Globally education is about far more than the certificates received thereafter. It’s about understanding right from wrong and having the knowledge you need to stay afloat in today’s society. It helps to develop your perspective on the world around. Education has a great social importance especially in the modern, complex industrialized societies. Philosophers of all periods, beginning with ancient stages, devoted to it a great deal of attention. However through the years there have been many social hindrances to education in Kenya. Student’s absenteeism in many rural areas in Kenya has greatly contributed to a lot of drop outs from school. Some factors attributed to this trend are; sickness, child labor, and lack of funds for school fees. Among one of these unfortunate cases is Lucy Muthoni from Chuka, Kiangondu area who for the last 2 decades has been a tea picking casual labourer in her neighborhood. Having dropped out of school for lack of school fees Lucy is not able to secure formal employment and has for long struggled to pay her children’s school fees.
Afraid that her children will follow the same path, Lucy works extra hours to ensure she has overtime pay for small school savings to pay fees for her kids. As we engage her in the interview we are quick to note that her story changed for the better in the last 4years. Curious to know the difference in the consistency of her savings, in a focused tone she smiles and explains, ”Faida za kuwa na jiko ambalo halitumii kuni nyingi ni kuwa, niko na wakati mwingi wa kufanya kazi na kupata mapato nyongeza.Hii inanisaidia kuweka akiba kwa chama na kupelekea kupata mikopo ya kulipa karo ya shule.”(The benefit of having a stove that does not use much fuel is, I have extra time to work and earn extra revenue. This helps me make small savings aiding me to obtain credit against my savings to pay school fees.
Lucy believes that education is power and by ensuring her kids get better education she will be able to break the chains of poverty that seem so strong as of now.
Further on, Lucy showers praises to advanced technology in energy saving sighting other benefits like having more time to attend to her children, less trips to the forest and better health, reduced workload by carrying lesser firewood on her back as compared to large wood-loads for 3-stone stove use. She is also able to report at work early and earn more as she is able to exceed the target kilograms of tea picked per day.
Compiled by Michael Njihia, Virginia Njeri and Moses Maina