After Form 4, what next?

April 24, 2021

All the Form 4 students have finished their final exams and are now home. It is time to relax, eat and sleep as much as possible. The examinations naturally, cause a lot of anxiety for the students.

As we travelled to Nakuru to say our final farewells to the Form 4 class, it was with nostalgia, as we do not know if we will ever see these girls again. As much as they were excited to go home, ours was to wish them well as they ventured out into the great unknown. Many will make something good out of their lives, and there are those that will make costly mistakes.

In one of the schools, 3 girls delivered babies as they sat their exams. They had to be rushed to the hospital and sat the rest of their papers in their hospital bed.

One girl was so heavily pregnant she could not carry her metal box filled with her personal belongings on the final day. When we asked her who was helping her get home, she said her father did not want the embarrassment of being seen with his daughter, in school uniform and heavily pregnant. She said her mother does not work, so she did not have money for transport to come and pick her up. This student went home using public transport.

We were left wondering how the reception would be for that girl once she arrived at home. Yes, she had finished her Secondary Education but was also taking another mouth home to feed, in addition to the other expenses raising a baby cost.

It was with joy that we received a message from the school that some of the girls who were part of the Choice Club have formed a group outside of school and want to become peer counselors in their communities. They have learnt a lot through the Choice Club, and therefore, have the skills to empower other girls. These girls said they were saddened to see classmates that fell into reckless behavior despite all they had been taught, and those that went home pregnant. They know the need to abstain from sex until they are married or old enough to be responsible for their actions. This group of 15 girls is already making an impact, especially now that schools closed for break.

A parent’s worst nightmare, especially in Africa, is to spend hard to earn money sending a child to school and have them fall out of the school system due to pregnancy or other avoidable vices. Many parents have denied themselves a more luxurious life, so they can take care of their families. Some such family members have completely abandoned their families because they could not cope with the disappointment, especially fathers.

College education is expensive for any parent. Scholarships are hard to come by and many unfortunate students will stay home and miss out on a college education, despite doing well in their Form 4 exams. Parents will sell their domestic animals like cows and goats, sell land, and hold fundraisers so they can further their children’s education. It is very upsetting for a parent to go through all this trouble only for a girl to return home pregnant.

In Africa, the tradition is as follows: ‘When a girl is well behaved and performs well at school, she belongs to the Father.  When she is bad mannered, does not perform at school and falls pregnant, she belongs to the Mother.’ Family conflict which may lead to the parents divorcing is one of the results of girls failing to meet the parents’ expectations. The mother suffers the wrath of her daughters’ ‘failures’ and will often leave the home when physical abuse starts up against her.

With schools opening in May, we will continue with the Choice Club activities. This club has helped a lot of girls’ reform and become better citizens. We have heard stories of girls who have escaped the ‘cut’ because they are empowered enough to know what to do when they sense danger.

We wish the parents and their daughters all the best as the girls wait to join college. We hope they will be responsible citizen, grab the opportunity they have been given, and make something good out of their lives. In return, they can then help other girls in their communities.

Students celebrate after finishing their Form 4 exams.

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