Deborah Chepkemei Rono is 14 years of age from an area known as Moi’s bridge in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County. She recently sat for her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) in December 2012 at Turkana South Boarding school and managed to score 377 marks out of 500, a score equivalent to A-.
Her journey to securing a place in secondary school has not been an easy one. Deborah started schooling at Maroon Academy in Eldoret from class one all the way to class seven when unfortunately, her father was laid off from the Kenya Police Force.
Deborah Rono is now joining Kenya High School
Deborah’s parents had struggled to support her through her primary education and now faced with a new challenge her mother, Eunice Rono, had to be the sole breadwinner for her family. She started looking for schools that could sponsor her daughter and fortunately, her neighbor told her of Turkana South Primary School. The school has sponsors who support bright and needy students fully.They applied and Deborah qualified to be taken in.
“I have done all kinds of odd jobs to ensure my children get to school. Fare for Deborah to just take her to Turkana was Kshs.2500 and that’s just one way!” says Eunice Rono. These odd jobs included cleaning homes, going to people’s farms and cultivating their land in preparation of planting or harvesting, as well as menial jobs like working on construction sites and mixing ballast. Deborah would at times go to school late due to a lack of enough fare to Turkana but this did not deter her from working hard whenever she got to school.
“I kept focus on reading hard and revising diligently with the teachers because I know education will take me places so that I help my mother who works hard” a smiling Deborah says. She finally got her secondary school calling letter from Kenya High School, a top girl’s secondary school based in Nairobi. Her mother was very happy but a great challenge still faced her, “I now did not know where to get money to take Deborah to school since I did not have sponsors.”
She looked for ways she could ensure her daughter went to secondary school by asking friends and family for support. “People would discourage me asking me why I am investing in her education yet she is just a girl. There is a culture that girls should just stay at home and prepare to start a family and a home not going to school.” Deborah is actually the first girl from the area of Moi’s bridge to go to a national school in Nairobi.
Eunice Rono applied for the various scholarship programs she had heard of but they did not bear fruit and finally, upon advice from her friend, placed an ad in one of the local dailies for assistance to support her daughter go to school. They got an overwhelming response from well-wishers and among those that noticed was KCDF and granted her a scholarship through the Chandaria Foundation Scholarship Fund.
Deborah is now able to go to school on time and with no worries of sourcing for school fees. Her mother cannot contain her joy as she feels a burden has been lifted from her. “I cannot thank KCDF and Chandaria Foundation Scholarship Fund enough for assisting Deborah and I know she will not disappoint us.”
Deborah is well on her way to secondary school and maintains that she will still be as hardworking and diligent as she was in primary school. She wants to be a pilot and join the aviation world when she completes secondary school.