Whenever kids have the chance to be in the spotlight, they grace it with zeal and leave an indelible mark in the heart of the audience.
By displaying different emotions or characters, whether be it that they cry, or laugh or entertain, they usually tell their stories without fear and shame.
In 2019, several kids had Kenyans talking, either from their stories or their extraordinary talents. The kids mentioned in this feature are set to strike your memory to recall what a year they made 2019 to be.
- Esther Amimo Anyanzwa and Salome Njeri
These two were students of renowned teacher, Brother Peter Tabichi at Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School, Nakuru County.
In May 2019, they bagged the UN Sustainable Development Goal Award at the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Phoenix Arizona. They were also rewarded Ksh 200,000 as prize money.
The girls created a noble device to help the visually impaired and deaf learners do mathematics.
The two girls who reportedly used to walk a distance of up to 7Km to school on a daily basis beat nearly 2,000 student scientists from more than 80 countries, regions, and territories to the prestigious award.
- Wendy Waeni
The 14-year-old gymnast’s allegations on how her manager Joe Mwangi had swindled off her fortune attracted the interest of DCI and Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr.
During a JK Live show on Citizen TV in August 2019, Waeni painfully recalled how her ability had taken her around the world, performing for global leaders like presidents Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), John Mahama (Ghana Rtd), as well as Chancellor of Germany, Angela Markel, but was still condemned to a life of struggle, after the said manager failed to share proceeds from her shows.
Mwangi, however, refuted all allegations, heaping blame on Waeni’s single mother. He was arrested and later released.
The mother, Magdaline Syombua, contradicted her claims about her daughter’s former manager, admitting having received some money from Mwangi.
- Consolata Schoolboy
The Class Four pupil astounded Kenyans after his video in which he had threatened a classmate went viral.
In September 2019, the Consolata School, Nairobi, pupil initiated a national debate over parenting, after he posted the video on his Instagram page.
He had also hurled obscenities at a classmate (a girl) whom he claimed had allegedly dubbed him to be gay.
The pupil later deleted the video as the girl’s father stated that he had reached out to the young boy to solve the issue.
“This boy needs a lot of help. He is struggling. Fellow Kenyans let’s say no to Cyber Bullying. This kid needs Love, guidance and counselling psychology,” Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko posted on his Facebook page.
KFCB Ezekiel Mutua explained that the parents of the child reached out to him to aid them in solving the issue. He disclosed that the class seven pupil and his cousin underwent counselling which aided them on how to deal with their emotions.
- Bianca Wambui
13-year-old Bianca Wambui shared her plight on Citizen TV in August 2019, narrating a heartbreaking story of how she was fighting breast cancer.
Wambui, who was speaking to Jeff Koinange, touched the hearts of many Kenyans with her when she recalled how she dropped out of school after undergoing an operation to remove one of her breasts.
She also disclosed how she was traumatised and stigmatised by her fellow pupils after they mocked her.
After revealing the financial struggles she was undergoing, due to the high costs of treating the life-threatening ailment, Koinange shared a pay bill number to help raise funds for her cancer treatment.
One hour later, the amount contributed had hit Ksh 2,442,500.
- Joseph Ndegwa Ngari
Ngari, an 11-year-old student from Narok, entertained Kenyans with his near-perfect imitation of award-winning journalist Jeff Koinange.
In November 2019, Ngari’s video went viral as he imitated his idol’s eloquence, verbalization, intonation, diction, posture and profession.
Dubbed mini-Jeff Koinange, Ngari’s dream came true as he met the anchor and blended with him in airing news on Citizen TV.
“Welcome to Citizen TV my name is Jeff Koinange, remember to tweet @KoinangeJeff and the hashtag is always JKLive and JKLive begins right now, here, ‘taanight’ on JKLive,” Ndegwa introduced while holding Koinange’s signature cup of chocolate.
- Jackline Chepng’eno
In September 2019, the 14-year-old committed suicide after being shamed by her teacher for having her period.
Chepngeno is reported to have hung herself after being shamed by her English teacher, Jennifer Chemutai, for staining her clothes.
The class six pupil at Kabiangek Primary School in Konoin Constituency found herself in a predicament after her periods began while she was in class. He mother alleged that she had nothing to use to cover herself.
Ironically, in a 42-page preliminary report by the Teacher’s Service Commission (TSC), it was revealed that on the day the 14-year-old girl killed herself, there were 77 packets of sanitary pads in the store of the school.
The incident attracted the wrath of many parents and legislators such as Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris, who urged Education CS George Magoha to act.
“We had a candid discussion about sanitary towels, the little girl who died, and the investigation that ensued. We need to make it so that girls aren’t ashamed of their periods, and I don’t think we’ve won that battle yet,” Passaris stated as quoted by The Guardian.
On May 28, 2019, which is commemorated the world over as the Menstrual Hygiene Day (MHD), celebrated media personality Janet Mbugua, who is also a menstrual hygiene management advocate, petitioned the National Assembly to expand the scope of menstrual health management among Kenya’s female population.
“It leaves out girls who aren’t enrolled in school, low-income women, women with disabilities, those enrolled in detention facilities and refugees, who also need this support. It also doesn’t state how the government intends to give out the sanitary pads,” Mbugua had lamented.
On Thursday, November 21, 2019, a Cabinet meeting chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta approved the National Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) Policy, aimed at scaling up the management of menstrual hygiene in the country.