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Asma H. comes from a small town “where girls are only taught to cook for their husbands”, as she says. The 18-year old girl is a bit shy but knows exactly what she wants. While most of her age mates at home are married or have at least two or three children, she is determined to pursue the path of education. “I want to excel despite where I come from”, Asma explains. “I want people to know that a rural girl in a marginalised area can do it.”

Winner of the Brookside “Mathlete” regional contest

Asma’s success is so amazing that in July 2019, the Daily Nation newspaper dedicated its entire page 3 to feature her. Her outstanding achievement: Scoring an A of 90 percent, Asma emerged as the regional winner of the prestigious Brookside “Mathlete” regional contest at Ribe Boys High School. She beat over 2,000 other bright students from the Coast region who participated. “I was overjoyed. I did not expect to win as the exam was very hard, and then suddenly, I heard them calling my name.” Prisca Mgute, her school’s principal praises the teenager and has high hopes for her. “She has proven that your background and problems do not determine your future.”

“I didn’t want to lose my brightest student”

Asma’s story on Daily Nation

Two years ago, in 2017, Asma’s fate hit a hard rock and was about to take a negative turn. Her uncle who supported her financially was no longer able to pay the school fees of more than 50,000 KSH to keep her in Bahari Girls, a national secondary school. What had he to do? There were not many options: a transfer to a cheaper county school, finding a sponsor or terminating the education of the girl. The uncle wanted to transfer the girl to a local day school in Malindi.

“I was born in Malindi and did not want to go back to study there and interact with my community members who do not value education”, Asma says. “Furthermore, day schools have temptations and limit one’s study time.” But fortunately, Asma’s class teacher Dennis Pundo intervened. “I did not want to lose one of my brightest students”, he says. “She has so much potential, the ability to perform and can achieve so much in future. She just needs extra support.”

 

Kesho Kenya stepped in

The principal and board members of Bahari came together and raised school fees.  That’s how Asma found her way into Kesho Kenya. When her teachers realised that Asma’s family was not financially able to keep her in the national boarding school for long, Asma was recommended to visit the NGO in Kilifi and ask for sponsorship. Lucky for her she was admitted. “Kesho Kenya came to my rescue just at the point of need”, Asma says. She is currently in form four, at the end of 2019 she will sit for her KCSE exam, and she hopes to pass with flying colours. “To date, Asma performance has been impeccable”, says Lilian Mbula. “At our last Kesho Kenya prize-giving day, she scooped almost all presents. Her discipline is commendable too.”

Grateful for quality education

Meanwhile, Asma has a scholarship from Brookside which allows her to pursue a diploma course of her choice. Immediately after KCSE, she can enrol to Strathmore University in Nairobi, one of the best institutions in the country. “I am very much interested in construction, be it architecture, engineering or something else”, Asma says. She thinks she would not be where she is without Kesho Kenya’s support. “If it was not you, I would be in a local school and not enjoying the privileges here and quality education I have access to.”