Gibson Kibet, 17, from Mt Elgon may be physically challenged but is intellectually smart.
Kibet who is the fourth born in a family of 12 from Chelebei, Mt Elgon Sub-county, Bungoma County scored 411 marks out of 500 in the just released 2020 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams, emerging top in the special school’s category countrywide.
In Bungoma County he came second putting his school, Nalondo School for the physically challenged on the map.
Kibet whose desire is to join Starehe Boys Centre has appealed to well-wishers to assist him realize his dream of becoming a teacher.
His mother, Evelyne Cheborion, told journalists that Kibet was born a normal child in 2004. At the age of nine years while in standard three, he, got a polio attack, became paralyzed and could not walk straight. His zeal for education did not stop.
Cheborion said Kibet started using a wheelchair after all attempts to treat him failed. “He stayed home for two years before he was enrolled at Nalondo CBM School, a government public primary school for the physically challenged,” she narrated.
He continued to attend physiotherapy sessions while in school. This bore fruit as he left the wheelchair for crutches after some time.
His mother has been supplying sukuma wiki and cabbage to the school to meet his tuition expenses.
Kibet attributed his good results to hard work and support from his teachers and parents.
He is, however, worried that his parents may not be able to afford the requisite fees to pay for his secondary education from what they make as peasant farmers.
The school’s Head Teacher, Aggrey Waliaro, says teachers in the school expected Kibet to do well but he surprised them by exceeding their expectations.
He said during an interview that Kibet has been an exemplary student all along.
The school enrolled 32 candidates for the 2020 exam and had a mean grade of 280.
In Kajiado, Despite being partially blind, Dennis Mwirigi, managed to overcome all challenges and scored 407 marks out of a possible 500 in the just released Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination.
The boy, who comes from a humble background, said he had studied well for the papers and expected to pass but he did not expect to emerge the top student at Saina Primary School where he sat his exams.
Addressing the press at his family home in Majengo slums in Kajiado town, Mwirigi said his eye problems started when he was a small boy and he used to struggle to see the blackboard in class.
“I thank God for the good performance that I managed. It has not been easy as I have had to struggle due to my eyesight since I started school. Seeing the blackboard during class time or even reading books was a huge task but I am glad I made it,” he said.
Mwirigi, who hopes to join Mangu High School, urged other pupils living with any kind of disability not to feel inferior as they too can make it if they work hard in their studies and put their trust in God.
“I want to urge any pupil who may be having a disability of any kind to keep working hard, disability is not inability and you will surely make it if you trust in God and study hard” he said.
It was a double celebration at Mwirigi’s home as his sister, Gloria Kahuri, who also sat the exams at the same school managed to get 392 marks.
Kahuri expressed her joy at passing the exams, adding that she was hopeful that she would join one of the secondary schools that she chose.
Zakaria Lubeta, the siblings’ father, revealed that although he did not expect them to pass that well, he was quite elated with their good performance.
Lubeta, a casual laborer, however, expressed his worry that he might not be able to pay their secondary school fees and called on well-wishers to assist him educate his children.
“As much as I am happy that they passed well, I am also worried about their future. I know they will require school fees to join secondary school and I do not have any money as I hustle for jobs” he said.
By Roseland Lumwamu and Rop Janet