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General News

[ 2017-03-18 ]

Irene's twin, Panyin, (left) had to drop out of school because her parents could not support her

Twins run shift in one school uniform - one drops out of school
They were born on the same day and shared a school
uniform for a year but they are not Siamese twins,
just twins who have had a lot of pain and
deprivation thrown at them because theirs is a
broken home.

Pushed to the wall by destitution, their academic
performance suffered and, in the end, one of them
had to drop out of school.

With their parents at each other’s throat,
resulting in a separation, the two girls had to
fend for themselves.

Irene Panyin Amoah and Irene Kakra Amoah, the two
teenage twins of Twifo Praso in the Central
Region, had to sell soft drinks and sachet water
and wash plates for food vendors to get by.

It was 1.30 p.m. when The Mirror team arrived in
the quiet farming community last Wednesday to
listen to their tales of hustle.

It was almost closing time at the Twifo Praso
Methodist Primary School and lines were hurriedly
formed on the grassy and dusty school compound in
an assembly to end the school day.

Kakra walked out of her Class Six classroom in the
company of her teacher, Mr John Wesley Ofosu, who
said Kakra’s performance was very poor because she
was not punctual in school.

At a point, Kakra and her elder sister dropped out
of school because of financial difficulties, but
Kakra returned because a Good Samaritan, a food
vendor, had taken her in.

Her sister had not been so lucky.

Mr Ofosu said Kakra had to repeat her class.

“In Class Six, there are basic things she should
know, but she is struggling with them. The good
thing is that she’s so determined to learn. With
the right tuition and time for her, she can make
it. In class, even if others raise their hands, I
give her the opportunity to answer questions, so
that she can build her confidence,” he said.

He said he believed that domestic issues were to
blame for Kakra’s performance.

Kakra agreed. As her mates closed from the
afternoon assembly, she pointed to the Twifo Praso
D/A A&B Junior High School (JHS) as her sister’s

Panyin had, however, dropped out at the beginning
of the 2016/2017 academic year to be with her
mother on a farm at Damang, a few minutes’ drive
from Twifo Praso.

Days of hardship

Wearing a yellow uniform, with blue strips at the
waist and neck, Kakra launched into their

According to her, when their parents split up, the
twins were left to struggle and fend for

She said the situation got so bad that for a whole
year when she was in Class Five and her sister in
Class Six, they had to share a school uniform.

“My school uniform was torn and so we had to share
my sister’s. Our school ran a shift and so when I
went to school in the morning and returned around
12 noon, my sister went in the afternoon.

“We washed the uniform in the evening when it was
dirty. Because of that, we didn’t play much,” she

Kakra said while she had overcome their parents’
break up, she wished they were still together.

With the food vendor, Madam Fati, now taking care
of her, Kakra said her daily routine was to sweep
in the morning before going to school, adding that
when she returned from school, she helped to
prepare the food to be sold.

“By 6 p.m. the food is sent to the roadside and
Aunty Fati would insist that I go home and study.
I try hard to study until I fall asleep,” she
said, smiling.


Within two hours, Kakra had changed her future
aspiration from being a police officer to being a

But she was upbeat about completing school and
becoming what she described as a “big woman”
because she admired women who drove their own

“I really want to go to school. I love school and
I want to complete school. I want to drive my own
car too,” she added with a smile.

At 16, and with most of her age group in senior
high school, Kakra said she would not give up,
even though things were tough.

Madam Fati, who sells rice and stew near the Twifo
Praso Market, described Kakra as “humble,
hardworking and very passionate about school”.

“I can’t say much about her sister because she is
not very close to me. She came to me on a few
occasions but Kakra always came to me when they
were living on their own.

“It is the reason I went to look for her and
insisted she go back to school when the two of
them dropped out,” she added while busily chopping

A struggling twin

Panyin’s performance was no different from Kakra’s
when The Mirror went to the Twifo Praso D/A A& B
JHS, which is on the same compound as the Twifo
Praso Methodist Primary School.

There, the Headmaster, Mr Victor Emeka, confirmed
that Panyin had quit school.

Going through the class attendance register for
the 2015/2016 academic year, he said out of the 75
schooldays in the first term, Panyin was in class
50 days. In the second term, she was in class 43
days out of 64, and in the third term she was in
class for 55 days.

Absenteeism took its toll on Panyin’s academic
performance, which resulted in poor results in her
examinations, as she placed beyond the 40th
position in almost all the subjects, out of a
class of 45 pupils.

Mr Emeka said when Panyin dropped out of school,
her father came with her to make a case for her
return, and the father gave an assurance that she
would return but she never did.

“From what we understand, it was because of
domestic issues that she didn’t return. It is not
our business to interfere in that. Our main
concern is to help our pupils. We have tried to
reach out to the parents but it did not work.

“As a headmaster, I believe all our pupils are not
on the same level and so the least we can do is
give all of them a chance, but it looks like
domestic issues are affecting her badly,” he

Panyin, who spoke to The Mirror on telephone,
cried throughout the interview.

Faced with poor academic performance, a broken
home and financial difficulties, she said, she had
to stop school because there were times when
neither parent could afford to buy her needs,
including books and sanitary pads.

“I got tired of everything and stopped school,”
she said while sobbing.

Panyin said she wished her parents could be
together, as her mother had taken to drinking
because of the separation.

“I want to be in school but because of the
financial situation at home, I can’t. I now help
my mother on the farm,” she added.

Parental neglect

When contacted, the Twifo Ati-Morkwa District
Director of Education, Mr Amos Kwansah Hammond,
observed that parental neglect was one of the
challenges affecting education in the district.

“I try to engage parents at all parent/teacher
association meetings to encourage them to support
their children’s education. This is because there
are some parents who would not buy even pencils
for their children because they have heard about
free education,” he noted.

Source -

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