Despair to hope as well wishers pay fees for bright, needy Nyeri boy

Kieni MP Kanini Kega (in the background) leaves a bank where he paid school fees for Dennis Ngatia (foreground) who scored 403 marks but wanted to repeat Standard Eight due to lack of school fees. Ngatia will be admitted to Kagumo High School, a National School in Nyeri. Other well-wishers offered to help educate the boy. PHOTO: JOB WERU/STANDARD.

Lady luck came smiling for a 14-year-old boy from a poor background who sat his Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) last year after well wishers offered to pay his school fees.

Dennis Ngatia Wangu sat KCPE at Kimahuri Primary School in Kieni East, Nyeri County and scored 403 marks, but his hopes of joining Kagumo High School were nearly dashed due to lack of fees.

Ngatia is the first born son of Jane Wangu, a single mother of three, among them twins aged four months. The teenager was prepared to repeat Standard Eight to give his mother time to accumulate money to take him to secondary school.

But following an expose in a section of the media, well wishers, among them Kieni MP Kanini Kega and businesswoman and patron of Maendeleo Mashinani Lobby group, Rahab Mukami came to his aid and pledged to sponsor his secondary school education.

Others who pledged to help include a well wisher from Capital FM radio who paid a year’s school fees, as well as the Nyeri County Government through Education Executive Secretary Erastus Muriuki, who pledged Sh10,000 annual bursary for four years. Ms Mukami, who visited the boy at his former school after she was alerted of his plight by the school’s headteacher urged leaders to assist bright and needy students, noting that more pupils are in dire need.

She noted that 16 pupils from Nyeri County lacked school fees and risked dropping out of school.

And yesterday, Mr Kega met the boy, his mother and grandmother Margaret Wamaitha in Nyeri town, where he catered for his shopping ahead of joining school on Monday.

“I was touched by the story of Ngatia, a young bright boy who was ready to repeat Standard Eight due to lack of school fees. We have many cases of bright pupils from needy backgrounds, but I have offered to educate Ngatia like many other students whom I sponsor. I will treat him like my own son,” said Kega.

Kega, who spoke when he flagged 26 former KCPE candidates who received sponsorships from Equity Bank through the bank’s Wings to Fly sponsorship programme said Kieni’s CDF has allocated Sh22 million for bursaries, which will be distributed in the next two weeks.

Nyeri Equity Bank Branch Manager Karanja Nyingi said the beneficiaries were from Nyeri, Tetu and Kieni constituencies. “We had 354 applications which we vetted. We even visited their homes to ascertain the level of poverty, and we now have the final list of 26 pupils who will receive full secondary sponsorship from the bank,” said Mr Nyingi.

The manager called on corporate institutions, business people and other well wishers to help needy students join secondary schools, noting that there were hundreds of others who lack school fees.

At the same time, Mr Muriuki said the Nyeri County Government will soon distribute bursaries through its Elimu Bursary programme.