money ,I always make an effort to save some, I like photography and I hope that one day ill own a camera and use it to showcase my skills, record my music and probably make a living from it.” Said Hellen.
The Kes 3,000 stipends also allowed her and the beneficiaries to have airtime and data for mobile phone usage where possible.
If given a chance to meet Education CS, the journalism students say her only request would be that the government introduces skill-based education system right form lower primary schools. This way, students can specialise at something and be an expert in it by the time they become adults.
Expressing her joy to have found a home in Equity bank, Hellen reveals that her biggest lesson from Covid 19 is that money is not everything and being generous and kind to others is key.
According to Dr. James Mwangi, Managing Director and CEO of Equity Group Holdings, and Executive Chairman of EGF said the move give stipends and support the scholars and secondary school students was to ensure the Scholars have an equal opportunity through continued access to their class lessons during this difficult stay-at-home period.