Tana River slum boy succeeds where others have failed

Ibrahim Yusuf brooding over books as watches their farm along River Tana

Yusuf Ibrahim Wario, a 14-year-old boy, and a KCPE candidate at Hatata primary school has defied the norms of his community at Mororo slums in Tana River where life is marked by irregularity and strife.

In this slum, where child labour, child marriage, and drug use often overshadow education, Yusuf stands out beneath the shade of a mango tree.

Here, he doesn’t merely read, but also diligently guards the riverine farm that sustains his family with mangos, maize, and various crops.

The candidate is determined to protect their precious harvest from wild animals like monkeys and warthogs.

“It’s like killing two birds with one stone. While I keep an eye on the crops, I steal moments to glance at my books,” Yusuf shared.

His passion for learning extends to all subjects, complemented by a keen interest in soccer.

Witnessing his remarkable ability to solve mathematical problems, Mowlid Kono, who highlighted Yusuf’s humble background, expressed his astonishment.

“Mororo is a semi-informal settlement, where reluctance to upgrade is overshadowed by ignorance and a looming poverty crisis,” Kono commented.

On weekends, Yusuf starts his day at six AM on their Daladu farm and remains there until around 6 PM.

Lunch consists of a mango or two, while he awaits the uncertain prospect of supper in the evening.

Amidst this backdrop, Mororo remains a semi-informal settlement with 12,897 residents, including about 4,398 school-age children.

Surprisingly, Hatata primary school within these slums accommodates fewer than 400 of them.

Ibrahim, grappling with books and wildlife, serves as a beacon of hope in a sea of children who are often ensnared in child labour, early marriages, or drug addiction.

In the midst of these socio-economic struggles, his determination to defy the odds stands as a poignant reminder that there is always an exception to every rule.

By Amoto Ndiewo

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