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Help me be a civil engineer: Student’s dream dimming over lack of fees

By Sammy Waweru January 30th, 2023 3 min read

When Valentine Omondi sat for his Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) in 2021 at Ololtingual Primary, he dreamt of becoming a Civil Engineer guru.

The dream is still valid to date, but the challenges facing the 16-year-old boy from Migori County are seemingly dimming.

He thought he would study and join university. After graduating, he secures a job and assists her mother in educating his siblings.

The Otieno Oyoo High School form two student worries that his vision may not come to reality.

Having joined the secondary under President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration and now retired, he can count the number of times he has attended classes due to lack of school fees.

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Mr Kenyatta’s regime ensured that there is a 100 percent transition of standard eight pupils in secondary school, a directive also embraced and taken forth by the current head of state, Dr William Ruto.

Omondi, apparently a boy with a bright future, was sent home last year due to school fees arrears, and since he is still hopeful one day he will resume studies, he joined his elder brother, who resides in Huruma, Nairobi.

The brother has been working in the city, but when he lost his job last year, Omondi was forced to drop out of school.

With his now ailing mother, Everline Atieno, he (the brother) was paying for his fees.

“I have been working at Kiamaiko Slaughter House in order to mobilize funds to go back to school,” he reveals.

The only available hustle for him is waiting for farmers to sell their goats and then helping them take their animals to the abattoir at an agreed fee.

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Per day according to Omondi, he earns merely Sh200 and sometimes lacks all the same.

He states that the brother is also sick and depends on manual jobs by God’s grace.

“The little I hustle, we buy food and cater for basic needs,” he says.

This week, all schools across the country resumed the 2023 education calendar after a two-month break.

Omondi’s urge to quench his education thirst no longer allows him to continue with the hustle and has now turned to Nairobi streets to fundraise school fees.

Nairobi News caught up with the boy along Taifa Road near the Supreme Court of Kenya, begging for help.

“I am Valentine Omondi seeking assistance from the government or public well-wishers to help me finish up my education. I come from a needy family, where my elder brother is the breadwinner and is currently unemployed and sick,” reads part of the placard’s message the student is using to request for support.

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Seeing his fellow students dressed in uniform and going back to school stresses him a lot.

In an interview with Nairobi News, he said quitting studies is not part of his plans as he is hopeful God will do miracles.

Valentine Omondi, 16 years old and a form 2 student at Otieno Oyoo High School located in Kisumu County pictured seated on a flower bed on the corner of Processional Way and Taifa Road he is appealing for well-wishers to pay for his school which will allow him to report back to school and continue with his education. Picture by Francis Nderitu

Overwhelmed by tears, he insisted he did not want to engage in illegal activities such as crime and taking drugs.

“So far, I have only managed to raise Sh100, since this morning,” he revealed an amount a Good Samaritan woman offered to him.

The school fees structure seen by Nairobi News, shows 2022 Otieno Oyoo High School charged Sh57, 244 per year.

Boy Omondi, however, said he owes the school Sh35, 000 arrears.

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Reaching for a comment, the mother said that she currently depends on vibaruas – Odd jobs such as tilling people’s farms and laundry to feed her children.

“I am battling acromegaly (a hormonal disorder that develops when pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone during adulthood), and the condition subjects me to too much pain to an extent I am unable to work,” the single mother of five said.

She stated that her effort to raise medication expenses has since gone futile.

As Omondi embarks on a tough journey searching for support, he believes he was not born to suffer and that one day he will overcome the triumphs.

His story is a replication of the situation facing thousands, hundreds of thousands and millions of students across the country from poor families as the cost of living soars.

He is an athletic star, and last year he was recognized and awarded for emerging fifth position in the school’s inter-house competitions.

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