It is said that misery loves company and Shaherizard Hemed exemplifies this with her story that is a sad song both of trials and tribulations and the will to succeed despite the odds being stacked against her.
Born 19yrs ago in Lamu County to an Arab doctor and a Bohra secondary school teacher, Shaherizard is the 3rd born and only girl in a family of five siblings. Miss Hemed sat her KCSE exams last year at Malindi’s Tawheed Girls’ secondary school and scored a B+ though she believes she would have done better had life been a little kinder.
I ask the young girl who stands at less than five feet to tell me her story and the look on her face is enough to tell me it’s going to be a sad story.
She was born in Lamu County and she attended Stone Primary School and at the end of eight years got 300 marks in her KCPE. She believes she would have done better if her family had given her the support she needed. Being the only girl in her family, most of the household chores fell on her, with her brothers doing little to help her. During weekdays, she would wake up at 3am in the morning to clean the house and prepare breakfast for the family and still make it to school by 6am. She would return home at 12pm and prepare lunch for her father and then return to school for theafternoon classes. In the evening, she would do the laundry, prepare dinner and then try to study beforeretiring to bed.
“I blame the Swahili culture for treating the boy child better than the girl child; if my brothers knew any better I believe they would have treated me in a better way.” Says Miss Hemed.
She says she doesn’t bear any hard feelings towards her siblings and to her its all water under the bridge and the hardships she underwent in primary school actually motivated her.
“My dream was to go to a national school where I had a chance to meet people from all over the country plus I felt I needed a break from my family.” Narrates Hemed.
She did not get admission to Precious Blood high school in Nairobi, her dream school. She got a call up to Mpeketoni Secondary school, a call which instead of bringing joy to her family threatened to break it up as her parents could not agree on the school choice.
“Mpeketoni secondary being a mixed school did not go well with my father and he opposed  it vehemently while  my mother preferred it as it was c heaper,” says Miss Hemed.
The money issue threatened to get out of hand as her father had already retired as a medical doctor and her mother was the sole breadwinner and her teacher’s salary was already stretched enough trying to educate all the siblings.