Why Isn't Anyone Listening To Mwangi's Cries?

Kelvin Mwangi’s dream of becoming an aeronautical engineer is fast fading and could come to a screeching halt unless good Samaritans and well-wishers come to his aid. While all his peers are already in school acclimatising with the learning environment, poor Mwangi is still at home, praying and hoping that someone comes to their rescue so he can rejoin his Form Three classmates and pursue his dreams.

Mwangi is a student at St. Peters Kandara Boys High School (formerly Gakarara Secondary School) in Kandara Sub-County, Muranga County.  He says that the school requires him to a settle Sh. 33,730 tuition fees that is inclusive of  last year's arrears before they can re-admit him back. This year, he only attended classes for only a fortnight before the school authorities sent students home for school fees.

According to his academic progressive reports as seen by Thika Town Today, Mwangi has been an exemplary performer since joining the school. Last term, after only attending classes for just 21 days, he managed to score an aggregate score of C Plain. Previously when he managed to attend classes uninterrupted for a whole term, he topped the whole class with an aggregate of a B+

We observed a tread where his performance was directly proportional to his class attendance. Every time he spent more time away from class, his performance in exams always deteriorated. We learnt in the year 2014, that the school management forced him to repeat Form One after he spent almost a whole year away from school due lack of fees.

Mwangi's problems compounded when his single mother, Emmah Wanjiru lost her job as a casual labourer with her previous employer. Ever since she has been struggling to fed her son and pay bills through doing all kinds of odd jobs which she says are very irregular these days.

When we visited them at their rented room in Kiandutu Slum, Wanjiru narrated how she has knocked so many doors to seek help and how she has been single-handedly struggling to raise him through the odd jobs. Though she is optimistic, she is now getting more worried as the days draw by and no one is calling to inform them of any help that might be coming their way. She added that Mwangi has always given her hope for a brighter future after she herself dropped out of school due to lack of school fees and got pregnant of her son.

“Raising school fees is proving to be a tall order as every door we knock for assistance seems to be locked. My efforts to get bursary from the CDF, Kiambu County offices or our MCA have all been fruitless as we are always turned away with very flimsy reasons and empty promises. Banks who offer scholarships have also turned us away saying that we are ‘not so needy’,” she said.
 
He has always given me hope because of his love for school. Even before joining Form One he would always talk of turning the fortunes of this family,” she added.

Ms Wanjiru added that her efforts to get assistance from relatives have also borne no fruit despite promises that they would organise a fundraiser for the boy’s school fees.

She is now a very worried mother since she fears that her son may be tempted to join bad company and indulge into either drugs or crime.

True to Wanjiru's words when we were leaving her house, we bounced into a group of young boys in their early 20s smoking bhang just about 20 metres away from the house.

Despite all this, Mwangi is still ambitious and ardently believe in education as a sustainable pathway for him to rescue his family from the jaws of abject poverty. 

In tears, the boy told us that his greatest worry was to see his dreams go to the drains. He told us that he could identify about thirteen other cases of drop outs in that slum who have gone through the same fate.

“I really feel bad when I see my mother struggling to shape my future. It pains me too to encounter young boys and girls who have dropped out of school due to similar situations. Some of them have now ended up in the streets, feeding on expired food and sleeping in the cold. Some are now wasting away in alcohol and crime. These are the people I always have in mind and that’s why I need to pursue my dream. I have a dream of becoming an aeronautical engineer though this is yet another tall order for my poor mom. I hope someone out there will come to my aid and just see me through school, someone to help me realise my dream,” said Mwangi.

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