Alumni associations, private citizens, politicians and corporates are among those who put smiles on the faces of many needy students last week by paying fees to enable them enroll in Form One.
Following a comprehensive Nation report last week on top students across Kenya who risked missing their transition to Form One for lack of fees, the well-wishers responded.
The beneficiaries are now all smiles as they adopt to new life in secondary school.
Damaris Mbusiro from Migori County, for instance, is now assured that she will not be required to pay any scheduled fees during her four-year stay at Pangani Girls because an association of the school’s alumni has offered to sponsor her fully.
She had scored 398 marks out of the possible 500 in last year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam but had given up hope of joining secondary school.
That was not all. Mombasa Cement offered to cater for her school requirements including boarding needs.
When the Nation visited her home in Kegonga in Kuria East sub-county on Thursday, Damaris was overwhelmed with joy. She was preparing to travel to Nairobi to be admitted to the school the next day.
Kevin Otieno from Homa Bay, who scored 419 out of 500 marks, reported to Maseno School after the old boys association raised fees to enable his admission following last weekend’s article.
There is also Newton Kwimba from Kakamega County who was also staring at a bleak future. He is an orphan being raised by his 68-year-old grandmother who is crippled.
A sponsor was touched by his plight and paid his fees. He secured a place at Musingu Boys on Friday.
“I have so much joy and feel like flying since through the mercy of God I will be joining Musingu Boys. I want to promise that I will do my best by focusing on my studies and work hard so that I do not disappoint my sponsor who has made my dream come true,” said Newton.
Then there is the case of Josephat Mogendi, a boy who had been raised at a children’s home and was at one time supported by commercial sex workers in Kisii Town to remain in school.
Josephat is now enrolled at St Peters Mumias Boys High School thanks to the KCB Foundation. Having scored 392 marks from Ogembo Preparatory School, he was one of the four learners who won the KCB scholarship from Kisii County.
“I am very delighted to have received the scholarship from the KCB Foundation. I want to promise the sponsor that I will not let them down,” Mogendi said.
Another needy student, Juma Emannuel from Mombasa, is also adjusting to his new life at Alliance Boys High School because Mombasa Cement offered to pay his fees after last week’s story.
Emmanuel had managed 421 marks but his father, a palm wine tapper, could not do much to meet the expenses of enrolling him at the school.
Mombasa Cement paid fees for him and 29 others featured in last week’s issue.
Mombasa Cement’s human resource manager Akram Mohammed said the company was moved by the students’ state and decided to pay Sh1.5 million for the 30 learners featured.
Elsewhere, there is Leonidah Kanini from Makueni County, who had contemplated taking her life because she risked losing out on an opportunity to join Mama Ngina Girls in Mombasa County. She is now stress-free after a number of sponsors raised a total of Sh216,000.
The amount means she will rest easy for the rest of her stay at the school. Leonidah’s plight was highlighted by the Nation, drawing well-wishers including Mwaniki Lonzi.
Leonidah, who had scored 373 marks, was also counselled at Makindu Sub-County Hospital as well as Makueni Referal Hospital.
A WhatsApp group administered by Ms Sonia Nzilani pushing for the girl’s cause raised Sh74,000. Part of the money, Ms Nzilani said, has been used to shop for the girl in readiness for her new school term.
The girl was excited as she accompanied Ms Nzilani and other well-wishers in shopping for school uniform at Wote Town on Wednesday.
“With the fees now sorted, Kanini will head to school on Monday (tomorrow),” Leonidah’s grandmother Jemima Wayua told the Nation.
The Jomo Kenyatta Foundation also came to the rescue of Grace Akinyi who on Wednesday trekked from Nambale in Busia County to Butere Girls High School in Kakamega.
She had scored 392 marks from Nasira AC Primary School in Nambale sub-county but because of her family’s poverty, even securing a means of transport was hard. She woke up at 3 am and started the journey, carrying with her the result slip and the admission letter.
“I have never walked for such a distance in my life. I am really tired,” she told journalists, with tears rolling down her cheeks and her feet in red slippers covered with dust.
She had gone to the school to request the management to help her get Good Samaritans who could support her financially. The school’s deputy principal James Wetindi said the school had accepted to take her in.
“We shared her plight with the school principal Janet Omondi and she agreed to have the girl in school as we scout for well-wishers to pay her school fees,” said Mr Wetindi.
Acting Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i lauded the institution’s move to admit Grace despite the fact that she had “only reported to school with Sh200”.
“I called the principal today and told her how much I was proud of her,” Dr Matiang’i said on Friday, adding that the Jomo Kenyatta Foundation had offered to assist her, same as other Kenyans.
The minister said no student should miss out on school because of lack of fees. He asked school principals to accommodate needy students and ask for assistance from the ministry and Kenyans of goodwill.
“Education is the only equaliser and we must give all our children an equal chance to attend school,” he said during Friday’s meeting with regional and county commissioners.
Some helpful initiatives have also been seen by companies like APA Apollo. The company has sponsored two KCPE 2017 candidates at Cheleta Primary School in Nairobi’s Westlands — Stacy Kavere and Amos Basweti — for the whole of their secondary education.
By Benson Amadala, Elgar Machuka, Ouma Wanzala, Pius Maundu, Silas Apollo, Vivere Nandiemo and Winnie Atieno