A family in Uasin Gishu is in distress after their son allegedly took his own life while studying in Finland.
Rodgers Kipruto, who was pursuing a degree in nursing under the Uasin Gishu County program, reportedly committed suicide in his room on Tuesday, April 18, 2023.
Kipruto's family has linked the tragic death of their kin to frustration linked to the controversial study programme that has seen hundreds of students from Uasin Gishu County discontinued due to delayed remittance of school fees.
The 26-year-old was a student at Laurea University Tikkurila campus, which reportedly halted studies for the Kenyan students and threatened to deport them over fee arrears.
The university had entered into an arrangement with the County Government of Uasin Gishu to send local students abroad for further studies. Successful candidates were promised stable employment upon completion of their studies.
Parents of the beneficiaries were required to remit fees through a county government account but the programme faced headwinds following claims of corruption and diversion of money meant to pay fees for the students.
According to Kipruto's father Jonathan Kosgei, the stand-off left his son stranded and depressed in a foreign land, having quit his job in Kenya in the hope of landing greener pastures abroad.
The ambitious young man worked as a nurse at Nakuru Level 5 Hospital before quitting to enrol for the programme.
“My son had a better job working as a nurse aide in Kenya. He regretted going to Finland," Kosgei told Nation.Africa.
“At some point, my son said he had a better job while in Kenya, working as a nurse aid at Nakuru Level 5 Hospital, and Mediheal Hospital and Fertility Centre in Nakuru. He regretted going to Finland."
The deceased's elder brother, Boniface Kemboi, said despite receiving some support from family and friends in Kenya, Kipruto was frustrated due to the high expectations he held when he travelled abroad.
“My brother led a frustrated life after Laurea University terminated their studies in March after completing his first semester. Although he received support from Kenyan friends at the university and family at home, he was at his lowest point due to the high expectations he held when he joined the university,” Kemboi divulged.
Before his untimely death, Kemboi said, his brother relied on menial jobs for his upkeep. He also received support from the Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) church in Finland where he was a member.
“It took time before we realized that our brother was suffering from severe depression in the foreign land. It is only after he shared a number of a family member with his friend Daniel from Elgeyo Marakwet that he confided in us what was going on,” Kemboi said adding that his brother was paid about Ksh60,000 from his job as a cleaner
After learning about Kipruto's struggles, the family managed to raise Ksh50,000 for his upkeep in Finland. The money was sent in instalments of 20,000 and 30,000 between January and February.
Kemboi disclosed that he last spoke with his brother on Tuesday morning and his main worry was how his struggling parents would raise his tuition fees.
“It was only on Tuesday morning when I last, talked with him, but he complained that he was feeling unwell. He was feeling fatigued and had pain in the joints. He later sought medical attention at a nearby health facility but the diagnosis did not show any ailment,” Kemboi revealed.
The family said it had settled Ksh150,000 for Kipruto's fees and was hoping to raise another Ksh500,000 by Monday to help him resume his studies.
A teary Mzee Kosgei is now pleading with families who still have their children in Finland to make plans to bring them home.
"My son died due to depression. Parents please find a way of getting your children out of Finland. I beseech, don’t wait to have your children come home in coffins,” he pleaded even as he called on the government to help him bring the body of his son home.
“I just plead with the county government to bring the body back. From there if they refuse to assist in burial experiences, the community will assist me bury him,” he added.