Kenya: Where Pupils Will Be Competing for Space With Chicken

Joseph Maina converted his school into a chicken farm after the government directed that all schools be closed following the Covid-19 outbreak.
10 October 2020

As schools reopen on Monday, the owner of Mwea Brethren Primary School in Kirinyaga County says he is not ready yet to phase out chicken farming to accommodate pupils.

Mr Joseph Maina converted his school into a chicken farm after the government directed that all schools be closed following the Covid-19 outbreak.

Classrooms were turned into chicken coops and now he has more than 5,000 chickens.

While Mr Maina said he was prepared to receive the pupils, said they would have to co-exist with the chickens, unless the government assisted him with funds to create more space for the learners.

"All the classrooms are full of chickens, which are yet to mature for sale. I can't sacrifice my farming and the pupils may have to compete for the available space with the chickens, which I expect to give me enough money to meet my financial obligations," Mr Maina added.

He noted that when the government declared all schools closed following an outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, he was caught by surprise and he had to quickly think of another way of making money for survival

"I used to generate money from fees paid by parents and the closure of my school threw me into a financial crisis and I had to think very fast lest I suffer," he said.

Mr Maina , who doubles as a pastor, said, "We will not turn away the pupils but they have to share classrooms with chickens since we have no alternative site for them."

When the government issued the order to close schools, Mr Maina thought the problem caused by the pandemic would not last long.

However, he started struggling to pay bills after two months.

" I became broke after I continued paying teachers. I had to find an alternative way to raise funds," he explained.

" I used to fork out Sh360,000 in salaries for teachers and other workers but now I can't afford it. I had to lay off all the workers as I was in a financial crisis," he said.

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