Pastoralists in call for establishment of students’ fund

Thursday, January 28th, 2021 00:00 |
Children from nomadic communities face significant challenges in accessing quality education and are often left behind. Photo/PD/COURTESY

Wycliffe Kipsang @wsang08

Thousands of learners from the bandit prone counties in the North Rift risk dropping out of schools due to rampant attacks which have seen their parents lose their livestock, a major source of livelihood in the region. 

Pastoralists from the rustling prone region are now calling on the government to set up a special fund to ensure that children continue with their studies.

Many residents from the region who spoke to People Daily yesterday narrated how banditry has completely shattered their dreams after they lost all their livestock to armed bandits.

Hundreds of students in Turkana, Elgeyo-Marakwet and Baringo counties now risk dropping out of learning institutions  due to lack of fees after their parents lost all their livestock. 

 “The lives of these students have completely been destroyed. It is only fair that the government settles their fees for them to continue with their studies,” said David Kimunyan, a youth leader from Arabal area in Baringo county. 

Mary Komen, 25, from Arabal area in Baringo South sub-county, a third year student at the University of Eldoret (UoE) is just among several students in the region staring at a bleak future.

“My family had hundreds of livestock which we were assured of a good education but we have now been reduced to paupers after the animals were wiped out by armed raiders from a neighboring community,” said soft-spoken Mary who wants to be a teacher.

Due to frustration of losing life treasures, her aging father has developed a mental problem.

The family has lost three of their relatives to armed bandits, the latest being in February last year where Johana Chepkwony was shot dead on his way home.

Mary who is studying education is now at risk of not clearing her education due to ballooning fees arrears, which is now stand at Sh277, 530.

“I was hopeful of clearing my studies to assist my eight siblings none of whom has gone to school.

But if the situation continues like this I will soon join them at home, “said the student who is currently being accommodated by a relative in Eldoret.

A spot check by People Daily recently revealed that many villages in the area are deserted after many families fled their homes fearing for their lives. At least 200 students in Arabal location alone risk dropping out of college.

According to Baringo Knut Executive Secretary Joshua Cheptarus, the series of attacks  in the volatile areas of the county has led to the disruption of learning in more than 38 primary schools with a population of more than 37,000 leaners in the cattle rustling prone areas of Baringo South and Baringo North sub-counties.

Cheptarus said that many parents in the area have been rendered paupers after the raiders wiped out their livestock, which was a major source of livelihood.

The Knut official cited the worst hit schools in Baringo North as  Chepkewel,  Kalabata, Yatia, Sibilo, Kapturo, Chemindany, Tilingwo, Kagir, Ng’aratuko, Kosile, Rormoch, Chepkesin, Kamwetio, Chepkew, Barketiew and Moinonin while those worst hit in Baringo South include

Arabal, Ruggus, Mukutani, Kasiela, Chebinyiny, Chemorongion, Ng’elecha, Sinoni, Nyimbei, Tuiyotich  and Kapindasum.

It also emerged that some schools will require reconstruction after the bandits vandalised them and stole some equipment including iron sheets and solar panels.

The armed bandits have now resorted to torching of deserted houses and vandalising of school property such as solar panels and boreholes in the area.

The government has since rolled out a massive operation to flush out bandits wreaking havoc in the area.

The situation has been worsened by the brutal murder of a senior Teachers Service Commission (TSC) officer and other five people whose bullet-riddled bodies were found dumped at Arabal in Baringo South sub-county. 

This has forced teachers to flee the region fearing for their lives paralyzing learning in more than 10 schools. 

The deceased Paul Kosgei who was the Tiaty Sub-county Human Resource Officer and five others were abducted at a local club in Chemolingot around 6pm on Tuesday evening and their bodies later found dumped. 

Some of the schools where learning has been  grounded include: Nginy’ang, Chemolingot, Cheptunoiyo, Nalegat, Chesirimnyon, Kositei,  Komolion and Chepkalacha primary schools. 

Others are: Kapedo Mixed secondary and Kapedo mixed primary school. 

Teachers who spoke to People Daily yesterday vowed not to go back to their work stations until they are assured of their safety  even as they accuse the Ministry for doing little to address their plight. 

“The Ministry has been silent despite our colleague being killed in cold blood. We fear for our safety serving in this region,”said a teacher who preferred anonymity.

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