As Equity Bank announces “Wings to Fly” scholarship beneficiaries today in an event being presided over by President Uhuru, a little girl in Borabu Constituency, Nyamira County has seen her hope of joining a national school dashed by the confluence of corporate wars and her family background.
Naomi Kerubo, 13, is daughter to Joshua Oigara’s twin brother. Joshua Oigara is the CEO of Kenya Commercial Bank. His brother, Kerubo’s father, is a poor man.
And Oigara is not his brother’s keeper, though legend has it that he is a practicing Christian.
Wings to Fly, according to this website, was designed to give hope to academically gifted students born in the misfortune of penury.
It is possible that you can be born in an island of poverty amidst a sea of opulence. It is also possible that though poor, you can give birth, and your offspring can turn out to be academically gifted. Naomi Kerubo is one such rare case.
Whatever the choices Oigara’s brother made; those can’t be blamed on the young girl.
Perhaps, it is the sorry situation of her father that motivated her to work hard and excel at school. No doubt she is brilliant. Having sat her KCPE under “Matiangi Reforms” package, her KCPE score, only three points shy of 400 marks, reflects her intellectual ability.
She received admission to join a national girls school. She applied for scholarship.
Perhaps, it is her observation of their family, to which Joshua Oigara belongs, that saw her apply to Equity Bank’s Wings to Fly programme, not KCB’s High School Scholarship programme, presided by her uncle Oigara, which also offers thousands of scholarships annually.
When Equity Bank supervisors visited her in their modest house in Tindereti village, a hilly outpost in Borabu constituency which does not show any signs of Oigara’s millions in kind or cash, little did she know that her poverty would be extrapolated on Oigara’s sh8 million a month salary.
Yet that’s exactly what happened.
Kerubo is suffering from the double jeopardy of being the niece to a [selfish] millionaire banker and daughter to a poor man with wealthy brother. Terrible.
Since 2011, “Wings to Fly” has been the premier Equity Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSO) initiative; and has seen thousands of students access secondary education. It is being carried out in partnership with the MasterCard Foundation and several other global entities.
In 2015, it was graced by Bill Clinton, a former US President.
“Education”, Horace Mann observed in the 1880s, “beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance-wheel of the social machinery”.
Education is the great equalizer. “It does better than to disarm the poor of their hostility toward the rich: it prevents being poor,” Mann observed.
Equity Bank has denied Kerubo scholarship based on only one score – that she is niece to Joshua Oigara!
Joshua Oigara is not his brother’s keeper and Equity Bank can do better.
Dr. James Mwangi this is discrimination.
The fact of birth and filial relation is a curse to Kerubo. Perhaps, if she didn’t come from the “Oigara family”, she would today be among the beneficiaries because Equity’s scholarship programme benefits” academically gifted yet economically and socially marginalized young Kenyans”.
Who better fits this bill than Kerubo?
Dikembe Disembe blogs on politics, ethnicity and higher education.