Several needy learners who were staring at the prospects of missing out on Form One admission over lack of school fees are breathing a sigh of relief after well-wishers came to their aid.
Some of the needy learners featured by The Standard drew the attention of some well-wishers, even as politicians worked the clock to provide the students with bursaries.
In South Mugirango, area MP Sylvanus Osoro’s programme ‘OSORO CARE CLUB’ sponsored 700 needy students whose prospects to join form one had been dimmed by the hard economic times.
The programme, which is 80 per cent sponsored by the area MP, aims at mentoring beneficiaries throughout their four-year period in high school.
“About 90 per cent of beneficiaries are students who sat for their exams in our public schools and scored over 350 marks, but sadly, their hopes to study were blurred due to hard economic times,” said Osoro.
In Kitutu Chache South, area MP Anthony Kibagendi sponsored 72 needy students to join Form One.
The beneficiaries; 42 girls and 30 boys joined St Angela Sengera Secondary and Gekomoni Secondary and Cardinal Otunga Mosocho.
Guardians of the beneficiaries were only allowed to pay Sh 5,000 and do shopping. The remaining amount for the year is to paid through the MP’s initiative.
In Western, Fabians Omondi and Francis Lihanda from Vihiga and Kakamega North were all smiles after well-wishers paid their school fees.
They have all joined Form One at Kakamega High School. Omondi,14, arrived at his dream school on Monday while Lihanda arrived on Tuesday, albeit without the basic personal effects and shoes, which were delivered to him yesterday by his former head teacher, Daniel Memeti.
They are among many needy learners who scored higher marks in the last year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam but were stranded due to lack of fees.
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Omondi and Lihanda, who are orphans, almost lost their chances at the prestigious national school.
They scored 381 and 388 marks respectively but they could not tell their fate until lady luck came smiling in their faces. Caroline Omusanga pitched tent at Vihiga Governor Wilber Ottichilo’s offices on Monday, a move that saw her son enlisted on the list of beneficiaries of the County government Scholarship programme moments after The Standard highlighted his plight.
Dr Ottichilo instructed that he be listed among the beneficiaries of the County government scholarship program. He joins 152 bright and needy learners selected to benefit from the Vihiga Governor Scholarship Programme for the next four years.
“To me, this is a miracle. What God has done is great! I thank the Standard for highlighting the case of my son. It was a godsend,” said Omusanga. Omondi hails from the Luanda sub-county, and her mother does menial jobs to fend for him and his siblings. He was in class when the Standard visited his new school yesterday.
On the other hand, Lihanda’s plight attracted the attention of high court judges who are the old boys of Kakamega High School. They paid his school fees and other items required by the school but sought to have their identity hidden.
The orphan earlier told The Standard that he would give back to society in future as a gesture to reciprocate the support he was accorded years ago.
In Uasin Gishu, Allocious Kipkorir received support to join Friends School Kamusinga. Until last weekend – hours to the start of form one admission, Kipkorir, who scored 409 marks in last year’s KCPE, was only armed with a metal box and a Bible, and his poor parents could not raise Sh53,554. But after The Standard highlighted his dilemma on Monday, Mosop MP Abraham Kirwa intervened, cleared his school fees, bought all requirements and released an area National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) vehicle to transport him to school on Tuesday.
Mr Kirwa also pledges to fund his entire high school education, make a follow-up on his academic progress and also support his university education. In Meru, Emmanuel Mwenda was at risk of missing out on a Form One place in Meru School until The Standard highlighted his plight. Well-wishers led by Athwana MCA Jim Muchui raised the fees, and he reported to his new school on Tuesday.
“The boy did very well, although he and many others come from an area that has suffered drought for a very long time, and they had a lot of challenges. I want him and others to have a chance in life,” said Mr Muchui, also the Meru Assembly Majority Whip.
Muchui also assisted 300 pupils who got 260 and above marks in last year’s KCPE at Athwana with mattresses, boxes, buckets and other items to ease the burden of parents in an area hard hit by drought.
Among those who came out to assist with the transition to secondary school despite the economic challenges were Tigania West MP John Mutunga, Meru Assembly Speaker Ayub Bundi, MCAs and area education officials and professionals. At least 10 pupils got scholarships.
In Baringo, at least 20 needy pupils who obtained 300 marks and above have a reason to smile after Kapluk Secondary School offered them full scholarships. Alice Mwangi, the school principal, said the institution was touched by the plight of the students from the county where she said poverty levels were high.
The school has so far enrolled 25 learners.
In Mogotio, the area Member of parliament Rueben Kiborek has given a ray of hope to learners whose dreams were lost due to lack of school fees. Among the students who benefited is Catherine Jepkosgei who scored 379 marks but was unable to join Sironga Girls High School due to abject poverty.
“I never imagined that I would get a chance to join secondary school, I’m from a humble background, thanks to my area MP Kiborek for coming to my aid,” she said.
Evans Kimaru scored 332 marks at Oinopsos primary school, he was called to join Bartolimo secondary school but his family couldn’t afford it. At last, his plight was shared widely and caught the attention of the area MP Kiborek who came to his aid and now he has joined a secondary school to accomplish his dreams.
In Murang’a, a special bursary has been established for orphaned learners joining Form One.
In the first phase, Governor Irungu Kang’ata allocated Sh1.4 million for the registered 145 learners joining secondary school education this year.
While launching the kitty, Kang’ata said the allocation is to be doubled in the next few years to benefit more learners. More than 6,000 students in Kigumo will benefit from Sh25 million bursary disbursement with allocation set from the polling centre.
[Eric Abuga, Brian Kisanji, Titus Too, Phares Mutembei, Yvonne Chepkwony, Boniface Gikandi]