Fifth grader Sinangoa Mohamed, 12, sleeps at her desk during break time. Credit: GPE/Kelley Lynch
CREDIT: GPE/Kelley Lynch
At Mwangala Primary School in Mombasa County, Kenya 70% of the students must walk 7-10 kilometers to school. Most are from poor families and are often tired and hungry when they get to school.
Fauzia, a student in class 5, says, “Life is difficult because some days there is no food so we sleep hungry”. Asked if she had breakfast this morning, she says no. Fauzia walked an hour to be here on an empty stomach. At lunch she will walk home, eat some ugali and small fish, drink a cup of tea, and return to school. After school, and another hour’s walk home, Fauzia will walk another hour each way to fetch water, and then eat dinner, study and sleep.
“Maybe 70% of our students come here from more than 5 km away,” explains deputy head teacher Shee Omari, “so a lot of children arrive late—and they haven't had any breakfast, and they don't get lunch here. The only get food at night. Can you imagine trying to teach a child who has not eaten anything all day and has walked so far?”
Kenya has been a GPE partner since 2005 and has received more than US$200 million in GPE grants to support the provision of basic education and improvements in the quality of education. The government and its partners are making efforts to improve the education system and ensure that children like Sinangoa and Fauzia can get to school and learn.