Magdalene Kai is one of the oldest girls in Standard 8 at St. Bernadette Mary School. This is due to the fact that at one point in her life she had to abandon school and partake manual jobs to fend her siblings after the demise of her mother. On several occasions the father attempted to marry her off in order to raise money through dowry but Thank God it never came to fruition. Having joined St. Bernadette Mary school on January 2012, at Standard 7, Magdalene has not been performing well academically, however, as teachers we have noted her talent in athletics, scouting and singing.
Below is her true story as written by her:
“My name is Magdalene Kai am 17 years old am in class eight. We are twelve people in our family together with my father. I have five brothers and six sisters. I didn’t mention my mother because she died when I was in class five. When my mother died I stayed at home taking care of my small brothers and sisters for one year. But 2011 the neighbours complained about the issue and took me back to school. I joined Std 6 without doing the exam. I used to do some duties for people in order to get exam money, to buy uniform, shoe, oil and soap for cleaning my clothes and for my small brothers and sisters.
In Jan 2012 I was admitted in St. Bernadette Mary school. As the headteacher allowed me to join St. Bernadette Mary , I join the school on 4th January. By the time I started going to school my step-mother used to force me to go and sell mangoes and oranges in order to get the bread of the day, I used to fail going to school in some days. Everday when I go home am the one who is supposed to cook food, fetch water and firewood. When I wake up early in the morning I go to school without breakfast, my father beats me thoroughly when I forget doing some work at home. My step-mother continues to abuse me and some time she hides the food when we go for lunch at home which makes me return to school without eating lunch. There are some duties which am working but my brother are not working. This is because boys are not allowed to do anything.Its the girls who work and boys stay idle in the house.
My father and my step-mother use to welcome old people at our house and when they come my mother used to tell me to go and sit with them and they ask me if I can be one of their wives. That led me to start crying and remembered my mother who died. My father would abuse me and tell me to go where I want and will not look for me even if I will for go forever.
But here in this school teacher are not disappointing. They are encouraging me in working hard. My life has become different because I get free uniform, shoes, socks and books even free education. So I am happy in this school when you compare with Mtepeni public school.
My message is that my God give you a very long life and his blessings be on you and give strength and health.
Finally I ask you to help me in order to succed in my life also to change my family and to help some people as you do. I am good in singing and athletics. I was asking for someone who can asist me to improve my skills.
Thank you and my God bless you”.