By Waweru Wairimu
Boru Hussein, a fourth-year economics student at the University of Nairobi, who hails from Wabera Ward in Isiolo County, has been on and off school due to lack of fees and almost gave up on his studies.
With no one to support his education, Hussein was forced to defer his studies for two academic years and resorted to doing casual jobs to raise fees while also relying on friends and well-wishers for other expenses.
When schools were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Hussein sought casual jobs in Isiolo but with no success, this dimming his hopes of completing his course.
But it was a reprieve for him after he was listed among the 70 students in universities and colleges who will benefit from the Isiolo North National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) bursaries.
“It is the first bursary I have benefited from. I have been relying on friends and well-wishers and it has taken me six years to complete my course. I am so happy as I am in my final year,” Hussein said after receiving a Sh20,000 cheque from Isiolo North MP Hassan Odha.
Not allowed to sit exams
Another beneficiary, Gumato Jirmo, who is studying for a degree in project management at the same university, and who was not allowed to sit her exams due to fee arrears, said the bursary is a huge relief as her parents were not in a position to raise the money.
“I am hopeful they will allow me to sit the exams in January as I will have cleared the arrears,” she said.
Out of the 70 students, 30 are orphans from across the seven wards in the constituency.
Speaking while distributing Sh1.4 million in bursaries at Isiolo Boys’ High School, Mr Odha reiterated his commitment towards supporting the education of the needy and vulnerable students so that they escape the yoke of poverty.
He said that through NG-CDF, his office has supported 300 students in tertiary institutions and middle level colleges and provided full scholarships to those at the Kenya Medical Training College.
“I am committed to ensuring each coin from my bursary fund goes towards assisting the learners in need,” said Mr Odha.
To reach out to all needy students across his constituency, the NG-CDF office is now using leaders of student associations and religious leaders to verify the applicants’ details.
“Besides using the student leaders, we are doing due diligence by involving religious leaders at the village level for verification of the information before beneficiaries are shortlisted,” he noted.
The legislator appealed to the learners to work hard towards attaining good grades to help them land better opportunities once they complete their studies.
He promised the students that they will get additional funds once his office receives money for the current financial year.
Isiolo County Director of Education Hussein Koriyow said the MP’s bursary support has helped increase the number of students pursuing various courses in universities.
But Dr Koriyow lamented over the low transition from secondary schools to universities, saying that only two per cent of Form Four candidates proceed to tertiary institutions.
“We had 60 students going to university last year and the numbers will increase next year,” said Dr Koriyow.
The Isiolo North MP told off his critics who have been claiming that most of the bursary beneficiaries were ghost students and asked the learners to defend themselves.
“I am counting on you; do not stay silent for the ill-intentioned people to have their way, it takes the majority of us to remain silent,” the MP told the students.