In Kenya, Cecilia Writes A New Future #withMalala

Malala Fund is honoured to be one of 10 organisations featured as part of the #UpgradeYourWorld movement, Microsoft’s year-long initiative inspired by the launch of Windows 10. This exciting campaign celebrates those inspiring and empowering others, led by their vision to help people achieve more through technology.

Therefore, we’re featuring stories like Cecilia’s, a student at NairoBits who is learning technology skills thanks to support from the Malala Fund.

Credit: Malin Fezehai / HUMAN for Malala Fund

This is Cecilia’s story:

My name is Cecilia. I am 19 years old and the second born in a family of four. I live with my parents in Korogocho slum. I come from a humble background and my mother is the breadwinner of our family.

In 2010 I finished primary school and continued on to A.C.K Milimani Girls in Mumias for my secondary-level education. However, I had to drop out of school temporarily in form two (year 10) because I could not afford my school fees. After I dropping out, I spent the whole second term at home with my grandparents. Often I had to go without food because of my sick grandfather. The only way to put food in our stomachs, was to wake up early in the morning to go to the shamba (fields) with my grandparents and sell sugarcane. Luckily, that situation didn’t last long. My uncle paid my fees for that term so that I was able to go back to school at Khwisero secondary school. I endured a hard life. Everyday I woke up at 3:00 am with my grandparents to go to the shamba before school. After school, I sold the sugarcane so that we could buy supper  — the only meal we ate all day.

In form four (year 12), I was unable to sit for my mock examination because I couldn’t afford it. Through the tireless efforts of my mother, I was able to go back to school after two weeks. I tried my best and caught up with the other students. I finished school and received my Kenya certificate of secondary education, managing to score a mean grade of C plain. After completing secondary school, I traveled to Nairobi to stay with my parents where I started selling groundnuts in order to get money so that I could attend university for further studies. After a few months I was able to enroll in Nairobits School of Digital Design.

I want to further my studies to become an expert in the IT field and fulfill my childhood ambition of becoming a news editor. My goals are to be a web developer, secure a good job in Kenya, move from Korogocho to the wetlands, open an M-PESA shop for my dad and also build a house for my parents in Busia. That is my 10 year plan.

Nariobits has played a major role in my life. I am so thankful that I am allowed to continue my education. I used to be depressed and thought I had to bury my dreams because they seemed impossible to achieve. I don’t have to let these dreams go now, because I believe my dreams are valid. Now, I have hope for the future and believe that I am going to achieve my dreams for a better tomorrow.

In the poorest areas of Kenya, education is the only weapon girls like Cecilia have to battle poverty. The Malala Fund supports projects like NairoBits where Cecilia and her peers can learn technology skills to write a new future.

Learn how you can help girls like Cecilia achieve their dreams.