Brian Salambo, with his father, travelled 400km from Ikolomani in Kakamega County to Nanyuki High School in Laikipia County to seek admission in Form One, though he was slated to join Oloolaiser Boys in Kajiado County.
On Thursday morning, the boy and his father were welcomed by Principal Oliver Munishi and were served with tea in the reception room as he attended to other parents.
The boy was still donned in the uniform of his former school, Shiseno Primary, and had not carried any items that he would in school.
Brian scored 387 marks in the 2021 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams and was to join secondary school.
When Mr Minishi returned to the reception room, he was surprised to find the boy alone. He called the boy’s father, who told him that he had left and was unable to pay for his child’s education.
The man is a boda boda operator in his village.
The boy narrated how his father borrowed money from a relative to facilitate their travel to Nanyuki, filled with optimism that he would be admitted.
“We started our journey on Wednesday and immediately my father received cash from a relative. We travelled together from the village to this place. I was surprised when he left because he did not leave any cash for me. I was left in the hands of the principal,” Brian said.
“I had difficulties in primary school because most of the time I would be sent away for lack of money. I am pleading with well-wishers to help me and I promise them that I will work hard in my studies,” he added.
The boy’s father, Mr Philomon Shizukane Khayumba, from Virembe village in Ikolomani constituency, said he had decided to travel to Nanyuki Boys after he became desperate about his son’s situation.
Mr Khayumba said three of his sons sat the 2021 KCPE exam and one of Brian’s siblings scored 222 marks and the other 325.
“I have been spending sleepless nights wondering what I will do to ensure my son joins Form One. Brian told me that he had done his part by passing the exam and wanted to join Form One.”
He said he decided to travel to Nanyuki Boys to seek help from Mr Minishi. He approached relatives to give him fare money.
“I had heard of Mr Minishi, who is from our village. I decided to take my son to the school so that the principal could support me,” he said.
He had handed over one of his sons to Lirembe Friends Secondary, not far from the village, he said.
He had also approached Equity Bank, asking if its Elimu Scholarship scheme could support his other son to join Form One.
“I am hoping he will qualify for the education scholarship. I have struggled to ensure my sons get a good education despite being jobless,” he said.
Mr Minishi acknowledged that Mr Khayumba is from his village and had sought to have the child admitted at the school due to the family’s financial constraints.
“The man knows me but I don’t know him. I suggest we don’t mention his name because he is a man who values education and thought that I would help him.
He should not be blamed. We have leaders who are spending lots of money yet we have such desperate cases,” Mr Minishi said.
The principal said school administrators had agreed to admit the boy so that he can have a serene academic environment.
“Personally, I cannot abandon this child. That is why I am pleading with well-wishers to sponsor his education and that of nine others who came to this school with nothing. The truth of the matter is that parents are encountering financial constraints,” Mr Minishi said.
Mr Raphael Kimatu, Parents Teachers Association (PTA) chairman, said they interviewed the boy and decided to admit him.
“The father left the child in the hands of the principal and left. We have interviewed the boy and all agreed to admit him, since he is bright. We urge all well-wishers to come to the aid of such children. We have so many requests that have been made by parents and there is a lot of pressure,” Mr Kimatu said.
Mr Minishi said the school had admitted to Form One 416 of the 480 stipulated by the Ministry of Education.
When he released the 2021 KCPE results, Education CS Magoha said Nanyuki High was selected by more candidates than any other school.
The school has a capacity for 480 students but received 156,003 applications.
“Since this school was the most sought in the country, I am not surprised to witness this rare incident,” Mr Minishi said.