Kiambu town was full of buzz as we made our way to the village of Ndumberi, where Keziah Njeri has grown up for the last twenty-two years of her life. She is the second born of a family of six, with an elder brother and two younger brothers who are both undergoing their secondary education. Her parents are both subsistence farmers who grow bananas and other vegetables which they sell to earn an income. Hers is a tale of hope and salvation. A promise for a better future.
“I went to Karunga primary school where I scored 342 marks in my final Kenya for Certificate Primary Education (KCPE) examinations. I was then called to Moi Girls Kimilili for my secondary school education. However, due to financial challenges, I joined Loreto Kiambu. While in form two, I moved to St. Annes Gichocho secondary school. One of the challenges I consistently encountered was being sent home due to school fees. This would affect my studies and make my parents very worried. However, when I reached form three, there was hope” shares Keziah.
Keziah dreamt of being a neurosurgeon when she was young, but later on, she developed a passion for mathematics and statistics. Her dream of being a teacher pushed her throughout her education. In form three, her headteacher noticed her stellar performance and knowing the financial challenges her family faced, he considered her for a scholarship opportunity. Keziah was shortlisted and after a successful application, she secured the scholarship in form four. This would later help her achieve her dream of being a teacher. The next challenge was looking for a university that offered her dream course. Kiriri’s Women University of Science and Technology stood out. Being a women’s only university, Keziah describes it as a place she gained great experience where she could concentrate on her studies.
Kenya Community Development foundation (KCDF) through the education program implements the Global Give Back Circle (GGBC) programme that is supported by USAID Kenya thanks to the generous support of the American people, that offers scholarships to needy and often vulnerable students in communities. Keziah was lucky to be a beneficiary supported directly by Victoria Commercial Bank (VCB).
Keziah is a few months shy of graduating with a degree in Mathematics and Statistics. During her studies, the GGBC paid for her entire university school fees and provided accommodation and a stipend allowance. This was a big relief for her parents who did not have to worry of the financial burden for her schooling. She recently got an internship at her former high school St. Anne Gichocho where she teaches Mathematics to form one and two students. Her hope is to change the perspectives of students on Mathematics and the negative attitude associated with the subject. She also has previous experience teaching at Kenya Lite Academy. For Keziah, the future does not seem dim at all.
“Through the life skills workshop I attended that was organized by GGBC, I learnt how to present and express myself in a proper manner. I gained a high self-esteem, and this enabled me to stand before people which is a very essential aspect of teaching.” Keziah explains as she holds her two-year-old son. Additionally, having a mentor has really helped her to learn how to plan her life and have achievable goals and aspirations. Through this she has the confidence to follow her dreams.
“I am giving back to my community through my give back commitment.” Keziah adds.” When you inspire another life, you transform them as well,” Together with her friend Sharon Thuo, they came up with Changamsha Siste (meaning Encourage a Sister), an initiative where they provide mentorship by speaking to young people in schools and equipping them with skills that they learnt from the GGBC workshops.
“I cannot express my gratitude on how much the scholarship has helped me and my family. It really lessened the financial burden and really helped my daughter complete her studies.” the mother was beaming with appreciation. When Keziah is not teaching she enjoys her other passion. Drawing. Her love for portraits and bringing to life her day to day activities through art brings her so much joy. She hopes to integrate both aspects into her career.
Keziah’s parting shot to young girls is to never give up as Gods time is the best. Always put God first and you will achieve your dreams.