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Back to class at 33

Joining Form One at the age of 33  and after staying away from formal learning for over 12 years is not a walk in the park  as Evelyn Adhiambo, a mother to a seven-year-old girl, confessed.

Adhiambo’s daughter is currently in Standard One at Nyadhi Primary School in Siaya County.

Thanks to Mama Sarah Obama Foundation in partnership with Safe Guard Orphans and Widows Organisation (SOWO) whose patron is US President Barrack Obama's grandmother, Sarah, Adhiambo was able to  enrol for secondary school despite her advanced age.

She is currently a Form One student at Rang’ala Girls High School in Ugunja District, an institution which has produced some of the best brains in the academic sphere.

She vividly recalls how her life was shuttered after the sudden death of her father and mother in September and November 2001 respectively after she had just sat for her KCPE in 2000.

Having obtained 429 marks out of the possible 700 marks and ironically receiving admission at Rang’ala Girls High School, her dreams came to a sudden halt.

“I gave up on advancing to the next level since my bread winners were no more,” she recalls.

Adhiambo who is the third born in a family of eight confesses that the death of their parents saw them turn into paupers.

She adds that after more than two years at the village doing manual chores, her aunt enrolled her for a tailoring course at Ndere Polytechnic in 2003 where she excelled before dropping out due to lack of fees.

Adhiambo says she did not despair but used her meager resources she had saved to start a second hand cloth business commonly referred to “Mitumba” which did not bring good returns.

As saying goes misfortunes never come single, in 2006 Adhiambo dropped the Mitumba business and started a tailoring one with the little experience she had acquired at the polytechnic.

Unfortunately in the same year, she got pregnant but the man disowned her.   

Life became unbearable for her and the baby given that she had no source of income since what she had saved from the tailoring business was consumed during the delivery process.

As fate dictates, during her frequent errands searching for a job, she bumped into Mama Sarah Obama when the granny graced an occasion at Nyadhi rural village, where Obama Foundation was building a permanent house to a widow.

Adhiambo gathered confidence and approached Mama Sarah whom she engaged in a hearty conversation about her suffering and quest to finish her education.

Mama Sarah was touched and recommended her enrollment into the Foundation.

Speaking to Education watch, the granny said her Foundation which supports over 200 orphans, widows and other vulnerable members of society took Adhiambo’s case with urgency before enrolling her at Rang’ala Girls High School.

“I was touched by her moving story and given that this Foundation aims at empowering the girl-child, we saw it appropriate to give her assistance despite the financial constrains we are facing,” added Mama Sarah.

She acknowledged that Adhiambo’s case is a true testimony of many bright girl-children whose lives and potential end up in drains due to lack of support.

Adhiambo explained with nostalgia how she managed to adapt and get  acquainted to school life, with classmates who are about 15 years her junior.

She says the first few weeks proved to be a headache in trying to mingle with her classmates until a time that she gathered courage and freely joined them in both class work and co-curricular activities.

Adhiambo who resumed the second term in high spirit excelled in first term examinations where she managed to secure position 5 out of 75 and position 270 out of 449 overall attracting a B-(Minus) mean grade.

Her dream is becoming a lawyer.



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