When the Nation visited Joseph Boke in May at his grandmother’s home in the border town of Sirare in Migori County, he expressed hope that he would one day go back to university and complete his studies.
This was after dropping out of the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in 2016 due to his inability to pay his fees.
But one thing that always bothered him was where he would get money to enable him resume his studies.
With this in mind, Boke tried his hand as a bar manager where he worked for a former high school friend. He was being paid Sh5,000 per month. He would also teach in some local secondary schools where he earned between Sh3,000 and Sh5,000 a month.
But while he did these jobs, he was cognisant of the need to go back to JKUAT and clear his studies.
He had been in high school for ten years, sitting the KCSE exam three times and scoring a straight A that secured him placement at the university to study actuarial science.
Having lost his mother in 1994 when he was a child, he and his two siblings, a brother and a sister, were brought up by their grandmother, Maria Mogosi who never bore her own children as she was barren. Among the Kuria people, if a woman is not able to give birth she is allowed to “marry a young woman” who bears children for her. Boke and his siblings found themselves in this kind of cultural arrangement.
Their grandmother, who exchanges Kenyan and Tanzanian currencies in Sirare town, recounted how she has struggled to have them go through school with the little resources she has.
Boke now expresses his joy after some Kenyan well-wishers contributed towards his return to university.
Because he has always been passionate about teaching, he joined the University of Nairobi’s (UoN) College of Education where he is now pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education.
Boke could not return to JKUAT to continue with actuarial studies as the curriculum had when in the three years he was away due to lack of fees.
Among his benefactors is Elizabeth Wanyoike, a Kenyan pastor living in the US.
Ms Wanyoike has pledged to support Boke through his education and take care of his upkeep.
Ms Mogosi expressed her joy and thanked Kenyans and Pastor Wanyoike for helping her grandson resume studies.
Dr Pamela Lunjalu, the assistant dean of students at UoN’s College of Education says more effective policies should be formulated to take care of such cases.
She also says that these cases should be looked into at the local level before students join school but asserts that the government should increase funding for bright but needy students.
“The University of Nairobi offers many opportunities but these are still not enough for the rising cases of these students. UoN gives students bursaries and work study opportunities. The university is also in constant communication with HELB (Higher Education Loans Board) to facilitate quick funding for the students,” says Dr Lunjalu.
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