By Isabella Maua
Secondary school day scholars in Mt.Elgon can now smile after the government committed to purchasing property and setting up infrastructural facilities in the upcoming day schools.
Speaking at AIC Bugaa Secondary School in Kapsokwony, Rael Chebichii Lelei, Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of East African Community (EAC) and ASALs & Regional Development, said that the Kenya Kwanza administration is devoted to improving and standardising the education sector across the country.
“Education is the only equaliser in the world; parents, allow your children to access quality education despite the challenges you’ve had to undergo because it’s worth the sacrifice after all,” advised Chebichii.
The CAS also launched ‘The Don’t Touch Initiative,’ which empowers girls to be sensitive with their bodies and cautions boys on the negative effects of engaging in careless sexual behaviours.
“Together with my team today I not only launch this initiative in Mt.Elgon but I also launch free sanitary pads to our lovely girls. This project is set to continue every term to keep our girls at school and avoid them engaging in sexual relations so as to get money to buy pads,” divulged Chebichii.
AIC Bugaa Secondary School, which was started in 2021 with only 122 students and a retired teacher as the principal, currently has about 300 students, 11 teachers (none employed by TSC), and only 78 students captured in the NEMIS code registration.
“All the teachers we have here are basically volunteers; half of them are orphans who, for the sake of their brothers and sisters, offer to teach these students, who mostly come from poverty-stricken families,” revealed Kiteywo Bera, principal of Bugaa.
The school, which initially targeted the girl child because of its proximity to adjacent homes and lack of boarding facilities, is currently taking both boys and girls, though it lacks classes and sufficient ground for co-curricular activities.
“I’ve spoken to the government officials in charge of this matter, and they’ve confirmed this school is registered but has no field for the students; also, the teachers with TSC numbers will be employed, and you’ll receive a principal,” pledged Chebichii.
The CAS, who was officially invited by Empower Hope Africa to grace the occasion of uplifting the upcoming day schools, applauded the bold step by the Director Rosalyn Mairori, felicitating her for her bold and noble action.
“Mrs. Mairori, you’re indeed an angel that has touched many lives, and may God continue blessing you; saving girls from backward cultural practises and forced marriages to enable them to access education and pursue their career of choice is indeed commendable,” avowed Chebichii.
In her speech, Mrs. Mairori imparted that they’ve sponsored over 600 girls so far, and their second lot of student beneficiaries are in Universities.
“Needless to say, the majority of girls in Mt. Elgon undergo psychological torture in the fight against early pregnancies, FGM, and forced marriages, which has vastly led to many dropping out of school, especially in classes 7 and 8,” reported Mrs. Mairori.
After the session at Bugaa, the entourage proceeded to Kaptalelio Girl’s Secondary School at Kaptama, which was founded in 2015 and has since been a day school catering for the educational needs of girls from within the area.
“Despite the fact that we initially targeted girls from closer areas, we have since received students from faraway areas, posing a risk to them as they come early to school or go home late,” bemoaned Janet Chesekut, principal of Kaptalelio.
She further cited a recent case of a girl who was waylaid by unknown culprits early in the morning as she was trekking to school and deplored the lingering danger beckoning the girls as they, by all manner of means, tried to quench their thirst for knowledge.
“Not only do we direly need a boarding facility for the girls but also a kitchen, dining hall, and playground to offer a conducive environment for them,” commented Chesekut.
The Sub County Education Director, Donald Etiang’, on behalf of the Mt. Elgon education fraternity, gave his benediction to CAS Chebichii and Mrs. Mairori for stepping up for the helplessly needy children and, more importantly, saving the endangered girls from foreseen risks.
“Through her excellency CAS Chebichii, I’m certain we shall no longer lose more girls to FGM, forced marriages, or teenage pregnancies, as has always been the case; we now rest assured of land and infrastructural development in our schools, more teachers, and plummeting student enrolment,” avowed Etiang’.
CAS Chebichii also challenged parents to sacrifice for the sake of their children’s education and support the young mothers so that they can have an opportunity to study and better their future.
Also present in the occasion were top women leaders in the region including Hon. Joan Kirong Leader of Majority and MCA Kapkateny, Jane Chepkorom former nominated MCA, Senior Chief Lucy Chemtai among others.