It is interesting how students survive in campus especially now when Higher Education Loans Board ‘Helb’ loan is hard to come by. Comrades have had to explore other means of survival since most of them cannot get enough money from their parents or guardians that can keep them for a whole semester.
When you suffer, you tend to look at opportunities of getting money unlike when you are well off. Some comrades have looked at business opportunities available within the campus and some have gone ahead and engaged in such businesses.
Meet George, not his real name, who has survived by selling omena within the University of Nairobi main campus hostels. George has been doing this for the past three months since he could not be given Helb loan on time.
“Life has been like this since the day those guys at Anniversary Towers the Helb Headquarters refused with our money. I cannot just stay like this. Although selling omena to comrades can be an embarrassment, I am ready to do it for survival,”
George said his Helb portal is showing Ksh37000 that has been awarded to him, but there is nothing in his bank account.
“My Helb portal is reading 37K but that money does not exist in my account. I have pleaded with them for the past three months and all they are saying is that the money is in the account and will soon mature. For how long will I wait for this surely while I am dying of hunger,”
George said adding that he may not apply for Helb loan anymore since he cannot be given.
George is not alone. Another second year student has turned his room in UoN main campus Hall 2 hostel to be chapati making zone. Comrades always queue for chapatis every morning and night.
The student has been making chapatis for the last one month and he says he makes good profits per day since his chapos taste better than the chapatis sold in tuck shops. He makes thick and tasteful chapatis and he told Magazine Reel that he sells them at Ksh15 each, a price that is favourable to comrades.
Life in campus nowadays is not easy. Even when students receive loan, they also find it hard to utilize the money because the amount is too little. The lowest amount students could get as loan in the past four years were Ksh50000.
This amount was better than what students are getting at the moment. Most students who applied for the loan last year were given Ksh35000. This is before a deduction of 8K that is given to the university. Also, some students are paying fees for themselves. This means the Ksh35000 is just not enough.