girls in class at desks
Agnes (front)

Early life

Agnes is the eldest of 3 siblings. Five years ago, Agnes’ father died of kidney failure. His condition could be treated but they did not have money for the treatment. Following his death, Agnes, her mother and siblings moved in with her grandfather. Agnes’ mother helps her grandfather on the farm, but life is uncertain and harsh.

Agnes and her family are at the mercy of extreme weather conditions. They often experience severe drought and so cannot plant or harvest food, leaving them hungry. When this happens, the family only eats one meal a day and relies on the kindness of the local priest who brings them food.

The house they live in is made from mud and does not have electricity or clean running water. Heavy rains in the wet season have weakened the house and the family is forced to move up the hill in heavy rain until the water recedes.

girls sitting eating at a table
Agnes (front)

Life at school

Being able to attend primary school was a big challenge for Agnes. She had to walk for an hour and most days arrived at school without food which made her tired and unable to concentrate, even though she loves to study. Recently, the parish opened a hostel where poor students can have food and stay during school days and then they go to a government school just a few minutes’ walk away but they cannot help secondary students for free, so Agnes thought that continuing her studies would be impossible.

When the priest announced to the village that Sisters of Mary were coming to interview children interested to study at the Kisarawe school, they were so happy for a chance to apply. Agnes was accepted for Form 1 in January, 2022. She is thriving at Kisarawe Girls School, where she can study with enough food every day, all of her basic needs are met, and she has the space to learn and grow, giving her a better outlook and positive future out of poverty.