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Sewing teacher in viral photo speaks after Mike Sonko’s generous donations offer to young student

On Monday, May 10, 2023, former Nairobi governor Mike Sonko revealed he had endured a fitful night after coming across a photo of a teacher sewing a pupil’s dress in class after covering her up in a leso.

The photo was taken on March 7, 2023, and the philanthropic politician just came across it.

“Watu wangu, imagine sijalala poa (My people, imagine I haven’t slept well) coz of this picture which I saw of a young girl from Siyiape Primary School, Narok county , with a torn dress circulating on social media. I need details about this school or her parents’ contacts. I just want to buy her 5 sets of school uniforms, rubber shoes, official school shoes, her food and school shopping for at least 6 months and clear any of her outstanding school fees,” said Mike Sonko in his statement.

Nairobi News reached out to Teacher Joyce Sempela Malit, the sewing teacher in the viral photo, on Wednesday, May 10, 2023. With an energetic, cheerful voice punctuated by hearty laughter and the occasional unexpected pause to praise God, Teacher Malit expressed unbound joy and happiness; and further praised God upon learning of Mike Sonko’s generous offer of donations to the young girl.

Teacher Malit revealed that she is always armed with a sewing kit in her handbag of the day and always ready to sew students’ torn uniforms when the occasion arises. In the young girl’s instance, her class teacher, Teacher Sabina Esho, brought the student to her and despite the dress being soiled, unbothered, Teacher Malit set about to sew the uniform which she described as extremely worn out.

“I couldn’t send the girl back home to have her uniform mended. She walks three kilometers to school and that would have been six kilometers round trip and there were insecurity issues to consider. I decided to hold the girl in class- it was break time- I asked her class teacher to give me a leso to wrap her in and then I set about to sew the dress. I can’t even begin describing to you how the dress looked like but I was happy to sew it for her,” said Teacher Malit.

Today, the young student is a happy and excited girl and Teacher Malit describes her as intelligent, a young student who she says moves her to tears whenever she approaches. Ms Malit also fondly told of how the student brought her wild flowers yesterday morning because it had rained in the past few days; and hugged her because she felt suddenly happy about her life.

Ms Malit went on to reveal that instances of tattered and worn-out uniforms among students in Siyiape Primary School were widespread; and that the situation at the school was dire and went beyond torn uniforms. According to the teacher, many of their students come from low-income homes and children’s homes and as such, there is little to no resources to cater to their academic needs. In many instances, students only came to school because there is food to eat unlike in their homes. She also revealed that the school’s Head Teacher privately farms and brings the produce to school for the students to eat.

“What happens with this Head Teacher of ours, he farms and sometimes brings his food from his farm and we cook for the children in school. Most of the time, this food is not there so what we do at times, there are those students who come with a little food in their lunch boxes and we have taught them how to share; and we have taught them that sharing is Godly. Every time a student brings food to school from home, they share and that is what helps us to keep these children in school. When you come to the school you will see that the children are very needy,” explained Ms Malit.

For the little food they have, the children also have to fight off monkeys that also want a share. According to Ms Malit, hunger has also struck wildlife in the region and she was of the opinion that all monkeys in Kajiado had probably settled around their school.

“When the children go to the toilets, we have to escort them. Even when they are playing the fields, we have to watch over them because hungry monkeys attack them for food as well,” explained Ms Malit.

The school currently has about 300 students and Ms Malit called on well-wishers to support the fraternity in taking care of the students’ basic and academic needs; and keep them in school “because they are our leaders of tomorrow.”

“I request donors- whoever will by touched by God because this happens when God touches you- to help us sustain these children in school. Donors can send us donations through the school You can also reach me on +254 721 239 418 to arrange for donations to the school. This is a very old school, it was founded in the 70s and all our students are from neighboring areas. We are located in Narok North, Narok County,” said Ms Malit.

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