Some bright but poor pupils excelled in the 2015 KCSE exams after their plight was highlighted by the Saturday Nation four years ago.
They secured sponsorship from corporate organisations and individuals to join secondary school.
They include Vane Kwamboka, whose parents died in the 2007/2008 post-election violence and was living with a guardian who had no money to pay her school fees.
The 336 marks she scored in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam earned her admission to Sironga Girls High School in Kisii County.
However, by March 2012, Kwamboka was yet to report to the national school because she could not raise the fees.
On March 17, 2012, the Saturday Nation ran a special report highlighting Kwamboka’s plight. Luckily, she received full sponsorship from a well-wisher.
The well-wisher paid her full fees up to Form Four and ensured the girl had enough pocket money to stay in school comfortably. She scored a B plain in the KCSE exam.
“I am very grateful to Ms Careen Asamba for taking me under her wing and seeing me through secondary school. I expected to perform better so that I could enrol for a degree course in medicine. However, I am still grateful because this grade will enable me to gain admission to university to study other courses,” said the 18-year-old.
Kwamboka’s admission to university is still uncertain, unless she gets further sponsorship to cater for her fees.
Clinton Otieno scored 351 marks in the KCPE exam but his mother, a single parent, could not raise the fees to take up his place at Kagumo High School.
Otieno was so depressed by the thought of his education coming to an abrupt end that he contemplated suicide.
“After my story was published in the paper, my mother received a phone call, asking her to travel to Nairobi with me to meet potential sponsors who wanted to pay for my education. Once in Nairobi, the leadership of the Nairobi Pentecostal Church met us and said they would pay all my secondary school fees for the entire period,” said an elated Otieno.
The boy got a B+ of 71 points.
“I am very happy with my grade, and I would like to study international relations because I have always wanted to be a diplomat,” he said.
STILL IN NEED
But his dream to be a high-flying diplomat will only come true if he finds another sponsor to see him through university.
The boy’s mother is sickly and cannot raise the money for his school fees.
Paulyene Melyene Otieno is one other bright child whose dream would have been shattered had well-wishers not stepped in to pay her school fees.
She, too, sat her national primary school exam in 2011 and did well, attaining 398 marks.
However, she could not join secondary school due to lack of funds.
Paulyene was lucky to win a scholarship through the Nation Media Group (NMG) ‘Get on the Bus’ initiative that seeks to help bright students in secondary school.
“The Nation Media Group paid my school fees for all my four years at Moi Girls Eldoret, ensuring that I got a fair chance in life,” said the 17-year-old, who scored an A- of 76 points in last year’s KCSE tests.
She comes from a single parent household. Her mother is unemployed and cannot pay for her to go to university.
“I wanted to do medicine but since my grade does not allow me admission to that course, I think I will become a journalist, instead. I hope I will get another sponsor to pay for my university education,” she said.
Anastacia Chelagat’s story is no different.
“I had lost all hope of joining my dream secondary school, Moi Forces Academy Lanet, even after scoring 359 marks in the KCPE exam because I could not raise the fees,” said the 19-year-old.
She eventually joined Moi Forces Academy on a ‘Get on the Bus’ scholarship. Her full fees were paid by the NMG.
This year, she is among the top performers at the Nakuru- based national school, having scored an impressive B+ of 73 points. “My dream of becoming a software engineer is now real.” she said.
She, too, hopes that fate will smile on her once more and send a well-wisher to pay her university fees.
Additional reporting by Francis Mureithi