If a bar of soap could wash away all her worries and a brassiere could lift her hopes, Rael Anyango would be studying at Kolanya Girl’s High School.
She hopes to become an engineer. She only reported to school with the two basics, not even a toothbrush.
The two items, which cost her mother Sh250, have won her lots of sympathy but not much help. Last week the school principal politely turned away the 13-year-old from the national school where she had been placed.
She is yet to join high school. Rael is the third born in a family of five. She scored 376 marks in the KCPE exam.
Her mother is unable to raise Sh53,554 needed for school fees and about Sh30,000 for other requirements.
On Thursday last week, Rael and her mother set out for Kolanya in Busia. In the big metal box given to them by a good Samaritan was a bar of soap and a black bra.
Rael Anyango, wearing her former school uniform at her home in Busia, after being turned away from Kolanya Girls' National School/Akello Odenyo
Rael, dressed in her former primary school uniform, approached the headteacher hoping she could persude her to admit her.
“The principal sent us away but said we could leave the box behind and she would reach us if she finds any help,” mother Beatrice Nabwire said.
Though hope has been dimming as the deadline for Form 1s approaches, reading motivational books has helped keep Rael’s dreams alive.
When we met at her home in Busia, Rael was reading Eric Opingo’s In Your Hands Lies Your Future but her future was slowly slipping out of her hands.
“I’ll be a great motivational speaker, this author greatly inspires me. I really hope I can go to school and sharpen my skills,” she said.
She said no help is forthcoming. “I have reached out to many people including the county for help. This has yielded more sympathy than help.”
Her single mother who does odd jobs only managed to save Sh500 for Rael’s schooling. Half of the amount was used for fare and the rest she bought her daughter a bar of soap and a bra.
“I work on people’s farms and sell vegetables for a living. All I could save, however, could not meet the requirements for my daughter to join school,” her mother said.
Nabwire, the sole family breadwinner, said she gets about Sh200 a day. She said that even if she is given a year to raise the school fees she cannot manage as she has another daughter who scored 292 marks and also hopes to join high school.
Rael sat the KCPE exam together with her elder sister Leah Usiku who managed 292 marks. Both are at home, hoping for things to turn around.
The government provides Sh22,244 per student through the Free Day Secondary Education.
The amount eliminates any tuition fees in day secondary schools. However, parents with students in boarding national and extra-county schools are required to pay a maximum of Sh53,554. Those in county schools are to pay a maximum of Sh40,535.
According to the ministry, the capitation aims to reduce the burden on parents and enable more children to access secondary education.
In 2017-18, Sh59 billion was disbursed to support 2,785,655 students in 9,111 public schools.
The government extended the reporting deadline for Form 1 to Friday, January 18, to ensure all students report to schools.
In a circular to county education officials on Friday, Basic Education PS Belio Kipsang said principals and parents had made the request. He said the extension would ensure 100 per cent transition and give every child an opportunity to go to school.
Friday, January 11, was the initial deadline for all Form One students to report to their schools. The first batch of students started reporting on Monday, January 7.
Kipsang said provision for students’ details to be captured only in the National Educational Management Information System (Nemis) must be adhered to by all principals.