Damaris’ Story

I was born in Uthiru to a single parent family and as the only child. I lost my mother at the age of 12 and relocated to Dandora with my aunt as the guardian.

I felt that life was taking all the wrong turns, as a consequence of our poverty, so I decided to work extra hard in my primary education. Not even the sky was the limit, when I became a beneficiary of a Kenyan government sponsored primary school education.

In 2006, through merit, I joined and was sponsored for my secondary education at Starehe Girls’ Centre.

In 2009, while still pursuing my secondary education, a window of opportunity opened, and I had the privilege to become a member of the Global Give Back Circle, which is implemented by KCDF in Kenya. The program is a life-changing experience that I treasure so much. I was paired with my mentor, Sandra Devoe, who lives in the United States, and together we started a journey to the top of the mountain.

With frequent communication via email, we have developed a very close relationship based on trust, openness and discipline. We often encourage each other intellectually, physically, emotionally and spiritually. We have walked many miles together, with Sandra coaching me on realizing my full potential in my education, and talent in music and beadwork. In 2010, I recorded my first album of gospel music. I am now working on my third album. I am also a young entrepreneur in beadwork.

Thanks to a scholarship from the MasterCard Foundation and Microsoft, I was also privileged to join a 9-month ICT Lab. The experience there was an eye opener and exposed me to the digital world. This has greatly impacted my work life, as I am able to use technology at work in an efficient manner.

While in the ICT Lab, I had the opportunity to attend workshops in financial literacy, reproductive health and life-skills where I learned things I did not know. I treasure the lessons gained. I treasure the power of sharing ideas, and whenever opportunities arise, I am always ready to participate in discussions and empowerment programs to help the next generation.

During the ICT Lab, I continued to concentrate on my studies, and this commitment was rewarded again with the opportunity to join university. Thanks to the MasterCard Foundation, I joined Moi University, where I pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Resource Management – a childhood dream of mine.

Today, I believe in social commitments. Mine is focused on mentoring and empowering women and girls. I am mentoring a girl, Brenda, at Starehe Girls’ Centre just as I had been mentored ten years ago.

At the same time, I am also proud to say I am working as a Junior HR Consultant at Flexi Personnel Limited.

– Damaris