• Some teachers have been evicted from their houses for failing to pay rent.
• About 114 private schools in Mombasa have also been closed down after their owners failed to pay rent.
Private schoolteachers in Kisauni, Mombasa, on Friday got a special Eid-ul-Adha present when the county government distributed food to them.
Kenya Private School Association Mombasa county chairman Omar Muli said more than 70 per cent of the 16,000 of their members have been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis and are in dire need of financial and emotional support.
“One of us, Mr Orondo, took his own life after it became unbearable because of Covid-19. We would not like to see any other one of us take that route,” Muli said.
Since schools were closed in March because of the coronavirus, private schoolteachers have had no pay. And this is likely to continue into next year after Education CS George Magoha said schools will only open in January.
Some teachers have been evicted from their houses for failing to pay rent. Muli said about 114 private schools in Mombasa have also been closed down after their owners failed to pay rent for their premises.
Besides teachers, about 4,000 non-teaching staffers have been affected by the closure.
Mombasa Deputy Governor William Kingi said the food subsidy programme has now reached more than 97,000 households in the county. He said private schoolteachers have now been included. Those in Kisauni were the first batch to benefit. The team will move to other subcounties.
Initially, Governor Hassan Joho's administration targeted 227,000 households but now those in need have increased to 500,000.
Kenya Red Cross Society Mombasa chairman Mahmoud Noor said apart from food subsidies, they will also enrol private schoolteachers in their cash transfer programme.
So far, about 900 households in Junda, Kisauni constituency, have benefitted from the cash transfer programme. Some 900 more in Shinda, Likoni constituency, are set to benefit starting next week.
“We are planning to get to 10,000 families in the county,” Noor said, adding, however, that it is not practical to depend on food subsidies forever.
He called on Kenyans to go back to work but observe the Covid-19 directives strictly.
Haki Africa executive director Hussein Khalid said the national government should also help the private schoolteachers because they have Teachers Service Commission numbers and do the same work as their public school counterparts.
He called on private schoolteachers not to give up. “We are hopeful things will get better. But let us not lose hope and contemplate drastic measures like suicide.”
Khalid said private schoolteachers handle about half the number of learners in the country. “If the teachers will not be in school when they open, then half of learners in Kenya will also suffer because they will have no one to teach them,” he said.