While his classmates are in class studying and exploring new areas of study in Form One, Stephen Maina King’ori is doing casual jobs in Gilgil Town in Nakuru County, to raise school fees.
The boy scored 351 in last year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education, KCPE.
Last year’s was his third time to sit the exam. Joining a secondary school has always been his dream.
The second born in a family of three, first sat the exams at Passenga Primary School in 2015. He scored 197 marks, but his parents could not afford his secondary school fees.
Maina, 18, decided to repeat Class Seven to sit KCPE in 2017 and scored 327 marks. He secured admission at Kenyatta Mahiga High School in Nyeri.
His father could not pay the school fees.
“I made every effort to raise the school fees, I pleaded with my father's relatives but none of them was willing to help,” he said.
With no hope, he got employed in a butchery in Passenga market in Ol Kalou in Nyandarua County, where he worked for four months without pay.
“I lived in a small rental house and the landlord threatened to evict me over rent arrears, I pleaded with my boss but he did not pay,” said Maina.
He was later to withdraw Sh2, 000 from his employer’s MPesa account to pay rent.
The employer had him arrested and detained at Passenga Police Post before he was transferred to Ol Kalou Police Station where he admitted to transferring the money.
“The investigating officer said I was a thief. I was charged in a Nyahururu court where I pleaded guilty and explained my situation to the magistrate,” Maina told Nation.
He informed the court he wanted to pursue education. He was then referred to Shukusa Boys Boarding School, also known as Shikusa Borstal Institution Primary Special School, a rehabilitation facility in Kakamega County.
Mr Jossam Shikuku, a programme officer with RODI Kenya, an organisation working with Kenya Prisons Service in rehabilitation and integration back to the community mentored Maina at Shikusa.
“He is a victim of domestic violence, he was always top in the class, very interactive boy, kind and always willing to help other pupils, I am shocked to learn that he never joined Form One yet he was the top candidate at Shikusa with 351 marks,” said Mr Shikuku.
Maina says that with the 351 marks, he was admitted to a day secondary school in Kakamega, which he could not join for lack of accommodation.
“I raised the concerns with my former primary school teacher who promised to do something about it. I also secured admission at Loreto Boys Nakuru Secondary School,” he said.
But the school needed a clearance letter from the probation officers from either Nyandarua County or Kakamega County, so he missed the chance.
“I had no money to travel to Kakamega so I visited Nyandarua director of probation who said I had to go to Kakamega for clearance,” said Maina.
Mr Jason Abukuse, the Nyandarua director of probation confirms handling the case.
“I remember the boy, he was to get the clearance from Kakamega, but he never returned here, we were willing to help,” said Mr Abukuse.
Maina, who initially thought he could do casual jobs to raise bus fare to Kakamega for the recommendation letter has given up.
“The casual jobs in the farms are not available, I wish to go back to school to become an accountant in future,” said Maina.
Ms Ruth Wanjeri, who provides for the boy described Maina as an honest, polite, focused hardworking boy.
“He is a good boy, but I am afraid being out of class might lead him to a bad company,” said Ms Wanjeri.