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EXCLUSIVE: Deceased student Rodgers Kipruto planned return after frustrations in Finland

A Kenyan student based in Finland has shared some of the last conversations with the deceased student.

The student who is based at the Laurea University of Applied Sciences revealed the deceased, namely Rodgers Kipruto, was depressed and had sought to travel back to Kenya but was discouraged by some friends.

This week Mr. Kipruto who had enrolled for a degree course in nursing at Laurea University is reported to have died by suicide in Finland.

The student who spoke to Nairobi News explained the deceased initially entertained the thought of travelling back to Kenya in June 2023. His decision was arrived at owing to the tough times and challenges he was facing in Finland.

The chat shared by one of the students in Finland shows that the deceased had planned to travel back home.

“Hii mambo ya Laurea nayo . . .. Mimi damu yangu inaniambia nirudi Kenya sijui mbona (my guts tells me I need to go back to Kenya),” the WhatsAPP chat dated February 23, 2023, reads in part.

Another student responds: “Take your time and make your own decision and don’t include people,”

In another chat, the deceased inquired about the cost of the flight and wanted to know when they could book a flight.

“Sasa (hello) did you manage to book the plain (sic)?” shows a chat seen by Nairobi News.

“We have gone through a lot . . . Rodgers had been depressed and sick since October last year (2022), we were to come back to Kenya with him early this year, but was convinced by his friends and he canceled the flight . . . But depression is real out there, I thank God I have very understanding and supportive parents, maybe I would be the victim now,” he said.

The deceased was among the 202 students from Uasin Gishu county who were airlifted to Finland on a controversial study program deal between the county government and three universities in the foreign country- Laurea, Jyvaskylla, and Tampere universities.

A student noted that although they have continued with their studies since two weeks ago, most of the students felt they were duped by the county government.

“Life is hell out here, I wish the county would have told us the truth, we resigned from well-paying Permanent and pensionable (PnP) jobs in Kenya thinking we are going to be trained as professional nurses in Finland as promised by the county.

“We were also told that we will complete our degree course within one year, only to be shocked when we were told that the course will take 2 and half years, and the county had paid a fee for only the first semester and accommodation for 4 months, yet we had paid a fee for the all year and accommodation for 6 months,” another student stated.

The Uasin Gishu County-Finland airlift that was started by former governor and now senator Jackson Mandago has been under public scrutiny for the last three months.

The students were airlifted to Finland under the Uasin Gishu Overseas Education programme.

Under the arrangement, parents were to pay school fees through a trust account, with the county government acting as a guarantor.

It later emerged that some county officials had embezzled the funds, exposing the learners to discontinuation of studies and deportation.

An ad-hoc committee of the county assembly formed in February to investigate the scam recommended investigations into the management of the overseas education account for forgery, abuse of office, and lack of integrity

However, on March 15, 2023, Deputy Governor John Barorot, who also chairs the task force looking into the Finland-Uasin Gishu county program, assured parents and members of the public that the county administration has negotiated with three universities to ensure smooth learning.

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