A schoolgirl who spent the whole of Wednesday carrying a heavy banner begging for school fees on Nairobi streets now has a reason to smile after receiving help from well-wishers.
15-year-old Mellan Njeri Njuguna a form two student at Kihumbu-ini Secondary School in Murang’a County was sent home on September 10 over Sh29,177 school fees arrears.
A day after sharing her plight, the student received assistance that will see her pursue her dreams.
When we caught up with her at Affecto Foundation in Ruiru that took up her case, happiness was written on her face, her mother Ann Wangechi Mureithi was in tears.
“Her story was painful and for any parent like me, she was feeling that her education is coming to an end and she needs to fight for that opportunity. It’s sad that in future that education will perhaps be only for the? privileged” Ndungu Nyoro, founder and team leader of Affecto Foundation told The Standard.
“We called the school just to confirm that she is student and it is true that she had been having challenges for several terms and we felt that she deserves chance and no child show be denied that right to education” he added.
Nyoro said that the foundation has cleared the fees arrears and have written to the school indicating that it will sponsor her until she clears and beyond.
“We will also assist her in terms of guidance and mentorship around this foundation at the same time we will be inviting experts to come and mentor her and others we have now that she is now under that program in this family,” he explained.
Nyoro said his foundation mostly focus on high school education under Watoto Wasome tagline adding that education is greatest equalizer and so far have sponsored over 100 students in four years with first cohort expected to join university this year.
Njeri says her wish is to pursue fashion design and modeling once she clears her studies.
“I’m grateful and I thank God for that, I have been struggling by all means being sole breadwinner. I didn’t get chance like her because my family was unable to raise funds. I will try my best to see Njeri and her siblings get best education that I didn’t get”, said Ann Wangechi Mureithi, the student’s mother
Nyoro said that anyone assisting a needy student is breaking poverty chain in the society and empowering community through education.
“The standard of living has gone up to an extent that and we have people in society who cannot even afford a meal that is why we assist one another” said Nyoro.
Courts Declare Huduma Namba Invalid
The High Court has declared Huduma Namba invalid after ruling that the law wasn’t followed in its roll-out.
Justice Jairus Ngaah ruled on Thursday, October 14, that the Government failed to conduct data impact assessment before rolling out the cards in November last year, contravening the Constitution in the process.
Law scholar Yash Pal Ghai and Katiba Institute had, in November 2020, challenged the roll-out of the cards over lack of guarantee against theft or misuse of Kenyans’ personal information.
The lobby group argued that the Government failed to subject the fresh registration of Kenyans to data protection impact assessment (DPIA), a requirement under the law.
The assessment is aimed at identifying risks that could arise due to a breach of privacy, loss of data and unlawful use of information like names, date of birth, postcode and residences.
The Government started issuing the cards in early December 2020, after stating that the current National Identification Cards would cease being valid in December this year.
President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the Huduma Namba mass registration on April 2, 2019.
Meanwhile, an application by Jacqueline Ntuyabaliwe, the widow of the late Tanzanian media mogul, Reginald Mengi, that her late husband had no mental ability to make a valid Will, will be heard and determined.
This is after the Court of Appeal rejected legal challenges against the former Miss Tanzania’s application seeking revision of a decision of the High Court that quashed a Will that was allegedly written by Mengi, reports The Citizen.
The IPP trailblazer and philanthropist died in Dubai, UAE, in 2019. He was 75.
The Will, purportedly made in 2017, cited Ntuyabaliwe and their twin children as the beneficiary of the billionaire businessman’s wealth, estimated in 2014 by Forbes to be worth over $560 million.
Parents Grapple With High Costs Of Books As Schools Reopen
Parents are feeling the pressure of having to pay school fees for the fourth time in a year.
As schools reopened today, parents said, apart from paying the required fees, some schools were demanding extra money to cater for tuition classes. Others decried the high costs of books and school uniforms.
Some said other schools had imposed extra levies on parents, citing the need to expand infrastructure to accommodate the increased number of students as a result of the 100 per cent transition from primary to secondary level.
The extra charges are channelled in special development school accounts or sent to the parent representatives, who then send the amount to the class teacher.
At Mugoiri Girls High School in Murang’a County, each parent is required to pay Sh5,200 for a new school bus project, Sh3,000 per term for extra tuition, and Sh1,500 for installation of smart screens in all classes.
In Nyeri town, Purity Karuga, who was shopping with her Form Three son, said their school had demanded an extra Sh10,000 for an infrastructure upgrade.
“It is a hard year, and that happens even as we are earning peanuts from our tea farms this year,” Ms Karuga said.
Peter Kamaru, another parent from Murang’a County, said parents have now resorted to borrowing money from shy locks who demand repayment in a month.
“I have obtained Sh40,000 at a 25 per cent interest rate to pay fees for my three children. This is punitive to the parents who have lost hope of accessing bursary from the CDF,” he said.
Jane Wanjiru said the schools have reopened, but most parents had no school fees. “We shall plead with principals to allow our children for some time.”
The Murang’a County government said it had released Sh20 million to finance 3,000 students under the Nyota Zetu Education Programme.
Governor Mwangi wa Iria said the programme is designed to help the needy access quality education.
“This is one of the programmes designed to increase the number of professionals in the county,” said Iria.
In Meru County, Margaret Nkatha, a parent from Tigania East, said they were looking forward to the reopening of the schools but they lacked financial resources.
She said the drought had hit the area affecting their main income-generating stream, khat or miraa sales.
Kairi Ituuru, the headteacher of Antuanduru Mixed Secondary School in Tigania East, said principals were grateful following the government announcement that capitation had been sent to schools.
“With most parents decrying inability to raise fees, the government resources will come in handy,” said Ituuru, who also chairs the Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (Kessha) in the area.
In Eldoret town, it was business as usual at books and school uniform stores as parents lined up to buy school items in preparation for the new term.
Nelly Kichwen, a parent from Ziwa in Uasin Gishu, spent the better part of the day in Eldoret town shopping for her five school-going children.
“Book prices have increased. I am buying a book that was sold at Sh500 last month at over Sh600 right now, which means I will use more money than I had budgeted for,” Kichwen said.
As for Stanley Chepkulei, a parent from Simat, the increase in fuel prices had affected the price of every commodity in the market, and parents will have to dig deeper into their pockets.
“I came to buy school uniforms and other items for my child, a student from St Teresa Tartar in West Pokot County, I paid more than I expected. We urge the government to reduce the cost of fuel,” he said.
Chepkulei said parents should ensure that they give their children enough money if they are travelling by themselves to school because there could be an increase in bus fares due to the high cost of fuel.
The parents have also asked the government to step in and provide some learning materials for pupils, especially those under the new Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC).
Eunice Cherop, a parent to a Grade Five pupil, said CBC is a competitive curriculum that requires joint efforts from the parent and government.
Cherop, an Education Officer, said most parents are disadvantaged by the new curriculum.