Just in case you were about to lose hope over all the disheartening news, don’t. Here is some good news.
Some 202 pupils had one less thing to worry about after a group of well-wishers gave them stationery to use during the KCPE exams.
The candidates needed functioning mathematical sets, pencils, rubbers and rulers to enable them comfortably sit their exams.
But some of their families’ economic situations, usually precarious and now exacerbated by the political turmoil, had made it difficult to afford the items.
The cost of a new mathematical set is prohibitive, around Sh250, which is easily a day’s wage for a casual labourer.
School supplies therefore slide low down the list of priorities when compared to more pressing needs such as food, rent and clothes.
For these children, who come from Kibera, Kawangware and Kayole in Nairobi County and from Siaya County, help arrived at the right moment.
In Kibera, Raila Education Centre was looted and vandalised by youth who were angry that it was being used as a polling station in the October 26 repeat presidential election.
The school lost valuable property, including books and stationery, making things uncertain for candidates sitting this year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam.
The school has both primary and secondary school sections and is an examination centre.
“We usually provide books and stationery to the pupils as need arises and we store the supplies in the school library. The looters made away with all of it, including sanitary towels for girls, leaving us at a loss about what to do during the KCPE exam,” said Mrs Eunice Onyango, the headmistress.
Many of the children at the school come from disadvantaged homes and do not pay fees. Fifty of the needy students received the kits, and the school was able to cobble together resources for the rest who needed them.
In Kawangware, the happy recipients were 20 pupils of Nimlad Kids Centre, which was set up in 2010 to cater for poor children in the area.
“They were so excited when they were handed the examination kits. So many had been worried about how they would sit the exam, and one girl had lost hope completely, asking me how her mother would pay school fees for her if she could not afford stationery,” Nicholas Imbuka, the manager at the centre, told the Nation.
The rest of the beneficiaries were pupils at Ulumba Primary School in Siaya and others from various schools in Kayole.
The money to buy the stationery was raised through crowdfunding by a collaborative programme called RescueBnB, which connects people who have resources with those in need.
“We learnt about one family that had lost everything in Kawangware. Then a Community-Based Organisation in Kayole reached out [telling us] about 30 students who had nothing. While this is not our core focus, we decided to ask people to contribute money to buy stationery for students who needed it as it was two days to exams,” said Sallinder Nyawira, the founder of RescueBnB.
“The response was overwhelming and we were able to identify other schools in Kibra and Siaya, as well as another in Kawangware through our CBO network and the Octopizzo Foundation. We bought 246 exam kits in total and managed to distribute 202,” she added.
The outfit, started in August this year, has so far helped find temporary hosts for 22 people who lost their homes in politically motivated clashes in vulnerable spots in Nairobi.
More than 1,000 others have received help in the form of counselling, supplementary food provision programmes and connection to medical facilities.
“This experience has taught me that Kenyans have the best hearts,” said Octopizzo, whose Octopizzo Foundation has been working with RescueBnB.
“Everyone who works with us is a volunteer and we have been inundated with offers of help since we asked people to help ensure that these children sit their exams.”
As William Shakespeare said, “How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world.”