Amos Byegon, 15, may be physically challenged, but he has never allowed disability to define him. Throughout his young life, he has always found a way to turn despair into victory by living true to the mantra that disability is not inability.
However, Byegon is facing probably one of the biggest challenges of his life even after passing his KCPE exam and securing a place at Chebunyo Boys High School.
When The Standard caught up with him at Balek village in Bomet Central, he was weeding a maize field in a last-minute rush to raise Sh40,000 for his school fees.
His parents are mentally challenged and he is the sole breadwinner of the family.
Despite his disability, he often rolls up his sleeves, ventures into neighbours’ farms to weed in order to raise money. He sometimes looks after cattle to help his poor family.
“I am determined to join my colleagues in school, I have to do something to get money and report to school this week,” says Byegon.
The second born in a family of four says his physical challenge will not deter him from pursuing his dream to become a pilot.
“I want to be a pilot one day and I will work hard and ensure that I achieve it. Not even the physical challenge or the poverty in our family can stop me from achieving my dream,” he adds.
Byegon, who started school late due to disability, says his educational journey has not been easy having dropped out of school several times.
“Last year alone I was school in school for barely one month due to numerous challenges but I worked hard and passed by KCPE exam,” he says.
He went to Balek B Primary School in Singorwet ward, more than three kilometres from his home.
He says he had wake up early to reach school on time due to his condition.
Byegon says heavy rains during second and third terms saw him stay at home and study on his own.
“The wheelchair that I have depended on all these years broke down and I decided to study at home,” he adds.
Byegon surprised many by topping the school in the 2018 KCPE exam with 275 marks, beating other candidates who attended school throughout the year.
He told The Standard he was not just working hard to raise school fees, but to raise enough money to also help his parents buy food.
“My parents are mentally-challenged. I work hard to help them put food on the table,” he adds.
Neighbours interviewed shared the boy’s sentiments, saying he fends for the family and his own upkeep.
“His success took us by surprise considering that he stayed at home for the better part of the term. We appeal to well-wishers sponsor him so that he can achieve his dream,” said Josea Mutai.
Mr Mutai said while the boy is elated to have been admitted to Chebunyo Boys in Chepalungu, he should be admitted to a school for the physically-challenged.
“I wish the Ministry of Education can intervene and secure a school for him where he can get access to facilities that are suitable for his condition,” he said.
Mutai adds: “It will be difficult for him to fit in at Chebunyo. I am sure the institution has a storey building and it will be hard for him to move around.”
Sally Mitei, another neighbour, reached out to Kenyans of goodwill to come out and sponsor the boy to enable him join secondary school.
“Let us come out and help him. He is a motivation seeing him struggle so that he can go to school. The boy has shown that he is a genius after staying at home the whole year and beating all the other pupils,” says Mrs Mitei.