How two boys who excelled in KCPE are scavenging dumpsites to raise fees

David and Mark are homeless and scored 380 and 338 marks respectively

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Kachok_Kisumu
A man carries away sorted garbage from Kachok dumpsite. PHOTO: NMG

Two street children defied all odds and passed with flying colours in this year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education but the future seems bleak for they lack the means to join their dream schools when their colleague report next year.

Ochieng_Mark_Kisumu
David Ochieng’ (left) and Mark Vincent, both are 14. PHOTO: DENISH OCHIENG/STANDARD

David Ochieng and Mark Vincent are Kisumu street urchins and scavenge for recyclable waste at the Kachok dumpsite, they scored 380 and 338 marks respectively.

Ochieng went to school at Manyatta Primary School while Vincent was at Central Primary School in the lakeside city. They have rummaged for recyclable waste for sale their whole life, the Standard reports.

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They two survive on the little they make from selling paper, metals, and plastics and also use the same to purchase books. If the two receive admission letters to boarding schools, their dream to a brighter future might remain just -a dream, if they are unable to raise the required fees.

The government has put the ceiling for boarders fees at Sh53,000 and includes expenses for school uniform, lunch, and boarding-related levies. Learning in day schools however will be free.

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On empty stomachs, the two overturn heaps of garbage in search of plastic waste or metal to put in the heavy sacks on their backs.

“Sometimes we make about Sh80 a day, while there are days we do not make anything,” the paper quoted Ochieng.

It doesn’t help that the dumpsite has been marked into territories by more than 100 street families which makes it difficult for the youngsters to cope.

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Vincent is an orphan and was raised by his grandfather, Cosmas Onyango, who is also homeless, and has been at the dumpsite since 1981. He taught him survival tactics at the dumpsite after Vincent’s dad who was also born at the dumpsite passed on in 2010.

The two boys attribute their success in the exam to John Orinda, the manager of the dumpsite who observed the children are hardworking and disciplined.

  • I thought it is free secondary education from next year?