The difficulty of life continues to push Kenyans to the wall. After the official end of the Christmas and New Year 2024 celebrations, parents are now making preparations to ensure that children return to school.
But many parents who spoke with journalists said that it is a period of crying because the cost of living has increased so much that the price of school supplies, such as uniforms and books, has increased dramatically.
Parents are left scratching their heads. School preparations are in full swing in Mombasa town as parents struggle in the hot sun to find uniforms and books for their children in time for the students to return to school next week.
At Mombasa, a popular school uniform store business is low, unlike before, the number of customers is very small.
“During the administration of Retired President Uhuru Kenyatta, there were long queues and the customer had to wait for others to reduce. But now there is no traffic and this situation is caused by the economic downturn,” said Mr Ali Shariff, who is one of the parents.
The owner of Mombasa Uniform Ms. Monica Mutua said there is still a week for schools to open but there are few customers.
“People come one by one depending on where they are… the parent wonders if he will come or what she will do,” said Mrs. Mutua.
She also added to those who were in the crossroad after the money they brought was not enough.
Mr. Shariff said some have come from far away in Kinango, they have come there, the money is not enough, they have to go back. New books have also lost their status as parents decide to buy such books to reduce the burden.
Now schools tell us to buy books ourselves. We have to buy a uniform. In fact, the situation is different compared to the neighboring country of Uganda,” said Mr Shariff.
Another parent, Ms. Roselyne Riga, said many people go shopping at scrap book dealers. Despite the fact that many people are flocking here to buy used books, the price has gone up and the sellers are complaining about the decrease in customers.
According to bookseller Ms. Ann Wairimu, “business is a little down… not like before and the price has gone up so much that the book we used to sell for Sh500 is now sold for Sh700. For students studying in remote schools, the fare is a problem as many public transport vehicles have increased the fare.
Parents and sellers have now asked the government to intervene, especially regarding the issue of purchasing school supplies and of course reducing the cost of living.