Hostile uncle confiscate documents wanting her to drop out and care for aging grandma
On Saturday February 18, 2023, Nelson Okello, a businessman at Ahindi Gardens in Siaya town met a girl named Effy Atieno, 16.
Although it was on this date that he talked to her, Okello said that he had been seeing Effy come and sit on the benches in the garden for some time.
“The lonely girl appeared lost in thought, hungry, and stranded. I probed her and learnt that she needed help really quick,” Okello says.
Okello says that he wore the shoe of a Good Samaritan, bought her launch and decided to champion her course.
“Owing to the circumstances that I found her, I should say that I picked a lost girl,” Okello said.
Effy, a total orphan, had sat for the 2022 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exams at Ragengni Primary School in Uyoma, Rarieda Sub County and scored 319 marks but was yet to join Form 1.
She has been invited by four different schools to join their form one class. The schools are Sega Girls, Nyakongo Girls, Ragengni Girls and Ndigwa Mixed Secondary schools.
“She told me that she was determined to proceed with her education and needed a job as a maid to raise school fees,” Okello reported to the Star.
Another problem was that Effy’s paternal uncle had confiscated her vital documents like KCPE result slip, leaving certificate, parents’ death certificates and her own birth certificate.
With the documents missing, Effy could not convince anyone to offer her financial assistance to join Form 1.
Okello engaged the Siaya County Education officer on February 23, 2023 who called the police to go compel the uncle, who lives in Segere in the outskirts of Siaya town, into surrendering the vital documents.
Villagers know the uncle, John Ogutu, as a hostile character. Ogutu’s ex-wife Lilian Atieno, asserts that Ogutu is a hostile man who has been to prison and back.
Police forced him to surrender the documents but he still withheld Effy’s result slip, saying that he didn’t know where it was.
“Following his questioning by the police, we discovered that Ogutu wanted Effie to drop out of school to take care of his aging mother (Effy’s paternal grandmother),” Okello recounted.
Ogutu claimed that he had arranged for Effy to join Segere Secondary School in the neighborhood but he became cagey when asked to show evidence that he had bought any schooling items or paid fees.
The Star asked Ogutu why he wanted Effie to drop out to take care of his mother but he only said that “I have done a lot to ensure that she joins Segere”.
“The police probed him and there is nothing that Ogutu has done to help Effie join Form 1. He couldn’t show us the uniform that he claimed he had bought; he also did not have evidence of fee payment,” Okello said.
To study at Ragengni, Effy lived with her maternal aunt in Uyoma.
“As soon as I finished Class 8, my aunt said that she had helped me enough and its time I traced my ‘hostile’ uncle to pay for my secondary education,” Effy told the Star as tears rolled down her cheeks.
Effy is currently sojourning at Lilian’s place in Awelo, Siaya town. Lilian is Ogutu’s ex-wife.
Lilian said that he earns her income by doing laundry and equally has Effy’s agemate who is also stranded on how to join Form 1.
“They do cry a lot whenever the two meet in my rented house. That is why Effy avoids the house and ends up walking up and down in Siaya town,” Lilian said.
Lilian’s daughter scored 246 marks in the 2022 KCPE.
My ex-husband called and threatened of unspecified consequences should Effie find education sponsorship and not ther daughter who scored 246 marks, Lilian told the Star.
Lilian recalls that Effy’s mum died when she had not started schooling and her father would follow when she was in Class 4.
“I never saw my mother and my father died when I was very young. I have lived with relatives and it has been trouble after trouble,” said the distraught Effy.
Due to her orphan-hood, she lived in different places and ended up studying in five different schools for the far she has come.
The schools are a nursery in Baba Dogo in Nairobi, Segere Primary for her Classes 1-5, Malele (Class Six), Siriwo (Class Six) and Ragengni (Class 6-8).
She had to live Malele to Siriwo following the death of her maternal grandmother, a matter that saw her repeat Class Six.
At the onset of Corona Virus pandemic in 2019, Effie was 13 years old but she worked as a maid in Boro in the outskirts of Siaya town.
Her employer paid her Ksh3000 for two months which she used to buy essentials like sanitary pads, clothing, food and pocket money.
Effy is calling on well-wishers and even political leaders to finance her secondary education so as to attain her life’s dream of becoming a news anchor.
The deputy head teacher of Ragengni primary School Millicent Odhiambo confirmed to the Star that Effy studied in the School and attained the said marks.
“It is sad to hear about her plight. Effy was an outspoken and focused pupil,” Odhiambo told the Star over the phone.
The school Leaving Certificate describes Effy as “a very disciplined, hardworking and principled girl who participated in volleyball up to sub-county level”.
I am a small businessman and I have done what was within my ability. I call upon well-wishers to help Effie, Okello urged.