Vulnerable girl top of the class, needs school support

Rahima Nepiyara looks like any other ordinary school girl. She has a bright smile and moves around Salima Secondary School as if not weighed by the fact that she cannot afford to meet her school fees needs.

In Form One, the 14 years old is so bright, though she is sneaked into class every three of the school terms since she was selected into secondary education level, Rahima has always scored position one in her class. Beating those that enjoy all the support they can get from parents and guardians and have plenty left over.

“I want to be a pilot or a doctor,” she says, braving a smile. Her eyes darting around as she dreams on ahead. Her only problem being that her parents cannot afford to send her to school and pay her tutorial fees and meet other support like extra clothes, a smart school bag, books and all that is required of a school girl in a boarding facility.

She encourages her peers and schoolmates to put extra work into their class.

“I work hard, I am attentive in class. That is my secret to top positions and excellence in my studies,” she says, on the backdrop that she has been sent back from school every school term, twice in the first and second, and once in the third term.

Brilliant girl needs support to help her continue school
Brilliant girl needs support to help her continue school

“I still managed to attend classes by sneaking in. whenever I was sent back home I would secretly return and start to attend classes. The teachers would have forgotten that I was sent back and that I was not supposed to be in class. That is how I have done it throughout,” she revealed in a childish joking-like manner.

She says she loves school and cannot afford to stay away from classes.

“I encourage others in my situation not to give up and still work hard,” she says. “I also encourage those that are well to do to work hard in class.” Rahima attends church at Kaphilintiwa CCAP in Salima and has to pay K14, 583.33 per term for her tuition.

However, a group of workshop participants organised by the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) and Danish Church Aid (DCA) heard of her plight when they visited the Salima District’s Social Welfare Department as they attended lessons in Budget Monitoring and Expenditure Tracking in the lakeshore district.

They quickly mobilised funds from their allowances and paid for her three terms school fees arrears, much to her appreciation and disbelief. Some also gave her cash for pocket money. She has Forms two to Four to worry about her fees and upkeep now and her chances to get government bursary still stands a long way to come.

“Thank you all so much for thinking of helping me out. May God bless you all abundantly,” she said a broad smile across her face. She also promised to work hard and not be fooled by boys or peers into risky behaviour including early sexual engagements.

From Chitala area about 15 kilometres from her school, Rahima says her mother is so poor and survives on subsistence farming. Her father passed away and her mother has to look after six children, including her. Her siblings are in Standard 5, 3 and 1. She is the first born.

Netball and football both at school and back home formulates her favourite leisure activities.

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