June 27, 2018
If you haven’t received # 9 don’t fuss. I haven’t finished it yet, but I will. I am currently at SFG, where a pressing problem was brought to my attention just now. Lucy, a form 4 girl, last of 8 children, none educated, was being sponsored by an aunt. The aunt paid fees for 2 years, but stopped paying. Here’s the rub. The mother was not told, the fee arrears piled up and the principal did not do her job, which was in the least to notify the parents and at most, send the Lucy home. Now, 2 years later, the family owes some $1600, a huge amount.
Lydia, the new principal came to find me in the library, where I was helping some form 1’s with percentage questions. She wanted me to come to her office to talk to Lucy, her mother and another lady who seems to be a distant relative. They had come to withdraw Lucy from school. The mother is such as I have seen many times, a simple lady, speaks no English, had the 8 kids, poor and wanting so much for at least child to have high school.
I wish I could say Lucy is a strong student, but she is average. Yet she is a very sweet girl. My heart is so sad that she has attended SFG 3 ½ years but can’t be allowed to sit for the exam with such a large amount owing.
The mother has managed to raise about $150, from family members and a small “bursary” from the county education office. I’ve asked whether ETW can cover some of it, can the school “swallow” some of it, since it was negligence on the part of the previous principal. But can some of my followers also help, as will I? No one needs give a lot, if a lot of people give a little.
Here is a picture of the distant relative, Principal Lydia, Lucy and mom. I made jokes so they would smile. The faces were very serious before, as this seemed to be the end of a dream.
You may have noticed that I’ve not included pix in my blogs. It’s because it has come to our attention that privacy issues are such that each person pictured must give written consent (or the parent is under 18). That is so much bother and often impossible here at SFG because the parents aren’t here. However all those shown have given me written consent.
We are also trying to arrange for Lucy to stay in Naivasha for the 2 weeks after school closes in August so she can take advantage of the tuitioning we offer. It’s mostly math, but kids often stay in the afternoon to study other subjects together and sometimes I find a teacher to help them. It would help Lucy a great deal to get that academic support.
Ordinarily in a case like this, the student would be sent home. After all, the food must be paid for, the teachers and other staff paid. The fees must be paid to support the running of the school. Yet this situation is unique in my experience, that arrears would be permitted to accrue for 2 years with nothing done. Moreover, the ultimate price is paid by the student for failure of adults to take care of business. I’m learning that the previous principal failed in her duty in many other respects. Lydia has been very open with me about what she has faced coming here. She is a no-nonsense woman who is tackling a tough job, with many issues, but they can’t all be solved at once.
So, my friends, if you can spare some help for Lucy, it would be wonderful. Lydia is allowing her to stay in school to continue preparing for the KCSE in the belief that we can find the funds to pay the arrears. I think we can. It is just for this kind of situation that I come here.
Thank you in advance and if this isn’t possible for you, don’t feel bad. It will happen somehow.