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Teenagers appeal for help to join Form One

By Lydiah Nyawira and Erick Abuga | Published Mon, January 9th 2017 at 00:00, Updated January 8th 2017 at 23:13 GMT +3
Kelvin Muriuki Nderitu who scored 372 marks in 2016 KCPE crushes ballast at an old quarry site in Karishen area, he seeks to raise his school fees. (Photo: Mose Sammy/Standard)

In the hot January sun, a 14-year-old boy sits beside his father as they hammer away at hard rocks in a quarry in Kieni, Nyeri County.

Kelvin Muriuki scored 372 marks out of the possible 500 in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination and has received a letter of admission to Nyeri High School.

Since Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i announced the exam results in December, the teenager has been accompanying his father, Peter Nderitu, to the quarry.

"I have been trying to show him the quarry mining trade with the hopes of raising enough money to pay the Sh53,554 annual fee, but so far we have only been able to raise Sh2,000," explains Mr Nderitu .

Still a novice at the craft, the small bits of rock fly around and sometimes land in his eyes, leaving them red and swollen.

On average, father and son only make Sh200 a day while saving as little as Sh50 for his fees.

The father of four admitted the two have also risked their lives to raise the funds by sneaking into Ngodi Forest in search of wood for burning into charcoal.

The forest, 10km away from their Karishen home, is heavily guarded by Kenya Forest Service and is a sanctuary for elephants and other wildlife.

Nderitu said he has tried to deter his son from going with him on the treacherous journey but the determined teen has refused to stay away.

"My favourite subjects are Mathematics and Kiswahili, and one day I will become a pilot. I know it is tough work but if I don't give up I will have enough to go to school after a year," says a hopeful Kelvin on a Sunday afternoon while donning his former Karishen Primary School uniform.

Meanwhile, Maroa Sharon Boke is on the verge of missing her Form One slot at Kisumu Girls High School due her parents' financial constraints.

The 14-year-old emerged the best in her school, Britom Academy, with 397 marks out of the possible 500 in the KCPE exam. She was index number one and also emerged tops in Kisii County.

Sharon was among 14 girls from Breaking Limits and Talents Nurturing Group who had entertained President Uhuru Kenyatta in April last year when the Head of State was commissioning medical equipment for the Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital.

Uhuru picked Sharon from among the 14 girls, hugged her and congratulated her on the sterling performance.

Sharon had exhibited her oratory prowess and skills in rap, which is now common in music and drama festivals.

"I have been yearning to meet the President and maybe explain to him the challenges I am undergoing," she said.

Sharon's mother, Margaret Kwamboka, has been struggling to pay school fees for her other five children.

"I would be glad if our President came to my girl's rescue," she said.

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