Every year, the craggy terrain with low temperatures that is Sebei, ranks among the poor performing regions in the country’s national exams, right from primary to secondary school levels.
Hundreds of these disadvantaged children in outlying settlements, who face insurmountable odds, do not go far with their education, unlike their counterparts in urban settings.
There are many reports of these children dropping out of school because of lack of fees or because of cultural hesitancy to educate the girl-child who also faces female genital mutilation, with early marriages compounding the already painful story.
Because of rural poverty, the children suffer malnutrition and also lack basic needs to keep them at school. They too are oftentimes kept busy doing domestic work at the expense of going to school. They wake up early enough to help out to fetch water and graze animals before going to school. This exhausts them and barely concentrates when they arrive at school.
Many parts of the mountainous and cold Sebei are also hard to reach, making it difficult to attract and retain teachers there. Similarly, physical distances between schools and settlements force the learners to arrive late for studies or stay away altogether and finally drop out of school.
Even worse, some of the accessible rural schools have poor infrastructure and lack learning and instructional materials.
Mindful of such rural hardships, the Joshua Cheptegei Development Foundation and its annual Christmas Run are compelled to identify and sponsor at least three talented athletes to give better schooling and sports career opportunities at the Mountain Nursery and Primary School, which is owned by Cheptegei.
So far, this gesture has touched several lives across our communities and have more than 50 pupils, including those identified during our community drives, benefitting from the bursary scheme in the last two years ago.