His mom, Evelyn Simaloi, said her son had already secured a place in class six at Namarat Academy, a private school in Kajiado County. When the school learnt of his HIV status, they called the mom to say there was no vacancy!
In the effort of exposing the school’s act of discrimination, KTN’s anchor Betty Okari, went undercover as a parent looking for admission. Surprise surprise! She was told that ‘her son’ could get a place. They got a boy to pose as her ‘son’ and sat for the same interview as Elijah. The boy was given admittance and the fee structure and told to report in two days.
Immediately after, Elijah’s mom called Mr. Odero, the school’s head, to try pleading for a place again. She was told that the class was packed.
But when KTN approached the school’s administration , the school still denied the allegations. Watch video of the exposure.
To deny a chance of learning to a boy as intelligent as Elijah, simply because of a situation he never asked for is absolutely heartless. Elijah contracted the virus through breast-feeding from his mother who was raped in 2002. In 2015, he attended a UN conference where he earned a standing ovation from world leaders, after a moving speech on the stigma caused by HIV/AIDS. Watch video above to listen to his speech.
It’s high time people understand that HIV isn’t a disability. The reasons for the school’s action may be unknown but hopefully, it would be the last one to react in such a manner.
By: Joan Rangara