Life is a story that one lives to tell other people. This is my story; my name is Truphena Wambui Mwaura. I was born in Kibagare slum and I lived with my widowed mother. I am the last born in a family of six, four boys and two girls. My brothers and sister lived with my grandmother in our rural home.
I lost my parents at a very young age. This was the greatest challenge that I faced because my aunts did not want me in their home. I was attending St. Martin’s Primary School, a missionary school that helps the less privileged. After the burial of my mother, my aunt made it known that she could not keep me. It was heartbreaking, as I was a young, lost child, without any idea of where I would live. My extended family found me a house with twin aunts, whom I had never met. It was hard for me to commute from my new home in the Majengo slums to the Kibagare slums where my school was. All these difficulties interfered with my performance. One day, an uncle came to visit my aunts and found me washing for two households. He rescued me. This was my turning point!
Today, I am the only one in my family to get an education. I worked hard in school so that I could help my siblings, who did not have the same opportunities I had. I joined St. Martin’s Secondary School in 2006, at the same time that the Global Give Back Circle was introduced at our school. I was among the lucky girls selected to participate in the program and this also meant that I received a mentor.
The idea of having and trusting another person was difficult for me after my mother died. Nevertheless, Karen, my mentor, slowly but surely helped me open up and I felt I could start to talk freely once again. The Circle not only gave me a mentor, but a best friend and a mother-like figure. Karen is a loving and kindhearted person who lives in Los Angeles, California. All the way from there she aided in my transformation into a better and loving person.
I had no idea of what would happen after the end of high school. I was part of the Circle, along with eight other girls, and after we completed our last year of high school, we luckily were called for ICT training. Thanks to a scholarship from the MasterCard Foundation and Microsoft, this was a nine-month course that offered more than an ordinary computer school would. I learned invaluable computer skills that I am still using today.
Being chosen as a beneficiary, I then learned that my dream of attending college was to become my reality. I chose to study a course that would provide me with the qualifications needed to become a Corporate Secretary. When I joined the Vision Institute of Professional Studies, I rejoiced, as I knew my dream of helping my family was going to come true. I later continued my studies at the East Africa School of Management.
The ICT training, specifically, was a turning point in my life. It gave me computer skills, which are the essence for any type of employment in the modern world. My Corporate Secretary qualifications helped me secure a real job with responsibilities and compensation so that I can live independently and participate in my society.
At the same time, the Circle taught me the importance of giving back to my community, and most of my time I spend with disabled children at the Thika School of Variety. I like counseling and encouraging people towards their dreams. Many children just want to know that they are loved and cared for, just like I did when I was young. I am now that someone that cares for them.
My mentor taught me that love can change anyone. She loves me without reservation, and for this reason, I am able to love others. Karen has walked this journey with me for nine years now. And, she has travelled to Kenya twice to spend time with me, meet with my teachers and advisors, and learn all she can about my world and what is needed for me to succeed, find employment and find happiness as an empowered woman. Through Karen, I have learned that people can do great and noble things. I have learned how to be a good mentor to the next generation of girls in Kenya. The skills and knowledge that I gained being a Global Give Back beneficial has been my stepping block to reach my destination.
Today, I am proud to say that I am a successful Corporate Secretary working at Haki Registrars. I am also blessed with a husband and we will be ushering in our baby together this year. I have no words to show my gratitude for the good things I have received from the Global Give Back Circle. Thank you to the Circle, to KCDF, and to USAID for the scholarships to the Vision Institute and East Africa School of Management. I am grateful for your role in my educational journey and professional development.