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Five needy students sponsored by teachers appeal for help to pursue university 

Efforts by teachers of Kathekai Secondary School in Machakos County to sponsor five bright students from economically disadvantaged background have paid-off as they all qualified for university.

The five did their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE)examinations in 2023.

The teachers despite their modest pay, sacrificed the little they could afford to pay school fees and upkeep for the needy students.

Led by the Principal, Mrs. Margaret Owaka, the teachers’ kindness and generosity ensured that the students remained in school, enabling them to beat all odds and post stellar performance in the examinations results released, Monday, by the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Ezekiel Machogu.

The five are now appealing for help from well-wishers to pursue their university education.

Among the students who benefited from the philanthropy is 18 -year -old Eric Kathukya, who scored a mean grade of B+ (plus) to emerge the top student in the school.

Were it not for his History and CRE teacher, Mr. Samson Wambua, who paid his school fees for the entire four years, Kathukya’s aspirations to become an engineer would have remained a dream.

Having scored a straight A in Mathematics,an A- in Chemistry and a B+ in Physics the 18- year -old’s dream is now more valid than ever.

He attributes his success to God, hard work, discipline and commitment from his teachers.

“I owe a lot to the Principal who allowed me to stay in school, even when I had not paid school fees. I’m also grateful to teachers for buying me uniform, when I had nothing,” says Kathukya.

Kathukya who hails from Masii in Mwala Sub-county says his humble beginnings pushed him to work hard in school.

He left his home when he was in class four and moved in with his mother’s friend in Kathekai due to hardships.

“My mother is a single parent and I have struggled to be where I am today. It has not been easy, but I’m grateful for the support I have received,” says Kathukya.

The candidate who scored 358 marks in his Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE), is appealing for financial assistance, to go through his university education.

Mr.Wambua who stepped in to cater for his secondary school fees admits that he cannot afford to sponsor him further.

“I have a family that I have to take care of including my aging parents,” he adds.

The History and CRE teacher says he was moved by the student’s plight, when he reported in form one in 2019, without any school fees and uniform.

“He came with home clothes and I was touched by his predicament. I have walked with him for the last four years and I am very proud of the sterling performance,” he says gleefully.

Miriam Mumbua ,17, almost dropped out of school in form two. However, the principal’s sheer determination and courage, saw Mumbua complete her secondary education and score a B-

One morning in 2020 Mrs.Owaka walked in Mumbua’s class to teach a biology lesson and was shocked when the   classmates told her the girl had dropped out of school.

Mumbua just like Kathukya had left her home in Emali, Makueni county in 2019 to live with her aunty in Kathekai because her parents could not afford to educate her.

She, however, fell out with the aunty who was paying her fees, forcing her to drop out.

“Mumbua was one of my best students in biology and I couldn’t understand why she had decided to leave. I quickly mobilized close to 40 students, rode the school bus and went to her aunt’s place. I told her to collect her belongings and I brought her to school,” says Mrs.Owaka.

The Principal took her in as her daughter, and catered for her school fees and other expenses.

“I had to organise for accommodation for the girl because by then we did not have a boarding facility,” says Mrs.Owaka.

The second born in a family of three, however, discloses that her peasant parents cannot sustain her university education.

“I would like to enroll in a nursing degree course but my parents are poor and cannot afford to educate me. Any help will be highly appreciated,” says Mumbua.

Despite scoring 240 marks in his KCPE examinations, Benjamin Musyoka, managed to score a mean grade of B(plain).

Musyoka’s discipline, grit and focus enabled him to post the exemplary performance, emerging among the top students in the school.

His story is not different from his fellow classmates. Last year he left his school and home in Makyau village in Mua hills and walked into the Principal’s office.

“There were many problems at home I just left, came here and explained myself to the Principal, luckily she believed in me and took me in,” he narrates.

Mrs Owaka says the 19 -year -old pleaded with her to join the school.

“He told me he had nothing and could not afford to pay anything, I walked to the staff room explained to the teachers and they agreed to chip in. We also found accommodation for him because he said he had nowhere to go,” notes the Principal.

His dream is to join Egerton University and become and agricultural scientist.

“I’m very passionate about agriculture and I aspire to be an agriculturalist,” says Musyoka.

Even after completing his secondary education, Mrs. Owaka hired him to help in running school errands and save some little money for upkeep.

“His situation is so dire, he told me he didn’t want to go back from where he came from after finishing his studies. He is very disciplined and he helps us in running some school activities and programmes,” she adds.

Other students who benefited from the teachers’ generosity include, Paul Muli and Martin Kioko who scored B(plain ) and B- respectively.

According to the Principal, the five are among over 30 bright and needy students whose education is sponsored by teachers and the school.

“Some of these vulnerable students are the only hope for their families and that’s why we try to keep them in school,” says Owaka.

She hails her teachers for their commitment in transforming the students’ lives.

“The teachers are very committed and that’s why they go an extra mile to pay school fees and shopping to keep the learners in school, “adds the Principal.

She is calling upon sponsors and donors to support the school and some of the needy learners to achieve their dreams.

“We have tried our best as teachers to support the five that are now waiting to join university, we cannot afford to support them further. We are sending a passionate plea to people of good will, to assist the students to achieve their dreams,” she says.

Any assistance to help the five students pursue their university can be channeled through Margaret Owaka, Principal Kathekai Secondary school 0721323703.

Mrs Owaka adds, “We are also asking for partners both state and non-state actors to help us improve the school facilities, we don’t have a modern laboratory, a dining hall and dormitories. These will go a long way in improving the school performance.”

The Principal who joined the school in 2020 has seen the performance improve drastically from a mean score of 3.4 in 2019 to 4.5 in 2023

13 students have qualified to go to the university this year up from nine in the previous year.

By Roselyne Kavoo

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