Another one of our players was able to join secondary school this week. On Monday, I met Dorothy and her father down at the beach when their boat taxi reached Mbita from their home on Mfangano Island. We travelled together to Rongo.
Dorothy has a hearing impairment and in 2010 was able to begin attending a boarding primary school in Lambwe that is specifically for students with that disability. After struggling for many years in public schools that would make her repeat because of her performance, it was a big blessing to be in a school with others that had the same problem as her, along with teachers who understand the children and do their best to help them. The curriculum was the same as the public schools except that they learn sign language instead of Kiswahili. Dorothy really improved in her overall performance, especially her ability to speak English and read lips. She easily passed her National Exams and was invited to join Kuja Secondary School for the Deaf in Rongo, about a 1.5 hour ride from Mbita.
Kuja is one of the best schools in the country and in the region for hearing impaired students. They receive students from all over Kenya and all of East Africa. It is a very beautiful school with top notch facilities and excellent teachers. I had taken Dorothy to visit the school last year on the way to one of our tournaments to motivate her to work hard in school so that she could reach there. Ironically we ended up playing in a tournament at that very school at the end of December. The girls even spent several nights there and ate their meals there. All of that helped Dorothy feel very comfortable going to school there and helped her to fit in very quickly.
It was a pleasure to escort Dorothy and her father to school. Through well-wishers, the club was able to pay for her school fees at Kuja. The father loves her very much, but with many wives and dozens of children, his finances are stretched to the limit.
Dorothy was the 5th of our 9 students to join secondary school this year. The other four will be joining in the next few days.
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