Girl who excelled in KCPE herds goats over lack of fees

Faith Kasungwa from Kilonzo village Nzambani in Kitui East scored 408 marks and was to join Muthale Girls. [Stephen Nzioka, Standard]

Despite overcoming challenges and excelling in the 2021 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exam, Faith Kasungwa is yet to join Form One.

Kasungwa from Kilonzo village in Nzambani, Kitui East, sat the exam at Nzambani Primary School. She was top in her class of 50 pupils, scoring 408 marks. Unfortunately, the parents of the 16-year-old cannot afford school fees.

As the first term gets underway, Kasungwa has been left tendering to her father’s goats. Kasungwa told The Standard despite working hard in class to earn a secondary slot, she has remained at home.

Her disappointment is that those she beat are in class. The girl got an admission letter from Muthale Girls, a national school in Kitui County. But she has not reported because of a lack of school fees. 

“When I am not at home I am taking care of our two goats waiting for the sun to set and rise again with the hope of getting a well-wisher to sponsor my education.”  

Her parents are struggling. Kasungwa’s mother who was initially the sole breadwinner is no longer in a position to pay the fees after she stopped working as a house help. Kasungwa, the third born in a family of five, however, remains optimistic she will get help. Her father Maundu Mwanza, said he can only afford to feed his family.  

“We depend on the rain to sustain our agriculture business. But the rain patterns have been changing and food crops dry every season,” said Mwanza, who harvested nothing in the last season.

The man has resorted to being a hawker in the nearby shopping centre. The family’s firstborn works as a house help in Kitengela while the second born sat the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam last year and scored a C. 

The letter from Muthale Girls says Kasungwa is supposed to pay Sh45,000 fees and an additional Sh20,000 for shopping. The girl’s dream is to become a lawyer to help families solve land disputes, which she says are common in her community. “Muthale is a good school that will offer a good learning environment to enable me to excel in KCSE and join university to study law,” Kasungwa said.