Girls who overcame great adversity but remained unbowed

Uhuru urges other organisations to help bright needy learners complete studies.

Saturday February 6 2016

President Kenyatta with, from left, Education CS Fred Matiang’i, Equity Bank chairman Peter Munga and Equity Bank CEO James Mwangi during scholarship awards on February 5, 2016. PHOTO | RAPHAEL NJOROGE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

President Kenyatta with, from left, Education CS Fred Matiang’i, Equity Bank chairman Peter Munga and Equity Bank CEO James Mwangi during scholarship awards on February 5, 2016. PHOTO | RAPHAEL NJOROGE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By OUMA WANZALA
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The stories of Stella Kamar, 16, already a mother of one, and that of Gladys Jemaiyo Chelimo, 31, were narratives of triumph over adversity President Uhuru Kenyatta heard Friday when he presided over the award of scholarships to 2,000 students.

Orphans who could only dream of joining secondary school can now do so, thanks to Equity Bank Foundation and the Master Card Foundation.

The 2,000 students received scholarships which include tuition and other material support for the four years they will be in secondary school.

President Kenyatta could not hide his excitement at Safaricom Kasarani stadium, Nairobi, saying the scholarships “complement in a significant way the effort my government is making to ensure that every Kenyan child gets quality education.”

MARRIED OFF AT NINE

Equity Bank Foundation chairman James Mwangi told the audience about Stella, who was married off at nine years of age.

She comes from Samburu and has a four-year-old child. She will join Kerema Girls Secondary School after she scored 349 marks in her KCPE exam last year.

She told Saturday Nation that her father was killed by bandits in 2003 in Samburu when she was three-years-old.

“I was a third wife but I decided to flee and live with my aunt who took me to Loikas primary,” said the teenager.

“I was planning to come to Nairobi to work as a house girl after the results were announced, but thank God this support came,” said Stella.

ADVERSITY

Gladys is the oldest recipient after she secured the scholarship to study at Sing’ore Girls in Elgeyo/Marakwet County.

The wife and a mother of four was a candidate at Kutwopmosos primary and scored 342 marks.

She first sat her KCPE exams in 2000 and scored 445 marks out of 700, but lacked fees to go to secondary school.

After 10 years of marriage, she went for adult education.

She made the decision after meeting a former classmate, who works at Equity Bank in Eldoret, and who encouraged her to go back to school and apply for the scholarship.

Her husband, a cobbler, will take care of their four children. The first born is in Class Six and the last born is two years-old.

“I want to complete my education and transform my family and would like to be an accountant,” said Gladys.

George Omondi a former pupil at Ngiru primary in Homa Bay said he could not take up his place at Alliance High School for lack of fees. He will now join Starehe Boys Centre. Mr Mwangi told how a recipient from Turkana camped in Lodwar for a month in order to apply.

“He had to get lift from lorries in order to reach Lodwar  and stay with a teacher.”