On Monday NTV highlighted the plight of Emily Wanjiru a six year old who despite her talent in reciting poems, which took her before President Uhuru Kenyatta in the concluded drama festivals, was living in deplorable conditions in Juja’s Gachororo Slums. But Emily’s life has taken a major turnaround after officials from the office of the president paid her family a visit and committed to educating Emily and her siblings till university. Brygettes Ngana reports
6-year-old Girl who awed the president lives in squalor
And so it was for six-year-old Emily Wanjiru whose gift took her to the top of this year’s Kenya National Drama Festivals where she emerged the third best in solo verses in the Early Childhood Development category.
Her performance saw her secure a place to entertain the President and his guest at the State Lodge, Sagana, last week, where she humoured the crowd and effortlessly left them in stitches.
Those who watched the performance may know nothing of her long journey to the top. Emily lives in squalor with her grandmother in Ruiru, Kiambu County. Her mother, who once broke stones for a living, has struggled to fend for her.
The Gachororo ECD pupil performed the solo verse Mvua Hii in which a child who wets her bed wonders why it only rains in her bed and not her mother’s. The soloists wondered why it would still rain even though she keeps an umbrella open overnight.
According to Emily’s teacher, Ms Lucy Ayoyi, Emily’s mother used to work in a quarry in Juja but stopped due to ill health. Now she washes clothes for neighbours for a fee or collects empty detergent packets for sale.
The teachers says Emily often turned up for practice on an empty stomach but she had passion and did not stop going for rehearsals despite her difficulties.
Emily is nevertheless a confident little girl who almost seems oblivious of her circumstances. “I believe in one thing; when someone helps me out, God will bless them,” she said. “I trust God.”
Ms Ayoyi told the Sunday Nation that the little girl is on an ECD feeding programme and her mother has not been able to pay her schools fees since she joined baby class. The teachers have nevertheless allowed her to continue learning because she’s bright.
When the Sunday Nation traced Emily’s home in Gachororo, Juja, she was all smiles and obviously still enjoying the publicity she had received in the newspapers. This is despite living in a little house no more than 10ft by 10ft with a leaking roof.
She was in the company of grandmother Sarah Nduta, 36, her mother Elizabeth Njoki, 22, and brother Peter Kamande, who is four years.
The mother said that when Emily was celebrated on TV, there was no food at home but neighbours gave her some money.
“This was a miracle and I thanked God for that day. We managed to buy food for that day,” the grandmother adds.
Emily was born by the roadside in Gikomba in Nairobi as her mother, then a 16-year-old street girl, tried to make her way to Pumwani Maternity Hospital.
Emily’s message for President Kenyatta is simple: “Please help us with food. There are many days we sleep without.” – Nation