The Form II girls are the pioneers of St. Clare Girls’ Center. They have encountered many tribulations in their lives. I will try to give you a better understanding of their story and mine, for I am one of them.
Father Riwa, a missionary from Tanzania, built St. Francis Children’s Village to help street boys in Kenya. The news of this school spread like wildfire. Many orphaned girls used to go to St. Francis to ask Father if he would sponsor them. St. Francis was only meant for boys and Father would not mix girls with boys, although he had mercy on us girls. Whenever he saw us, he only thought of how girls who have no parents were being mistreated. This encouraged him to build a girls’ school.
In 2006, Father Riwa built St. Clare Girls’ Center to help orphan girls from different tribes. We were very lucky to be sponsored since many of us lived miserable lives. We came from different backgrounds. Some had gone to school but others had not. When we met here in 2006, we all started with class one work because our Father Riwa believed that “Repetition is the mother of learning.”
The school was not yet well developed in 2006. There were no dormitories, and only a few classrooms. We came to school every morning and returned home in the evening. Our relatives who didn’t like us to study would refuse to take us to school so had to start our journey at 5:00 in the morning to reach school on time. Dangerous wild animals could attack us on our way to school in the morning, but since we were devoted to education we had to persevere. We also had no dinning hall so we used to eat our breakfast and lunch under the trees.
Some girls ran away because of these difficult struggles. They said that they were too big to start in class one. They had no faith that one day everything would fine. After running away from school, some got married had children. They wished to come back to St. Clare, but it was too late. Those of us who remained decided to cope with the situation as we believed what is says in Genesis 3:19, “By the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread till you return to the ground. For out of it you were taken, you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” We did not lose hope as we were determined to put more effort into our studies. In that one year we covered the work from class one to class four. As the days went by, we became used to the school. We were provided with everything and we even began to forget the past lives that we lived.
The second year, 2007, the dormitories were built and we started sleeping at school. The dining hall also was built and we stopped eating outside under the trees. We were very happy to be in a comfortable environment. From there we started learning two classes per year. Everyday began with Mass at five o’clock offered by Father Riwa. What a wonderful school where pupils learn, freely guided by the Word of God from the Holy Bible. The school also developed a lot because of the many friends who provided enough money.
In 2009, we sat for our final exams in primary level. Everyone was surprised when the results came out, as we all had passed with flying colors. Nobody had below three hundred marks out of five hundred. We all made it to secondary level so Father added secondary level at St Clare. As a result, we did not struggle looking for schools. We worked hard knowing that education favors only the prepared mind. We all said, “YES WE CAN. NO IS NOT AN OPTION”.
Fourteen of us passed the Form One exam and were promoted to Form Two. We refused to look backward but only forward to a bright future where we could become the future leaders of Kenya. We have different ambitions, which I hope we will attain. We are role models in our school and so we have a big responsibility, which our teachers are helping us achieve!
Purity (bottom row, fourth from the right) is a Form II (sophomore) student at St. Clare Girls’ Center in Nchiru, Kenya.