By KETRA KALUNGA
OVER 30 Zambian students on government sponsorship stranded in Kenya are in limbo and have resorted to borrowing to remain in school as they have not received allowances for five months.
And their families back home have appealed to the government to intervene in the matter as most of the students were orphans and come from vulnerable households.
They have also dispelled media reports that the students were awarded bursary scholarships because they were Patriotic Front (PF) cadres and are now stranded because the party is not in government.
They said in separate interviews that contrary to media reports, the bursaries were genuinely awarded to best performing high school students.
The students were in 2018 sent by the government to study tourism and hospitality at UTALLI College in Kenya.
One of the affected students, Mr Moses Nyendwa said students who are on attachments have decided to borrow about 300 dollars each from the lecturers and fellow Kenyan students for the programme.
Mr Nyendwa explained that the lecturers and students agreed to lend them the money at no charge out of pity given the desperate situation they are in.
“We were advised by the tourism attaché, Mr Kaluwe Wasamunu to borrow money from anyone who can help and pay back when we get our allowances which we did, those on six months attachments borrowed 300 dollars and 150 dollars for those doing attachments,’’ he said.
Mr Nyendwa said the situation is desperate and needed quick intervention as some students who are not on attachments were missing lectures because they don’t have money to buy books.
He said 22 students out of the 32 have completed their studies but have not been able to return home due to lack of money to buy an air ticket.
He has on behalf of his fellow students appealed for the government’s quick intervention in the matter which has affected their studies.
‘’We are suffering and our studies are affected and we are not cadres. We were sponsored by the government. We are even in credit now because the situation is getting out of hand,’’ he said.
Mr Nyendwa’s sister, Faustina said it was hard for the family to provide financial help to her brother because they are vulnerable.
Ms Nyendwa explained that their father is dead and the mother is elderly and ailing so it was difficult for them to raise and send money for her brother’s upkeep.
Ms Bibian Tembo, mother of Emmanuel Tembo, appealed to the government to buy air tickets for those who have completed studies and provide allowances for students who are still in college. Of the 32 stranded students, 13 are female while 19 are men studying a three-year course in hotel and tourism management and 18-month-long course in food production, food and beverage, tour guide and tour operator.
Those on the 18-month course are expected to complete in April this year and those doing the three-year course in hotel and tourism management would graduate in 2023.