From Vulnerable Orphan to Thriving Engineer

Cheryl Onyango Ombani comes from Migori County. In a country where poverty is widespread, becoming an orphan at the age of two years seems like a death sentence. This was precisely where Cheryl found herself; the youngest of four children has no memory of her parents. After losing both of her parents, she had to be separated from her siblings.

Although Cheryl was grateful to be taken in by her uncle, this joy was quickly robbed. The uncle also passed away a few years later. This did not stop her from dreaming of a better life for herself and that of her siblings. She worked very hard in school and excelled in her national exams. Cheryl earned a place in Starehe Girls’ Centre, where she received a full high school scholarship support. There she grew into an inspiring adult, dedicated to changing the lives of future generations. Due to her hardworking and undying spirit, she attained a B+ (plus) in her K.C.S.E examinations.

She had no idea that her dream of joining the University would be met with a lot of setbacks. Her step-uncle, a new face in the family, treated her like a servant. Cheryl decided to run away from home. It was then that she remembered having been introduced to a girl child programme while at Starehe Girls’.

KCDF’s tertiary program, the Global Give Back Circle, saved the day for Cheryl. She was offered a life-changing scholarship to study engineering.  She was also linked to a mentor, who supported her immensely through her journey. She says, “my mentor guided me to make bold decisions in life and helped me become assertive.”

Through the workshops offered by GGBC programme, Cheryl learnt a lot about financial skills, reproductive health and general life skills.  Her journey also inspired her to give back to the society. “I came up with Mshauri Trust Foundation, to take care of street children. I love to encourage these children, so that they can endure the tough circumstances.”

Thankfully, Cheryl now has a bright future and is an inspiring role model for others. She hopes to start an engineering company of her own in the future.

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