By Dennis Kipkirui
After Laikipia Rural Voices (LRV) highlighted the plight of pupils in Bondeni Primary School in Laikipia West District on 24th May 2012, help has trickled in quickly for the school. Leaders from different walks of life converged three weeks later to raise funds for the school which is located in the semi-arid areas of Kenya. On 15th June the old pupils raised Ksh.250,000 and later the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) donated a further Ksh.250,000. This saw the construction of two new permanent classrooms which are now complete.
On 26th July a further 1,050,000 was given to the school by the CDF to build more classrooms after they realized that the first donation built only two.
LRV posted a story indicating a looming disaster after heavy rains pounded the area and ripped off the roof and part of the wall. Since there was no other place where the pupils would learn, they had to study under the precariously dangling roof supported by poles. Even with that state of affairs the pupils were expected to compete equally with their colleagues who come from the affluent society.
CDF officials became proactive after reading the story from the LRV blog which had drawn attention to many people especially political aspirants from the area. With the general election being round the corner, the political class could not leave anything to chance. LRV had explicitly written that many pleas had been forwarded to CDF office to help the school but only turned a deaf ear on them. The office has however given much attention has provided full support to the school.
On their part, the old pupils gathered and raised funds to have the school build permanent classrooms. From the onset it was evident that the school had produced prominent personalities working in different sectors.
Priests came together with teachers, doctors, security officers and business merchants. Although the notice of raising funds was short, all of them spared time out of their busy schedules to come in aid of their former learning hub. Most of them pitied the state of the school and said that despite their successes they have never had a forum which brings them together to facilitate the progress of their former school. They confessed that it was a big shame for them to enjoy the fruits of their success earned through the school while turning their backs on it. They said that they would not wish to have their friends and associates know the state of their former learning institution.
They were grateful to LRV for drawing to their attention on the plight of the school. “We are thankful to Laikipia Rural Voices for informing us on this issue. I was going through the blog and saw the story. I contacted one of my former school mates, and we began calling one another and the attention grew. We then saw the need to meet in the school and see what we can do to alleviate the calamity,” said Mr. Muya, a police officer who attended the school in the 80’s.
The school was started in 1979 with 265 pupils and 6 teachers and sits in on an 8 acre piece of land. After its inception it has had its fair share of problems. It took the intervention of the then area MP Godfrey Gitahi Kariuki (famously known as GG) to have eight semi-permanent classrooms constructed which have been in use until the recent calamity hit the school.
Bondeni stakeholders have had a myriad of challenges in their quest for better education. The hostile environmental conditions in this part of the country could not allow parents to have better learning facilities for their children. They had to go through thick and thin to fend for them and had nothing to spare for the school infrastructure. Poverty has taken toll of most homesteads. As fate would have it, wild animals in the neighboring conservancies had scared off the pupils and would not turn up early enough for their lessons.
LRV acknowledges the contribution of all and sundry towards making the lives of pupils in Bondeni Primary School better.