By Umar Sakwa Ahmad:
May I take this opportunity to congratulate all our Muslim candidates who performed very well in the just released Kenya Certificate of Primary Education 2016? We salute as a community for your exemplary performance and we pray to the almighty Allah (sw) to shower you with continues success in your future education endeavor for the benefit of this umma Insha’allah.
While celebrating the achievements of our candidates we may wish to believe that all is well with our candidates who excelled but that is not the case especially the needy bright students. The last few weeks I have had engagement with students and parents from various region who are seeking sponsorship for their students to continue with their Secondary Education due to their economic status. This situation need to be addressed and a long term solution be found if we are to transform our community to the next level of prosperity.
For a period of time our needy bright students in our community have been relying on bursaries scheme offered to them by various institution. But the challenges that has come a long with this initiative is sustainability that has become a great challenge due to the rising population and demand.
The question that we all need to ask ourselves is where our priorities in Education as a community? In answering these question our institution and leadership need to re-evaluate themselves by knowing their strength and weakness in relating to how they have been handling Education matters.
We are truly convinced that in order for us to move forward we must say openly issues we hold dearly in our hearts and that too often are said only behind closed doors. As well as there must be sustained efforts to listen to each other and learn from one another and seek common ground on issues affecting us and wider society.
We commend the efforts done by various institution in addressing this challenge the likes of First community bank and Gulf African Bank and others in providing bursary funds to students joining Secondary level. All these Approaches need a well centralized system and well-coordinated if they are to make a desirable impact in our community.
We need to learn and emulate what others have done by institutionalizing Education financing matters the likes of Wings to fly, KCB Foundation, palm house foundation etc. Besides offering bursaries they have gone further to Mentor the beneficiaries to be Professional and responsible citizen in the country.
Blame game at this trying moment time will be an exercise in futility because it will not change our situation. If we are to recover our dignity and that of Islam it is we who must decide, it is we who must act. It should be well understood that the destiny of this umma cannot be left to the institutions and leaders alone but every one of us must play a critical role in the development of this beautiful community.
We need to have a paradigm shift in addressing our concerns by closing ranks. We may not require you to give up our difference with each as an institution or leadership but time has come that we need to put our act together in tackling only certain problems of common interest, The Education financing problem
Nothing is more important than concerted and coordinated action. A degree of discipline is all that is needed. The Prophet lost in Jabal Uhud because his forces broke rank. We know that, yet we are unwilling to discipline ourselves and to give up our irregular and uncoordinated actions. We need to be brave but not foolhardy.
We need to think not just of our reward in the afterlife but also of the worldly results of our mission. We all have a role in our success and remember the journey of a thousand mile begins with a step. Allah says in the Holy Quran “Allah will not change the (good) conditions of a people as long as they do not change their state of (goodness) themselves” Quran 13:11
Umar Sakwa Ahmad is the Coordinator of Nairobi Area Muslim Students Association (NAMSA)