Parents storm governor's office over Canada, Finland scholarships and demand refund of millions

John Murei, a parent during demonstrations at Kapseret demanding a refund of their money paid for an airlift programme to Finland. [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

He added: "With hopes of studying abroad, I made the difficult decision to resign from my job. However, these dreams turned into despair when the promised enrollment to Thompson Rivers University in Canada failed to materialize. I have undergone depression and had uncomfortable conversations with my parents, fully aware of the sacrifices they have made to support me this far, including fundraising and selling their lands."

Benjamin Chebosom said he had deferred his university studies at the Presbyterian University even after paying the required fees only for the airlift programme to fail.

"This programme initially seemed promising, and we believed we were on the path to realizing our dreams. We were given only two weeks to pay Sh1.2 million fees. The stringent deadline left many parents with no choice but to sell their assets at a throw-away price. Despite all that, we have been left stranded. Even worse, there has been no communication from the people who received our payments," according to Chebosom who said he now works at a club in Eldoret town.

He added: "We entrusted our funds to the trustees hoping for a better future and education. However, our hopes have been dashed, leaving us devastated and uncertain about our future."

Chebosom said most affected students are experiencing depression because of the programme that has left many parents poor.

David Saina, one of the affected parents, said the county had advertised for an opportunity for students to study and work abroad, and like many other parents, he advised his son to apply for the opportunity promising to support him.

"We were given short notice, and we were instructed to pay Sh950, 000 fee for the various courses in various universities. I paid the amount for my son to join Thompson Rivers University (TRU). Since August 2022, nothing has been done. We have been promised that the students will go for medicals, biometrics and the launching of the visa but these have been empty promises," he said.

Saina said that the parents have been suffering in silence over the months and that they have decided to seek the intervention of the media since no one has been advocating for them.

Amon Sawe said he sold his land, and paid the fee through the account given by the county officials with the hope that his child would join TRU.

"To date, we have not received any school acceptance letter, and all I do now is counsel my son, who is stressed. We feel we have been duped by the very county government we believed was acting in good faith," said Sawe.

The parents said they are no longer interested in having their children travel through the county government airlift programme and instead want a refund of the millions they paid.

Efforts to reach Mr Bii for comment were futile despite having called for a media briefing earlier in the afternoon.

Through his media team, the county chief invited all media houses for a briefing at around 3 pm. However, more than two hours later, the governor did not show up.