The tomato plants supported by strings have filled the greenhouse to the brim.
“The cold weather here in Limuru is not good for tomatoes, they do not grow well, however, they do much better at my grandmother’s home in Ruaka.” Dorcas explains as she examines a tomatoe on one of the branches.
Raised by a single mother, Dorcas Wacera aged twenty-two, has always loved farming but art has always been her passion. The second born of three children is about to complete her Bachelor of Education and Fine Arts at Kenyatta University. Her journey has not been easy. Dorcas describes her experience at the university as a very good opportunity. Since the Global Give Back Circle (GGBC), a girl child education programme supported by the generous support of the American people through USAID Kenya began to support her university education, Dorcas has been able to focus on her studies, interact with students freely and be exposed to the different student clubs to create the necessary networks.
Growing up in the steep hilly area of Limuru, just a few kilometers from Limuru town, her family struggled with finances. Her mother is a businesswoman with a shop in Rongai. The money earned from this business and the tomatoes from the greenhouse sustains the family. Dorcas went to St. Martins secondary school where the Principal identified her brilliance. The Principal knew about the financial challenges that the family faced and when an opportunity to gain from a scholarship presented itself, the principal forwarded Dorcas’ name for the chance. She filled out her application and got a scholarship.
Through the mentorship programme and the workshops offered by GGBC programme, Dorcas has learnt how to set goals and objectives which has really come in handy in her schoolwork and art-work aspirations. She has learnt how to source for markets for her painting and sculptures and organize art exhibitions that earn her an income. Her skills on managing finances has also significantly improved thanks to the financial skills training workshops held every year.
“It is important to give back to the community. For my give back commitment, which is the ethos of GGBC, I have joined St Anne's Secondary School where I volunteer as a teacher. I have also volunteered at Scripture Union where I was a peer counselor.” adds Dorcas. Dorcas hopes to integrate her passion for farming with art and hopes that both avenues will be sources of long-term income and fulfillment to her life. In the meantime, she is happy to supply tomatoes and cucumbers to the market.
“If I would offer advice to a young girl who is looking for scholarship support to further their education ambitions, I would tell them that it is important to embrace networking as this enables one to meet different people who could be of help. I would also encourage them give back to the community, just as someone has been able to give them an opportunity to pursue their own path.” Dorcas remarks with gratitude. “The scholarship opportunity really helped me and my family as the burden on finances is cushioned. I am truly grateful.”