Mike Edong Ekope defied the tough conditions in the Mutaro slums in Maralal and aced the 2021 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations.
Edong scored 367 marks from Maralal DEB Primary School and was one of the top pupils among its 301 candidates.
However, the 13-year-old is worried that he may not achieve his dream of becoming a neurologist due to lack of school fees.
Edong, the firstborn in a family of five children, secured a place at Nyahururu Boys High School in Laikipia County but because he cannot raise the Sh60,000 he needs, he is unlikely to join his peers in Form One.
Every door he knocks for assistance ‘seems to be locked’, a devastated Edong told Nation.Africa.
"I am the firstborn to a single mum. My mum, who has brought us up on menial jobs, separated from my father and we moved on. But now I'm unable to join Form One due to lack of school fees. Mum is overwhelmed," said Edong.
He has resolved to do menial jobs in the streets of Maralal to help her mother feed the family as his dream of becoming a neurologist hangs in the balance.
"I have been called to join Nyahururu Boys High School, but I am not sure I will because my mum appears to have reached the end of her wits,” he said.
“She has struggled even to see me through primary school. She definitely cannot get enough money to pay for my secondary school fees. I am stranded,"
His mother Veronica Naur said she quit her marriage due to endless physical and emotional abuse from her husband. The family now lives in abject poverty.
After ending her abusive marriage, Ms Naur moved to a one-room house in the Mutaro area of Maralal and is raising her family single-handedly with her meagre earnings from odd jobs.
Her efforts to get a bursary and scholarship for her son from leading sponsors and organisations have been fruitless.
Others, including banks and insurance companies who offer scholarships, have also turned them away, saying that they are ‘not so needy’.
Ms Naur is worried that her desperate firstborn son has started developing signs of depression.
"My son is visibly stressed because all his peers are in school now. He always asks me questions that I am unable to answer."
Edong was required to report to school last Wednesday but could not do so because the family has no money. He has appealed to well-wishers to help.