14-year-old pupil who hang self after period shame at school buried

The casket bearing the remains of Jackeline Chepng’eno, who committed suicide out of menstrual shame.

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The girl reported to have committed suicide after a teacher humiliated her for soiling her dress was buried on Saturday amid calls for free sanitary towels in schools.

Jackeline Chepng’eno, who died aged 14, was buried at Kiptewit Village in Bureti Constituency in an emotional ceremony that also reunited her estranged parents, Robert Kirui and Beatrice Kirui, after years apart.

The Standard Six pupil at Kabiangek Primary School had been living with her maternal grandparents in Kabiangek village in Bomet County.

An old pick-up truck that ferried her body from Kapkatet Hospital mortuary was one of the three vehicles in the funeral procession that had local boda boda riders flanking it as outriders.

When the cortège arrived in the compound, the white coffin was taken to a newly constructed tiny mud-walled house. Chepng’eno’s body “rested” there for a few minutes.

Hundreds of mourners stood and observed a minute of silence as the pallbearers brought the coffin out of the house and placed it under a shade for the funeral service.

However, there was a hitch, and mourners had to wait a little longer to listen to Chepng’eno’s eulogy because, in the haste of organising the girl’s funeral, her family forgot to write it.

“Though we loved Chepng’eno dearly and wouldn’t have wished her to take her life, I would like to thank her since her death has reunited her parents. My daughter-in-law had left her house for far too long,” said Chepng’eno’s Grandfather David Lang’at.

Jackeline Chepng’eno's mother during the burial.

“I want my son and his wife to now learn to live in peace and harmony. Don’t be too quick to involve busy bodies in your marital affairs, including the chief. I welcome my daughter-in-law back,” he said.

Chepng’eno’s mother extended an olive branch to the teacher said to have provoked her daughter’s suicide.

“What I really want is to see the teacher and talk to her so that my aching heart can heal,” she said.

Teacher’s role

Among the mourners was area MP Kiptergech Mutai, who called on the Ministry of Education to investigate the role of Chepng’eno’s teacher in her suicide.

“One of Chepng’eno’s teachers has been adversely mentioned as being the reason why she committed suicide. The Ministry of Education must come out clearly on the allegation. No other girl should be period-shamed ever again,” he said.

Mr Mutai called on the teacher to come out and clear her name.