The Kenya Defence Forces on Wednesday airlifted Lamu’s top performers in last year’s Standard Eight examinations to join Form One in Nairobi’s Moi Forces Academy.
The three students, Nathaniel Ushindi Chanzera (17), Ryan Karisa (16) and Ali Mohamed (15) got the rare opportunity to board a military chopper from Lamu’s multi-agency operation areas to Manda Airport.
They then flew to Nairobi on a Skyward Express flight.
The three will be received at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) by KDF and taken to Moi Forces Academy to begin their secondary school education journey.
Col Joel Tanui, the multi-agency Operation Amani Boni Commander, said the move to ferry the boys from their villages is in promotion of good with the local community.
“As the military, we’ve done our best to secure these boys who have excelled in their studies in Lamu admission at Moi Forces Academy.
In collaboration with the local authority and leaders here, bursary funds for these students will be disbursed for their education,” he said.
“This year, we took only boys since the institution they’re joining in Eastleigh is only for boys. But we shall consider taking female bright students from Lamu from next year to join places like the Moi Forces Academy, Lanet in Nakuru. We don’t want these bright minds to get lured into joining criminal gangs but rather be ambassadors of peace as they will be joining the class of few professionals from this place,” added Col Tanui.
All three students come from the OAB operation areas.
Ali Mohamed hails from Kizingitini village in Lamu East Sub-County; he scored 387 marks out of 500 in the 2022 KCPE examination.
Nathaniel Ushindi Chanzera from Witu’s Katsaka Kairu village scored 358 marks. His mother died of heart failure in 2018 and he was raised by his father who is overburdened and poor.
Ryan Karisa of Mpeketoni’s Ziwani village also scored 358 marks but his poor family could not afford secondary school fees before the
KDF, local leaders, and authorities intervened to ensure he joined Moi Forces Academy.
Ali aspires to be a pilot while Ryan and Nathaniel aim to be surgeons.
Ryan’s mother Rose Kazungu Tsofa could not hide her joy following the efforts by the military to ensure her fourth-born joins secondary school.
“I am more than happy for the KDF to lend a hand in ensuring my son advances his education. The KDF soldiers have done a lot in this area. We’re enjoying security. Indeed, they are our heroes,” said Ms Kazungu.
Johnson Chanzera Koi, the father of Nathaniel, also expressed gratitude for the military’s heart of mercy that has seen his sixth-born join secondary school.
“I am a father of nine. Nathaniel is the sixth-born. Their mother died of heart failure in 2018 and since then, it has been very challenging to raise these children since I have no job. I am happy that my child is among those heading to Moi Forces Academy through military assistance,” said Mr Koi.
Ms Mkuu Shelali, the aunt to Ali, expressed confidence that their child will perform even better in secondary school.
The airlifting of the students adds to the list of the many goodies that the multi-agency OAB has done for the community since its inception in September 2015.
The operation was launched with the key objective being to flush out Al-Shabaab militants believed to be hiding inside the dense Boni forest.
Just this month, the military under OAB airlifted 25 teachers and their luggage to the five schools in Boni forest and ensured the schools were reopened for learning.
The teachers are serving in Milimani, Basuba, Mangai, Mararani, and Kiangwe Primary Schools.