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“My name is Saumu Kalimbo. I am a form three student at Kiwandani Secondary School. I am very grateful; to the Wasichana Wetu Wafaulu project that has been paying my school fees since I joined form one through the bursaries that I have been receiving. I come from a very large family and with this comes a lot of financial constraints.  I have ten siblings and I am the lastborn. Only one of my siblings, my brother, was able to complete high school. While the rest, particularly the girls, were not able to complete their primary education. My brother managed to complete his secondary education by getting help from well-wishers.

My mother died when I was very young, and my alcoholic father does not have a stable source of income.

My school fees struggle began when I was in primary school. It was very disheartening to get sent home due to the lack of fees while my classmates stayed in school continuing with the syllabus. This continued until the headteacher took notice of my plight. She then made my education her priority. The headteacher ensured I completed my primary education by personally paying my school fees.

Unfortunately, that was not the end of my school fees situation. I got called to join a good boarding school but had to drop out after enrolling due to an accumulated school fees balance. I tried to seek help from different avenues. I reached out to my siblings but they were not able to assist. I got so frustrated I contemplated running away to Watamu town to look for any means possible to fend for myself.

Later I convinced my sister to accompany me to a nearby children’s home to look for support. It was there that I was referred to Kesho Kenya.

Kesho Kenya took me in. Through their Wasichana Wetu Wafaulu project, they enrolled me back into school, something I was giving up hope in. Yes, I may lack a few basic things such as revision books, uniforms, and remedial class tuition fees but the biggest burden is off my shoulders, and for this, I am beyond grateful. The other things can always be acquired over time and I am fortunate to have understanding friends. They know my situation and they share where they can.

Once I complete my secondary school education, I want to be a lawyer. I believe that I have the necessary skills it takes to be one. I am articulate, and I have the confidence to speak in front of a large crowd of people. I served as the head girl of this school for three years.

That was since I joined in form one up until form three when they appointed another to give me time to study for my Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE)

I want to encourage other children from needy and vulnerable backgrounds. Sometimes the road to success is very hard. As a girl child, education is our right just as it is for any other child.  But we sometimes experience a lot of challenges. You don’t need to be married off in order to access education like the rest. We need to work harder than most to achieve our dreams and change the narrative. Thanks to WWW I am more motivated, I have a bright future ahead of me, I will press harder to motivate other girls, and I will be my older siblings’ role model.

To WWW I offer my sincere gratitude and I’d like to recommend you visit regularly, this really motivates me to work harder and to prove to you that you did not make a mistake choosing to educate me.”

Wasichana Wetu Wafaulu Project (WWW) was incepted in 2017 with the aim of improving the learning and transition of girls through three pathways; Pathway 1 (PW1): Primary to Secondary Pathway 2 (PW2): Primary to Alternative Pathway (AP) Pathway 3 (PW3): Catch-up classes for re-entry to education. The project works with 55 primary schools, 4 VTCs, and 11 Secondary Schools in Kilifi County. To date, 1555 girls have been supported through the distribution of bursaries.