Happy Endings also exist…

Happy endings do not only exist in fairy tales, some happen to us right here in the community. In this week’s story we major on one Abdulfaraj, a youth here in Kibera from the Nubian community who came to our offices and by the help of our paralegal Hamisi Omari was able to get his ID and now is able to access the services he was limited to.

Below is his story,

Abdulfaraj finished school like a year back he’s a very good footballer, besides from just playing football he’s a motorcycle rider. When he reached 18 he followed Omar and told him that he needed to apply for an identification card. He had all the required documents so he was told  to either come on Tuesday or Thursday to the office so that he can be accompanied to the registration office. He came on a Thursday and his documents were photocopied and  then together with Omari they went to the registration office.

When they  reached there they found the two elders and other clients who were being attended to, when Abduls’ time came he produced his original documents and the photocopies too. The elders filled the affidavit when they were done and directed him to Halisan where the affidavit was supposed to be typed. Omar  helped the elders in filling the chiefs’ letter and the list form they signed the affidavit then attached all the documents then he was sent to the chiefs office to go and get his/her sign.

His forms were signed and he came back then the elders who  gave him a security vetting date, which was supposed to happen in a months’ time. When the day came, Paralegal Omari called him  to go and check whether his name was on the vetting list. He went and luckily his name was on top, he was vetted and everything went well. He was told to return at the registration office after two day to finish his application.

He was reminded to go and finish his application, he went finished then he was issued with a waiting card and was told to go and collect his ID after a month. After three weeks, they met with Omari and he informed him, he had gotten his ID card. This was a welcomed surprise because the Ids normally come after two months. We later helped him apply for a certificate of good conduct and for a KRA pin. We expect him back to apply for a passport.

While the process is difficult, we appreciate moments where our clients have an easy time in the application of their documents. we are endeavoring to create awareness in the community on needed documents to fasten their process on the acquisition of documents.

ANOTHER WIN FOR THE WOMAN!

This week we follow up on success stories from the paralegal outreach program. The purpose of the outreach is usually to empower the community and creating awareness on matters such as citizenship, specifically registration and documentation. Article 27 of the Constitution of Kenya caters for Equality and freedom from discrimination where under sub article 2; Equality includes the full and equal enjoyment of all rights and fundamental freedom. Additionally Article 56 of the Constitution of Kenya caters for rights of minorities and marginalized group where it states that the state shall put in place actions and programs designed to ensure minorities participate and are represented in governance and other spheres of life but this is usually not the case as the process to acquire national documentation by the minority groups is frustrating and most of them just end up giving up. during outreach programs we meet a lot of individuals without documentation in the community that have the potential to change the community.

Through the outreach program, Makkah Yusuf, one of our paralegal came across Saumu who is a member of the Nubian community. Saumu Ali Abbas is a soft spoken and extremely intelligent 22yrs old lady who has been trying to apply for her ID card since she was 18yrs old. Saumu did not finish her basic education, neither did she attain tertiary education, but this does not stop her from aiming for the skies. She went to the registrations office and started her application process but she wasn’t successful. Makah bumped into her at the registrations office as she was being taken in circles and we started the whole application process all over again. The first three times she applied, her paper always ended up missing thus forcing her to re-applying again. Other times she went as far as booking for the national vetting but every time she went for vetting her name was missing on the vetting list, all this time she was tagging along with her to follow up with the registrations office. there are no explanations given to citizens on such short comings and one is expected to reapply quietly.

Along the way she got pregnant and stopped the application process for a while. Pregnancy can be challenging to juggle alongside looking documentation. After her delivery our paralegal followed up on her again so that we could continue to pursue for her document. The registrar asked for her to produce her primary leaving certificate which she didn’t have because she didn’t finish her primary education. She accompanied the client to her former primary school and explained to the headmistress her situation, she then issued us a letter stating that she schooled there but didn’t seat for her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and that she couldn’t be issued with a leaving certificate because her admission number couldn’t be found. Saumu submitted the letter to the registrar who accepted it but she asked her to take her birth certificate for verification at the civil registry. The registrar said she’s sending her because, ever since her office sent her document to the civil registry there hasn’t been any response. This is another registrations office where most of the delays was observed.

