Form One hopefuls waste time at home in Juja as poverty bites

Monday, January 27th, 2020 00:00 | By
Joseph Kamau assists his grandmother Nancy Muthoni, gather scrap metals at their shanty home in Rurii, Juja constituency, Kiambu county. Photo/PD/James Wakahiu

Joseph Kamau’s dream of becoming a surgeon is on the verge of being shattered as he has failed to join secondary school due to lack of fees.

This is despite scoring 337 marks in the 2019 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams and getting multiple invitations to various schools, poor Kamau (16) remains at home  lives with his grandmother, a scrap metal dealer in Juja, Kiambu county.

Kamau was left with his grandparents 15 years ago after his father was jailed for life for attempted robbery with violence.

His mother abandoned her children and went underground after seeing what had befallen her husband. 

“My grandmother collects scrap metal for sale and we use the money to buy food and if nothing comes by, we just survive,” he told Scholar at their shanty home.

Kamau regrets his primary schoolmates have transited to secondary school as he continues to wallow in poverty at home.

Nancy Gathoni, the grandmother said she has brought up Kamau and his younger sister through thick and thin. Occasionally, the family skips meals. 


The family is desperately seeking financial assistance to have Kamau join secondary school to chase his dreams. “I have brought up the two kids through sheer poverty,” said Gathoni.

Less than 500 metres from their shack lives Ian Kimuhu who schooled at Thiririka Primary School in Juja and managed 303 marks in 2019 KCPE exam.  He too is still at home. 

The family rents a single-roomed house. “I have no money to take Kimuhu to school as I abandoned my green grocery business to concentrate with my baby born at the same time as the KCPE results were released,” says Beatrice Wambui, his mother.

In our mission to explore more desperate cases in Juja, another crying woman emerges-less than one kilometre from Kimuhu’s home.

Kellen Mwendwa, a mother of five who survives on casual works such as washing clothes for villagers tells a story of absolute desperation and pure hopelessness.. here, few will join Form One.

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