I learned early on that life is not fair, and that change is a constant. Two years after I was born, my mother passed away. As an infant, born out of wedlock, I was thrown into a world that was fraught with difficulty and left to tackle this on my own. I was an orphan in the Ebuhando village, and it was not an easy life. This explains why today I have a special place in my heart for our street children here in Kenya.
I hardly remember having an actual childhood as I started making decisions early on in my life. As I matured, I began to realize that problems are exactly what you make of them. My path was hardly a straight one, and I veered from it on more than one occasion.
As a very young girl I was lucky to join St. Martin’s Primary and Secondary School located in the Kibagare Slum. This school became the beacon in my life. My turning point happened there when the school Principal selected me, amongst other orphans, to join the Global Give Back Circle in 2006. I felt so blessed to have joined the Circle because it was the first time that I was able to foresee great things ahead. I wanted to become an inspiration to others, to share my story and show them we can overcome adversity. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to be a doctor, lawyer, businesswoman or politician; but I knew that whatever I set my mind on doing, the program would help me achieve it.
When I reflected on what was most important to me, I knew that I wanted to be involved with promoting people’s wellness and health. I often think about my darling mother and wonder whether she would still be with me today, had she had opportunities to better her health earlier on in life. I admire the nurses and doctors, who help and save people’s lives, and knew that this would be one of my life callings.
The year I joined the Circle I was matched with my mentor, Marge. Since our introduction she has been a big part of my life, and although we are far from each other physically (she lives in the USA), she has inspired me to fulfill my goals, especially to become a nurse. I recall times when it was difficult to balance my emotions, and she asked me to demonstrate diligence and to focus on my studies. She encouraged me to be a strong student with a good work ethic, and thorough time management, to always show commitment. All these were crucial measures in my success.
Thanks to a scholarship from the MasterCard Foundation and Microsoft, I eagerly completed a 9-month IT skills and communication course after my high school graduation, which put me a step ahead in my education, as I awaited the start college, still not knowing if this dream was even possible.
When I learned that I was also selected to receive a scholarship to attend college through the MasterCard Foundation, I was over the moon with excitement and joy. The scholarship also allowed me to attend various workshops, such as the financial literacy and reproductive health workshops which I loved. It was here that I learnt the importance of saving and family planning. Life lessons that have transformed my outlook and helped me prioritize my future goals.
My current Give Back Commitment is titled, “Save One Life you are a Hero, Save 100 you are a Nurse.” With the help of Shallom Hospital, I have been able to give back my time and skills at the maternal child health care clinic, educating women on the importance of their pre-natal visits, immunizations, postnatal care and family planning. Helping educate the women about the importance of a hospital delivery and family planning has been an eye-opening experience. I have had to battle many traditional beliefs and have been constantly challenged. Yet, when another healthy baby is safely born, I know that it has been worth all the efforts possible.
When I think about how my life could have turned out, I know I am truly blessed to have been a MasterCard Foundation scholar and a part of the Global Give Back Circle. I am also grateful to KCDF for implementing the program in Kenya. From a helpless orphan to a competent health professional, my transformation is nothing short of amazing. I’ve been empowered to be the leader of my life, and plan to inspire other orphans and disadvantaged girls to never stop aiming higher.