Back to School after 2 Years
It was a cloudy Tuesday afternoon and the time was around 2 O’clock. Bridget was going back home from school not because she had knocked off but because she was not allowed to attend classes. Her tuition had not been settled. To Bridget, this was nothing new. Tuition fees had always been a serious challenge since she commenced secondary school. One way or the other, when schools opened she was guaranteed to experience disruptions in her education.
Either Bridget would be sent back home due to outstanding tuition balances, or she would start her school term late because the fees were not paid on time.
However, this time Bridget’s stay at home was to be prolonged. Bridget’s uncle had been paying for her education because, as the girl explained, her parents “are poor and cannot afford my education”. Gradually, a new problem arose. Bridget’s uncle has 9 children and sending all of them to school was proving costly.
Bridget had no option but to drop out entirely.
She was in form 2.
With all hopes gone, Bridget returned to her parents’ home and that was the beginning of her 2-year absence from school.
“It pained me but I did not have a choice.” She said. “My worry was that without education, I couldn’t achieve my dream.” To a girl who had ambitions of pursuing a career in medicine, the situation was a big blow to her. To make matters worse, Bridget comes from a village where there is a massive number of secondary school dropouts among girls. This mostly happens since many people in the village do not have the financial capacity to pay for their education past primary school. With her future uncertain, Bridget was at risk of falling victim to the same predicament. All she could possibly do was wait and be optimistic.
Then this year, things took a dramatic turn. Bridget got wind of the news that we provide secondary school scholarships to vulnerable girls.
“I could not believe it. I realized that this could be my way out of the situation I was in.” She commented. Bridget wasted no time. She applied for a scholarship and in September, she was among the seven successful girls who received our scholarships. It was a dream come true. The good news sent cheers of joy in Bridget’s family. Her uncle was the happiest. The burden that he was shouldering, had been lifted. The scholarship even saw Bridget moving to a quality private boarding school. This was an added bonus to her. Previously, she used to commute to school from home and this partly affected her studies. Every day she had to endure a 2-hour walk to get to school.
“I left home at 5 in the morning. I would arrive at school around 7 and went straight to class. I did not have time to rest. It was hectic.” She said. Bridget experienced the same issue when she knocked off from school. Being a female, she was expected to help with most of the domestic chores, which heavily interfered with her home studies. Now with the scholarship, Bridget will have all the time to focus on her studies without disruptions, away from the burdens of household duties and exhausting long walks to school.
She will also be provided with school materials such as textbooks as well as a monthly care package consisting groceries and essential items for her daily upkeep. We do this because we understand that lack of basic needs can negatively impact students’ performance. Besides that, it is one way of providing moral support to our scholarship beneficiaries by showing that we care for them.
Bridget is now hopeful that she will achieve her dream of becoming a doctor. The light which had switched off at the end of her tunnel is now on, shining brighter than before.
“This is where my future starts.” She smiled.