BY COAST NEWSPAPER CORRESPONDENT
Fatuma Kwekwe Mongo, 16, had lost hope after failing to report at Butere Girls High School of Western region due to financial challenges but now there is light at the end of the tunnel after Mombasa Cement Company came to her aid.
A contagious smile breaks on her face as she received her scholarship from the company’s official Samir Bhaloo who promised to cater for all her school needs until she completes her secondary education.
“We heard your plight from the media and we came here to offer our small contribution towards your education journey after primary schooling excellent performance,” he said.
The official expressed concern on ever-increasing cases of early pregnacies and marriage witnessed from poor living conditions of families in many parts of Kilifi County.
He appealed to County leadership, local administration and politicians to work together and address that emerging trend saying it had adverse efforts on the girlchild and her educational progression.
Kwekwe’s quest for education saw her escape two instances while living at her parents’ home in Lunga Lunga Subcounty before fleeing to live with her grandmother at Mtomondoni Village of Mtwapa in Kilifi County.
The girl from Magojoni Village of Mwereni location in Lunga Lunga Subcounty against all odds managed to score 400 marks in the 2020 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and offered a place at Butere Girls but could not report for lack of finances.
Narrating her ordeal, Kwekwe says her trials and tribulations started when she was in Standard Three after her father took dowry from an unknown man to her while a second attempt happened when she was in Standard Five. She escaped both attemps to marry her off.
According to the grandmother Dama Tsuma her grandchild has been living with her since she left her parents’ home in 2015 after the father protested her continuous pursance of education which he did not approve.
Struggling to keep off her son-in-law, she said twice she had been forced to threaten him with arrests after trying to marry grandchild in exchange for cattle as his way of getting rich quickly.
“He took cattle and some money from his friend when Kwekwe was in Class Three, she said adding that in Kwale fathers traded their daughters for wealth. “They do not educate them. A 10-year-old girl is supposed to be at her husband’s place.”
That when she took the girl and started caring for her after enrolling her at Havilah Academy in Class One at 10 years in 2013.
Academy’s headteacher Eric Kai described Kwekwe as a disciplined and focused girl that he was forced to waive school fees to ensure she schooled througout her primary education without a hitch.
To protect the girl, Mr Kai said at one time he was forced to solicit assistance of Mtwapa Police Station when the girl’s father attempted to force his daughter to drop out of school but after being thwarted his relations with daughter deteriorated.
Financial constraints facing the grandmother who is suffering from acute ulcers forced her to abandon her food vending business, thus, causing her to be unable to raise Sh60, 000 required to enrol Kwekwe at Butere Girls High.
Samir Katama Wmeri, 16, is another Academy’s pupil who also benefited from the Mombasa Cement scholarship.He was called to Kisumu Boys High School after scoring 354 marks in his KCPE exam.
The young boy was raised by her grandmother singlehandedly after her parents separated when he was 5 years old and her mother remarried elsewhere.
Just like Kwekwe, the headteacher waived the young boy’s school fee from nursery to class eight. “When I was called to Kisumu Boys and my grandmother said she could not raise the fees, I lost hope,” said the boy.
Edited by Mwakera Mwajefa