In 2020 due to the COVID19 pandemic, her process met further delay because all the government offices were closed. Some of the major challenges she faced due to lack of ID card were that she wasn’t able to apply for her child’s birth certificate since she’s a single parent. She couldn’t get the kazi mtaani job offered by government or any other kind of job, also the government and non-governmental organizations was giving small stipends to citizens during the pandemic period but she didn’t qualify due to the fact that she lacked an ID card. One time she was forced to use her sister’s ID card so as to secure a job opportunity she was successful and managed to work for some time since it was just a contract for some few months.

All this while she was still following up on her ID application in November 22nd 2020 NRF in conjunction with the Nubian Youth Council held a meeting at the Makina Mosque with about 30 youths who were experiencing challenges with their ID application. From that meeting we managed to do a collective case of all these people and followed them up with the registrations office, this is when Saumu finally got her break through and she was scheduled for a national vetting held in December 7th 2020. She attended the national vetting accompanied by her mother both their thumb prints were taken and she filled the application forms , she was then issued with her waiting card and told to go collect her document after 2 months. She finally got her Identification card and is happy that perhaps now she can make a living.

This is just another case in the pile of casers on how without a strong backing, it is hard for community members to get documented.  As the Nubian Rights Forum, we promise to continue giving a platform and a voice for the undocumented kenyan citizens who are discriminated because of their unique characteristics.

WHEN YOU NEED DOCUMENTATION TO ATTAIN EDUCATION

On 30th March 2016 morning at Nubian Rights Forum Abdullatif Abu-Bakr walked in Nubian right forum alone wanting help because he did not have a birth certificate, he was fifteen years turning sixteen he carried only a clinic card with no guardian besides him. Abdullatif was met by out paralegal Mariam Hussein. He confided in Mariam that he was sent away from school and he needed to present his birth certificate so that he could register for KCPE. When asked about his parents or guardians who would represent him in the application process, Abdullatif informed us he was raised by his grandmother, and has no idea of the whereabouts of his parents. However, he had a copy of his mother’s identification card. His quest was to apply and get a birth certificate so he can get back to his studies, and at least complete basic education.

It is not unusual to hear of incidences where, due to unavoidable circumstances, children start school late, and therefore being their application process when still in school to avoid beginning application when they are older than 23 years old when applying for an ID. For a Nubian child if one is older than 23, they have to undergo a further stage of vetting DSIC – District Security Investigative Committee, because the committee wants to find out where the individual was before vetting them. Most of the time the youth constantly fail vetting leading to them being 23 without identification cards. Abdullatif’s case was an example of such an incident.

(Chapter 4 of the Kenyan constitution acknowledges education as a basic human right for all individuals. Section 7 of the children’s act states that every child shall be entitled to  education, the provision of which shall be the responsibility of the government and the parents. No child should be denied the right to education, because of lack of a birth certificate.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To begin with we filled the application documents and attached the clinic card and the copy of identification card, however due to thew necessity of presentation of original parent or guardian documents, his case became extremely challenging. With the help of other paralegals, the team communicated with a civil registrar at Bishop House who would help the boy apply for his birth certificate. He was accompanied by our paralegal Mariam, who assisted in the process, and after three attempts, Abdullatif successfully got his birth certificate in 22nd May 2017. Having attained his birth certificate, he was able to resume school, and register for national exams

While Abdul’s case was successful, a majority of youth in the community fail to attain basic education because of lack of trivial documents such as the birth certificate. Children end up paying with their future for what should not be a crime, but rather a gap in the system, and it is unfortunate that such technicalities cause the community its brightest and most promising students.

Abdullatif’s story takes a fast forward to 2018 when he turned 18 years old. He came back to the organization to apply for his identification card and his case was handled by Mariam. Having been to the organization before, he was directed on what documents to carry for the application process. During the elder’s vetting, he was accompanied by his grand mother as a guardian, and was booked for national vetting a month later. The first challenge he experienced following the approval for a national vetting was that his name did not appear in the list and he needed to re-apply for the national vetting. Such mistakes in the systems contribute to youth giving up on following on their documents because the inefficiency of the state will then be blamed on them when the time for vetting finds them at 23 years. After sometime he was vetted and was accompanied by his grandmother as a guardian having sworn an affidavit. The vetting turned out okay and he was allowed to proceed with application for an identification card in 2019.

Currently Abdullatif is still in school, however, when we last communicated with his grandmother, Abdullatif managed to get his identification card and is proceeding with his studies.

This is a win for the Nubian community because here is a success story of a young man who got his birth certificate and identification card at a young age, and can enjoy his right to education without fears of denial of registration because of lack of documents. We wish him the best in his endevours!