For little orphan Anne Wanjiru, 15, determined to get secondary education, not 319km nor lack of money was going to stop her.
Wanjiru scored 360 marks in the KCPE exam and received an admission letter to join Aldai Girls’ Secondary School in Nandi county.
The girl has lived in Manasseh Children’s Home, Kasarani, Nairobi county, since she was four.
Her attempts to get a scholarship from, among others the Equity Group Foundation’s Wings to Fly programme, all failed. Time was running out to enrol in school, but no help was forthcoming.
Wanjiru had heard of desperate girls like her who showed up in school empty-handed and got admitted anyway. She decided to go to Aldai and throw herself at the mercy of the teachers.
However, she did not know where the school was located and had no money for fare. Together with a friend, Wanjiru went to a cybercafe and, using Google Maps, located Aldai Girls’. The school is in Nandi county, 318km away from the capital.
Next she went to one of the children’s home sponsors who sells vehicle spare parts at Grogan near Globe Cinema. The woman gave her Sh500 for doing well in KCPE and promised to support her as soon as she got a sponsor.
Wanjiru decided she would use the money to travel to Eldoret. On Thursday morning she woke up at 5am, put on her blue tracksuit and walked some 13km to Machakos country bus station. She got there at 8.30am.
“When I saw the bus with inscriptions ‘Eldoret Express’, I knew it must be the one. But when I inquired about the fare to Eldoret a tout said Sh850,” Wanjiru said.
She bargained and the conductor agreed to take the Sh500 since she is a child and a student for that matter. They arrived in Eldoret at night and Wanjiru spent the remaining hours on the bus.
The next morning she hiked a lift in another PSV after telling the crew she had lost her fare.
Aldai Girls’ principal Perez Siele said she admitted the girl after teachers heard about her background and were impressed by her determination to pursue her education.
“We shopped for her some items to start her off her studies…the school decided to buy her uniforms as we wait for well-wishers,” she said.
Nandi Woman Representative Tecla Tum and county commissioner Lucy Mulili visited her and brought her more items, including a school box, bedding and clothes.
“We are happy for her and will ensure she successfully completes her secondary education uninterrupted,” Tum said. Wanjiru hopes to join university and says she will go back to support the children’s home.