Financial challenges making Kiandutu slum children stay home

Counties Editor's Pick Education Kiambu

Despite the government’s directive that all 2021 KCPE candidates report to Form One, more than 10 from Thika’s Kiandutu slum are still stranded at their homes due to lack of school uniform and fees.

According to residents and well-wishers, more than 10 learners were still at home almost a month after the Form One reporting date, owing to financial challenges in their families.

Margret Wanjiru, Mary Njeri and Francis Muthai are among the lucky parents whose children got school uniform help from a well-wisher to enable them to report to school.

They still cannot afford Dictionaries, Bibles, other personal effects and necessities which the schools demand before admissions, but they hope that they would be cleared.

Wanjiru, a water melon seller, has five other children, who have since dropped out of school due to financial challenges. Her daughter was placed in a school in Thika.

Njeri’s son had been placed in a secondary school in Kenol, Muranga County but had to manoeuver to get admission at a school in the slum.

“We hope once they report, they will not be sent back home for the other requirements because that will be the end of their secondary education dreams. I have other children in secondary school and being a casual laborer, I can’t afford to take them all to school. If the school cannot accept him with the uniform only, then that’s it,” said Wanjiru.

To Muthai, affording school fees, rent, food and money to buy other requirements is a dream which may keep his child home forever if more well-wishers do not come to his aid.

“Life is unbearable and my child may not go to secondary school after all if he does not get assistance to buy other amenities as well as to pay school fees,” said Muthai.

Journalists who visited the three children as they were being given the school uniform interacted with more than 10 other children who were yet to report to school.

They said that they were almost giving up on their life dreams and called on well-wishers and the government to help out.

Andrew Maina, the well-wisher, said they have a programme of checking out learners from the slum who were still at home and helping them out.

“So far, we have helped seven children this year with school uniforms and other personal effects to help them join Form One. We have also established that more than 10 learners have not reported to Form One,” said Maina.

He called on the government to help learners in slums and other financially unstable families to join secondary school.

Thika West Deputy County Commissioner Mbogo Mathioya said they have scaled up the mopping exercise to ensure all learners report to school.

He said they have linked with NG/CDF to help the children with their education needs.

By Muoki Charles

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