Tuesday, 14 October 2014
On the 11th of October which commemorates the International Day for the Girl Child, FAWE donated Ksh. 100,000 to student from the University of Nairobi who was facing financial challenges in meeting both her tuition and upkeep expenses.
FAWE’s Executive Director, Ms. Doroba came across Beryl Sewe Akinyi, from Kitale in Kenya and was immediately struck by her situation. Beryl’s parents are separated and so she had been living with her mum in Kitale ever since.
In 2009, Beryl got an admission to the University of Nairobi to study mechanical engineering. However, finances to enable her pursue this opportunity was scarse. Her mother was however determined to ensure her daughter did not miss this chance to better her life and so she sold a piece of land that she owned in Kitale to raise some funds to get her started. The monies raised were however not enough. She only managed to raise the tuition fee and a down payment on her tuition. Beryl did not have enough to cater for her accommodation. Fortunately, she reached out to an aunt in Nairobi who accepted to host her in her house in Shauri Moyo Estate. Beryl’s aunt is a tailor working in Kibera slum.
Despite her aunt’s best efforts, Beryl still struggled with her meeting her basic expenses for personal items such as sanitary towels, soaps, toothpaste to mention but a few. Learning requirements such as making photocopies of various documents or buying books was simply out of her reach. To further complicate matters, living in Shauri Moyo, presented her with the added strain of getting to the University campus, which was situated very far from her home especially as she had her mandatory chores to perform before getting to school. Her typical schedule therefore involved waking up at 4 AM, performing her house chores then walking to school before classes start at 8 AM. She would then stay on till late in the evening in the library reading until 9pm because she could not afford to make photocopies of reading materials which she would take home with her. She would then walk home at 9pm, only to often find her home in darkness because her aunt could not afford to pay for electricity.
As a result of all these hardships, Beryl performed poorly in school
In 2011, Beryl decided to ask the dean of students to get her a job. The best the dean could do recommend her for work study in the library, with a small stipend to cater for some personal needs. Thus begun, Beryl’s life of classes during the day and then work in the evening between 6 PM and 10 PM.
The late nights necessitated Beryl to find alternative living facilities because it was now even more to walk to Shauri Moyo at those odd hours. She found a friend who allowed her to stay with her on campus, however this was short-lived. After 2 months, the friend completed her studies and had to vacate the premises, leaving Beryl homeless.
Left with no choice, Beryl started sleeping in open classes after finishing her work in the library and she did so for the rest of the academic year.
In July 2014, Beryl wrote to FAWE in order to get financial assistance and an academic mentorship because of the various challenges she was facing both in her academic and personal life.
In accordance with FAWE’s mission to support girls and women’s education, immediately decided to adopt Beryl into its fold by not only paying for her tuition fees but by also providing for her accommodation and resources to meet her personal needs.
FAWE Africa Executive Committee Member Prof. Mary Walingo presented a cheque worth Ksh. 100,000 to Beryl. The donation that took place at the FAWE RS offices was witnessed by The Director of Gender Equity and Culture of Maasai Mara University, Prof. Tabitha Sewe; the Assistant Dean of student of the Mechanical Engineering department of the University of Nairobi, Ms. Margaret Mumera; The chairperson of the department of Mechanical Engineering of the University of Nairobi, Dr. Julius Ogola and FAWE Regional Secretariat Senior Program Officer, Ms. Martha Muhwezi.
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