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HomeEDUCATIONThe Ageless Dream: Mother of 6 Quest for KCSE Certificate at 40

The Ageless Dream: Mother of 6 Quest for KCSE Certificate at 40

The Ageless Dream: Mother of 6 Quest for KCSE Certificate at 40

Esther Khamala, a Form Four student at Matunda Salvation Army Secondary School in the Lugari Constituency, aligns perfectly with the observation of American philosopher Walter Pitkins that life begins at age 40.

She is giving it her all every day as she prepares to take the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam, which she describes as the commencement of her self-improvement.

The Nangili, Kakamega County, mother of six who worked manual labor for 18 years to support her family feels that the O-Level certificate she hopes to obtain at age 40 will be the key to turning her life around.

After the death of her parents, she dropped out of class six at Ndalu Primary School when she was just 12 years old. The adoptive parent shied away from responsibility, abandoning the girl to her own devices.

After 18 years of struggle, Khamala enrolled in Kenbell Nangai Primary School to resume her education from where she had left off.

In 2019, she was given entry to standard 8, where she took the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam and scored 290 out of a possible 500 points, paving the way for her to enroll at Matunda Salvation Army Secondary School.

It was observed that Esther Khamala was attending an agriculture lesson at Matunda School, diligently jotting down notes while the teacher provided explanations.

Her height, approximately five feet, along with her clean-shaven head and well-fitted uniform, made it difficult to gauge that she was much older than her classmates, who were on average 18 years old until she disclosed her age.

She reveals, however, that this age disparity has generated controversies, which did not deter her from pursuing and achieving her goal of passing the KCSE.

She aspires to become a human rights activist to defend society’s most vulnerable members. Ms. Khamala reports that her first days at the faith-based school were terrible because students who were the same age as his children avoided her.

Esther Khamala explained that she had faced stigma due to her age and experience, which she acknowledged as a real challenge.

According to her, students avoided her, questioning her seriousness and suitability for being in school and interacting with them.

She mentioned that initially, nobody wanted to sit beside her. However, over time, with the support and guidance from teachers, the situation started to improve.

Gradually, many students began to accept her, and she felt embraced as part of the school community.

Ms. Khamala states that she would employ her experience and strategies to win over the affections of the young students.

She mentioned that she would sometimes bring cooked food and buy mandazi to share with her classmates.

For those who were interested in listening, she shared her story, and as a result, things started to improve. Today, they interact with her as if they were of the same age.

After experiencing rejection and oppression, including from her extended family, her primary motivation for pursuing an education is to acquire the knowledge necessary to fight for the vulnerable in society.

Ms. Khamala’s aunt on her mother’s side drove her away, claiming that their culture (in Bungoma) did not permit them to have a teenage girl reside with them.

“At that time, a male friend took me to their home with the assurance that they were wealthy and that his parents would assist me continue my studies. “Unfortunately, I became a maid and then a wife,” she laments.

“The friend impregnated me and I got my firstborn child at the age of 13 in 1994.”As fate would have it, following the birth of her fifth child in 2007, Ms. Khamala was expelled from her family in the Mudete area of Vihiga County.

According to her, her family framed her in a malicious damage case, which led to her arrest in January 2009 and ensuing three-year imprisonment at Kakamega Women’s Prison. In 2012, she would be released for absence of evidence.

Esther Khamala expressed that she believes many people endure ongoing suffering like herself due to the absence of someone to advocate for their rights.

She shared her aspiration to complete Form Four and embark on a journey to be a voice for those in need, possibly by gaining familiarity with rights laws and joining relevant groups.

It’s noteworthy that Ms. Khamala attends the same school as her fifth-born son, who is currently in Form One, having achieved approximately 348 marks in the previous year’s KCPE. Additionally, she has two other sons who are candidates in Form Four.

The two children earned a total of 378 points and were admitted to the Butula Boys school under the ‘Wings to Fly’ program, which provides financial assistance to bright but poor pupils.

Mary Luvanda, the principal of Matunda Salvation Army Secondary School, describes Khamala as a dedicated student with a promising future.

“She is a well-disciplined student who is helpful in guiding her fellow colleagues. “I find it interesting that she shares the school campus with her Form One-aged child,” she said.

The Ageless Dream: Mother of 6 Quest for KCSE Certificate at 40

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