A 15-year-old girl from Tharaka Constituency in Tharaka Nithi County Monday shocked many after walking for more than 50 kilometres to seek Form One admission at Marimanti Girls’ High School.
Marisela Muthoni, who comes from a humble family, and who scored 301 marks in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination left her home in Gaceuni village in Tharaka North sub-county at 5am and arrived at the school in Tharaka South sub-county at 2pm.
Dressed in her Gaceuni Primary School uniform, the exhausted girl arrived at the school with the admission letter, but without any shopping or fees.
She told the school administration that her sickly mother and relatives could not afford to pay her school fees and that she had not found anyone to support her.
Speaking to the media, Muthoni said she had not eaten anything since morning and the previous night, the family went to bed hungry.
She had to stop several times on the way to the school to rest after getting too tired, but a stranger carried her on his motorbike for about five kilometres to Gatunga market.
“I decided to walk to school and appeal to the administration to allow me to study as I continued to look for a well-wisher,” said Muthoni.
She said after sitting the KCPE exam, she started looking for money for school fees but she had to use it to buy food for the family.
Twanthanju Sub-Location Assistant Chief Gitonga Gatwiku confirmed that the girl comes from a poor family.
“The sick mother and all the children stay in one make-shift single room and she cannot afford school fees,” said Mr Gatwiku.
He said that the young girl was being supported by her uncle, but he could not afford secondary school fees.
The school is yet to make a decision on whether or not it will admit the girl because the principal was away for the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) training at the neighbouring Tharaka Boys’ High School.
The girl requires Sh34,550 tuition fees for the whole year. She also needs uniform and other personal effects.
Many other bright but needy children who sat the KCPE exam are yet to join Form One due to lack of fees.
Antony Musembi, who scored 395 marks at Gacereni Primary School in Tharaka constituency and was invited to join Meru School, is also at home for lack of fees.
Elsie Kathina, who scored 359 at Karangare Primary School in Tharaka North sub-county, was lucky to land a scholarship at Mugunaana Secondary School.
The school administrator, Mr Livingston Ali said the girl would get full scholarship for the four years.
“The girl is very needy and we will allow her to study without paying school fees for the next four years,” said Mr Ali.