, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun, 13 – The best gift parents can give to their children is education, but what happens when financial constraints check in and you can no longer educate your children? Do you give up on this precious gift?
Jane Wanjiru is one of those parents… a single mother of five who despite being blessed with an extremely bright child Natasha Wanjiru, reached a point she could not afford school fees, but her love and value for education could not halt her from doing what it takes to see Natasha through school.
“We have come from far with my girl. It has not been easy because we used to rent and I had to do manual labour to raise her school fees and it was difficult because the job was never guaranteed,” said Wanjiru who spoke to Capital FM News ahead of Saturday when the world will be marking the Day of the African Child.
Wanjiru’s mother is indeed committed to this year’s Theme of The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for Children in Africa: which ties into last years of girls not brides.
As the saying goes, where there is will, there is a way. Natasha’s mother discovered Bridge International Academies (Bridge,) which was more affordable and easily accessible for her daughter to continue studying.
“By the time I came to turn to Bridge international it was because I could not afford her fees, they offered to pay for her education and after I discovered they offered quality education I took my other daughter there,” said Jane.
Despite missing a full year of tuition before joining Bridge, Natasha was able to catch up with her peers and excel in the national end of school exit exam which led to her full four year scholarship award at the prestigious Episcopal High School in Virginia, United States.
“I got sponsorship from different people and when I did my KCPE I got a scholarship to join Moi Girls Kamusinga but Bridge had also helped me to apply for scholarships from several private schools in the use so when I came for holidays I was told I got a scholarship to go study at Episcopal High School in Virginia, United states,” said Natasha.
Natasha, who is back home for her summer holidays, received straight A grades in her first year at the Virginia High School, urges parents and students who may be in the same situation that she was in, not to give up on their pursuit for better education regardless of the challenges that they may face.
“I would tell them to hold on; there are a lot of challenges, I stayed home more often while in primary school but when you work hard there is possibility of getting help from someone,” Natasha stated.
She attributes her academic success to hard work, discipline and above all prayer. She is hopeful that in the near future she will become an ambassador for a girl child education, not only in Kenya, but in Africa at large.
“It is not easy to educate a boy but it is even harder to educate a girl and with this, I would step in to champion for a girl child education because when you educate a girl, you educate a community,” she said.
According to the Bridge International Academies Public Relations Manager Jackline Walumbe, the success is as a result of hard work by Natasha and her mother who she says is very supportive and her love for education is enormous.
”Despite the challenges they faced, her mother has always been there to make sure Natasha felt all is not gone and one day her dreams will come true and she will be great,” she said.
She called on the government and other Non-Governmental Organizations to step in the gap and ensure children from under privileged families also have access to quality education.