Sunday, July 7, 2013

Eighteen year old youth

I was asked to sit down with an 18 year old the other day to encourage him to go back to school. It turned out that the Ember field officer in charge of his case had already set into motion a possible solution to the urgent problem, though not to the underlying ones.

It turns out that he dropped out of school in April - 6th grade! He was discouraged and embarassed because he was regularly caned for poor performance, and had requested that Ember help him get into another school. He'd like to finish 8th grade, which is a marker here, so that he can get into a polytechnic and study machine mechanics. He said he doesn't know what happened, he used to be a pretty good student and now he always does badly even when he tries to study. He lives with an elderly grandfather who doesn't work, so the kid does the home chores, cooking, etc., as well as trying to go to school, where they beat him. My friend Robert Barasa, who runs Ember, is looking for a way to have more regular counseling for the kids and grandparents, and mentions his concerns about PTSD, among other issues.

Imagine that he's not trying to drop out, despite being so much older than the other kids, and struggling financially, physically, and psychologically- he just wants a school where the teachers don't beat and embarass him so he can get his 8th grade diploma.

His field officer is meeting today with the head teacher of a primary with a good reputation for caring teachers.  Ember makes such a difference!

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