Mary is a student in Standard 4 North at Malindi HGM Primary school in Kilifi. She lives with her mother, brothers and sisters in the small village of Mijigo on the outskirts of Malindi town. Mijigo is a deprived area in Malindi town with poor water supply, sewerage and lacking general infrastructure. Her father passed away and she was left in the care of her mother, Elizabeth, who sells fried fish on the streets of Malindi. Her mother uses the small income from the fish business to buy food and other basic goods.
At home, Mary assists her mother with her fish business and other chores such as cooking and washing. Due to these chores, she has little time to concentrate on her homework. Mary misses school due to lack of money to pay for school fees, sickness and bad weather, such as torrential rain.
Challenges at home and in the classroom
Mary, like many other girls at her school, faces many challenges that impact her educational development - ranging from poverty at home to poor learning conditions at school. Her teacher, Madam Rebecca Mati says, “Mary has been struggling in Maths and English, scoring very low grades.” Mary’s Maths scores back-up Madam Mati’s concerns, as she was averaging a ‘D’ grade (30%-40%). Showing little interest in her studies, Mary was also struggling with English. Madam Mati attributed this lack of interest and poor results to the large numbers of students in her class, as it was not always possible to provide enough attention to Mary, and other students with similar issues.
Since the inception of the iMlango programme at her school, Mary has gained confidence in using computers for learning. She now attends school regularly to access the computer lab, and because her attendance is being captured using iMlango’s digital attendance monitoring system.
Madam Mati says, “At first she was scared of even touching a computer, but now she can do everything on her own. She has developed an interest in eLearning and she even comes to school on the weekends to learn". Learning Maths through the personal tutoring software - enabling pupils to learn at their own pace - has really helped Mary develop an interest and improve, as it targets the areas where she needs help. Mary has shown great determination, improving her Maths score by 19% - from 35% to 54% in a single term.
According to the ICT teacher, Mr Festus Chibung, she is among the best performing Maths students in the school. She has also improved her literacy through reading stories and eBooks available on the learning platform as well.
For Mary, iMlango has given her real belief that she can achieve her dream of becoming a doctor. She knows that to achieve this dream she has to do well in Maths, Science and Languages. She hopes that iMlango will continue in the school for the benefit of her and other students. “Thanks iMlango and continue to help us”, she says.