The Bajuni community in Pate village in Lamu East is upbeat that the recent opening of the first ever girls' secondary school in the region will improve the welfare of girls in the area.
On December 18, 2018, Deputy President William Ruto, accompanied by other Coast leaders opened Pate Girls High School which was built through the National Government Constituency Development Fund at a cost of Sh10 million.
The education of girls in Pate Island and Lamu East region is still very low as the community has not been promoting it.
Most girls in the region have been studying up to Class Eight and then get married shortly after.
But speaking to the Nation on Thursday, leaders, elders and locals expressed confidence that the newly opened Pate Girls Secondary School will a positively impact on education as many girls are expected to join the institution.
Lamu Woman Representative Ruweida Obbo called on parents to take advantage of the presence of the school and send their girls there saying this will help uplift the community and end poverty.
"The education of the girl child is still low in Lamu. Parents should be at the forefront in campaigning for their girls to access education. Today, we have the first ever girls high school [in Pate]. Let's take advantage of the presence of such an institution to send as many girls as possible to that school and many others in the country. You should understand that if you educate a girl, you are educating the entire community," said Mrs Obbo.
She pledged to push the county government to ensure girls from vulnerable communities are given the first priority in bursary allocations and any other forms of sponsorship.
Ms Obbo said her office will continue to support the girls in all ways possible.
"We have been providing sanitary towels to all girls across Lamu. The programme is still on. All this is done to ensure our girls attend classes and remain in class," said Ms Obbo.
Pate Village headman Ahmed Abii also termed the establishment of the girls' school in as a new dawn for the community.
Mr Abii said they have done their best as elders in ensuring the community embraces education.
He lauded the county commissioner and chiefs in the area for being instrumental in changing the community's perception of the education of girls.
He said that together with local chiefs, elders have taken it upon themselves to go round the village creating awareness and encouraging residents to send their girls to school.
Pate Girls Secondary School can accommodate at least 300 students.