Minors from a village in Ndarugo, Juja, Kiambu County are being forced to drop out of school due to difficulties in raising school fees.
The poverty and lack of school fees have led young, promising learners to abandon education and join their parents to crush stones at local quarries to make a living.
They work from Monday to Saturday, each carrying a hammer to crush stones into gravel for pay. They are paid Ksh10 for each bucket they crush.
Maryanne Waithera is among residents who work at the local quarry with her daughter who should have joined Form One this year.
She says she took the girl to Form One after buying uniform and exercise books but was sent home to collect school fees.
She also has her other two kids out of school due to lack of money- one in Class 7 and the other in Class 8.
“The money we get can hardly meet rent and food expenses, leave alone paying school fees. With all these problems, what can I do if not take my kids to the quarries to help me get some small money? They will continue staying at home and crushing stones until I get money,” she said.
Margret Wanja is also another mother in the area who is forced to drag all four kids into the quarries to increase her income, one in Form Four, the other in Form Three and the other is yet to join Form One.
Wanja crushes 20 buckets and the kids 10, one a good day, where they get a total of Ksh300.
“I know they should be in school, but what can I do. I took them but they were sent home to collect school fees which I do not have. I have no choice but to take them to the quarry to help me look for money,” she said.
Kelvin Mburu, also among the parents accompanied by the kids to the quarry, also cites that they are left with no option other than dragging the minors to the site.
“If we left them at home, we’d worry about their safety because there’s nobody there to look after them. That is why we bring them here with us,” he noted.
He questioned why the government was focusing on free education and the 100 per cent transition rate yet did little to instruct school heads not to send learners home for school fees.
The parents are calling upon both national and county governments as well as the area MP to visit the area and intervene to save their kids’ future career dreams.
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