Fifteen-year-old Cheryl Awuor Opondo should be a happy girl, having scored 420 marks out of the possible 500 in the just released Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) results.
In fact, she is rated as one of the two top students in Malindi Sub County, having tied with another candidate at Mbambakofi Primary School in Dabaso ward who scored similar marks, according to Sub County Director of Education John Ngumi.
Cheryl sat her examination at the Ganda Primary School on the outskirts of Malindi Town where she scored five straight A’s, thus becoming one of the 8,000 candidates county-wide who garnered more than 400 marks.
However, Cheryl’s dream of joining Kenya High School and eventually becoming a medical doctor is slowly turning into mirage, owing to the financial problems she and her two siblings are facing.
Her mother is not around to celebrate her stellar performance having died when Cheryl was just four years old, while her father is mentally sick and does not know anything about his daughter’s educational feat.
The three youngsters have been leaving with their uncle, who rescued them from street life in Ngong four years ago, but since the guardian is already educating Cheryl’s sister Alline Achola Opondo alongside his own children, he says he is not able to quench Cheryl’s thirst for education.
When journalists visited Ganda Primary School, a public school situated less than a kilometre from the Malindi International Airport, Cheryl was surrounded by a few relatives, teachers and some villagers who had heard of her performance.
Although she tried to smile, she seemed to be in deep thought, not knowing whether she would join the school of her dream. She was shedding tears, but nobody could tell whether they were tears of joy or desperation.
“I would like to thank God first because he is the one who enabled me to get what I got. I would also like to thank my parents, teachers and everyone who assisted me to get to where I am.
“I am however asking well-wishers out there to help me join Kenya High School,” she added, explaining the family was not financially sound.
Her sister Alline also called for help to enable Cheryl join the school of her dream so as to lessen the financial burden on the guardian family.
Peter Namodi Ogutu and his wife Jackine Namodi told journalists that they rescued the children from the streets following the demise of their mother and the malady their father was suffering.
“My husband literally took the children from the streets and we have been living with them. However, we are not able to take care of Cheryl’s education since we have other children to take care of,” said Mrs Namodi.
Ganda Primary School Head teacher Nicholas Mwangala and his deputy, Ms Priscilla Kitsao described Cheryl as a hardworking and disciplined girl and asked government and Non-governmental organizations to come to the aid of their top performing candidate.
Kenya News Agency journalists also caught up with Frida Neema, a 14-year-old girl who scored 411 marks at Garite Primary School in Gongoni, Magarini Sub County.
Frida said she managed the high result out of hard work and discipline and thanked her parents, teachers and fellow pupils for the achievement.
She said she aspires to join the Alliance Girls’ High School where she expects to nurture her dream of becoming a neurosurgeon.
Relatives gathered at their rental home near Malindi High School to celebrate her achievements and called on well-wishers to help Frida with school fees since the family will have two students joining Form One this year after her brother scored 315 marks.
By Emmanuel Masha and Rita Kariuki