The Three Needy Girls
Subo village in Tana North Sub County of Tana-River County, Nanighi ward. The Subo community is disadvantaged in terms of resources and infrastructure including that of education, health and road network. This Sub County, has absolute poverty rates in that only 27% of the residents have at least primary school education, while only 29% of the residents have some level of formal education. 76% have no access to improved water source while a whopping 85% have no access to improved sanitation. (Exploring Kenya’s Inequality – Pulling Apart, Pooling Together –KNBS & SID 2013). According to KIHBS 2015/16, (Cited in: Understanding Poverty in Kenya, by Chronic Poverty Advisory Network [CPAN], 2018) Tana River County has 80% poverty headcount. Primary school enrolment rates for boys is 11.2 % and for girls 6.5%. Secondary school enrolment rates are worse at 5.4% for boys and 2.6% for girls.
In this village, three orphaned sisters, (Riziki, Halima and Fatuma) attended school in Subo Primary. Upon completion of their grade 8 exams, they all qualified to go to high school. Their father, an elderly man and also a small-scale farmer was their only hope in their education. Unfortunately, he died 3 month before they did their exams. The girls were all admitted into form one in the same school. Three weeks after all the students had joined secondary school, these girls were still at home, not knowing what next. The future for them was dark. They were not sure what would be of their dreams. Their desperate situation was brought to our attention. It was evident that there was no one to help. A hasty decision was made to place them into school and sponsor their education.
It is hardly a year since the OCN staff pitched camp on the ground; such cases of lack of school fees are very high. The government’s efforts through Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and Ward bursaries are just a drop in ocean due to the poverty levels. Majority of the needy cases end up without sponsors and so dropping out of school which results in high rates of early marriage among the girls.
There is a dire need to save the three girls (Riziki, Halima, and Fatuma) and other girls from early marriages in this community and enable them to pursue their dreams through education. Please help them realize this dream and hence better the standard of living in this needy community.