They made my dream come true

MAUREEN BII
Posted August 23, 2016 from Kenya

My journey towards securing my big dream of education was not an easy one. I can clearly recollect every moment that I shed tears when the school sent me home due to accumulating arrears which my mother could not raise and the fear that I might never finish my studies. Firstly with a broken family and secondly: poverty staring at us therefore education was a luxury. After sitting for my class eight final examinations in 2000,I was filled with excitement as I was the top girl in my school with high scores. At this point, I knew my dream was coming true. I always wanted to be a neuro surgeon so I could help my neighbor’s son who could not speak. Joining high school meant I was one step closer to my dream. It was a new and exciting experience for me firstly it promised me three meals a day, secondly I was safe from the old men from the village who wanted to marry me and thirdly, there was electricity which would allow me to study till late at night without fear. I felt very safe in school as no one knew my background though his never bothered me because at least I already had a chance to acquire knowledge. Meanwhile back at home in the village, my single mum was wondering where she would get my fees for the next semester. Life was so ok at school until that period when schools break for holiday which marked the beginning of my fear and argony of going home. I was so aware of the struggles my mum was going through to raise my fees and that of my small sister’s and I knew that it would be the last time I would be in school. Unfortunately, it was a requirement to go home and during this time ,I worked tirelessly with my mum to raise the arrears which was not enough. Weeks passed by and I was not any close to reporting to school. I regretted the moment I decided to step out of school compound. The sad thing is that my young sister had to drop out of school. At some point, I managed to go back to school but did not have basic necessities for use while in school and being a girl,it was frustrating to borrow sanitary towels in order for me not to miss classes, but I could not do this for long. One month later, I was sent home again due to the accumulated fees and went back home. One and a half years later, I was still not in school and during this time I worked as a house help earning $10 a month with the hope of raising enough money to go back to school to finish my studies. The money was not enough though and my chances of going back to school got slimmer day by day. I used to represent the school during drama festivals in poetry and dancing which captured the attention of our drama teacher so she made me the soloist. During my absence, there was no one who would recite poems or lead others and this prompted our drama teacher to know my whereabouts. Everyone assumed I got pregnant and dropped out of school while others believed I got married as was our culture but my teacher could not believe and so the journey to find me started. She sent out as many students whom she believed might come into contact with me with transport to bring me back to school. After a long search during one of the holidays, I met a boy who was among those who had been sent and he gave me the full report from our drama teacher. I could not believe that someone would go that mile to look for me. I just broke down with joy because I was finally getting a second chance in life. I made a decision and went to school to meet with the teacher. What I didn’t know was that she had already done a background search about my family and she was going to put me through school. She had bought me all that I needed to use while in use. Another miraculous thing was that she convinced our department head to allow me to proceed to th next class to avoid humiliation & disgrace from my classmates. I still couldn’t believe that there were people who believed in me and my capabilities and during that period I performed so well that even the principal and other teachers could not believe I was out of school for 1 1/2 years . I would say that the two teachers were my angels and if they had not been there, I’d not be where I am today. I cleared high school and passed well then I was home again awaiting to join university a dream that was so far-fetched as education in Kenya is very expensive and only a handful make it through. Six years later, I was still at home while my former school mates were pursuing their degrees while others were working. I almost allowed fate to take its course because I could not raise enough money to join university no matter how hard I tried. During those low moments while on temporary employment, God sent another angel my way. This time it was a customer who had come to buy a soda and he was carrying with him a newspaper which I borrowed. In one of the pages, I saw an advertisement about Kabarak University which was offering degree programs and scholarship opportunities and I applied. To my luck I got an offer letter to go and study but another challenge arose which was that of raising the joining fees. I took a step of faith with my elder sister’s full support and headed to towards the administration block. We had no idea of what excuse we would give them to allow me to join but with my sheer determination, I was sure God was in control. Once inside, there was a small queue and it was evident that our turn was drawing closer. My name was called out and we got in.To confirm indeed God was silently listening to my prayers, the administrator was my former high school teacher,Mrs Gladys Chelashaw Munge.She knew my situations back in high school and she did not hesitate to enroll me with the hope that I’ll find funding for my university education. On year later, there was no breakthrough and this time I was so sure education was now going to an end. One day I went to the library just to read a magazine and I came across an organization called FAWE,an organization that supports needy girls and so my heart skipped a bit as I knew that it would be my breakthrough. My journey to their offices in Nairobi just took me one day travelling through towns and streets that I had never been before. It was just amazing to find Selina Sonou and Hendrina Doroba who through their petition, my fee arrears were fully paid off and finally graduated with a finance degree in 2010 ,got employed and added myself an MBA degree 2014. As I sit down today, am reminded of my classmates who dropped out of school due to poverty and never got the chance to realize their dreams and it pains me so much that up to now many students still cannot finish their studies yet we are living in the 21st century. This is my time to celebrate all the heroes in my life and am forever grateful to all who helped me become who I am today. Without them I would not be somebody or probably the gift of education came my way so I could fulfil one of my life’s purposes on earth, that of educating the less privileged in the society and give them hope beyond poverty. Who would have known that a girl from a remote village with a bleak future would later become an ambassador and champion for women and girls rights from a minority community in kenya. This was made possible by my wonderful angels ;My mum for bbreaking her back for us,My sister Eva for standing with me through my hardest moments,my brother Ken for selling his only shoes to buy me basic necessities to use in school. My drama teacher Miss Alembi for educating me through high school;Mr Munane for believing in my capabilities,Mrs Munge for trusting in me and lastly Ms Selina Sonou and Hendrina Doroba for giving me a push through University. My calling Through my experiences, Twapepea community development foundation was borne with a mission to enable bright and needy students transit to high school and to date over 20 students have benefited from the support offered at the organization. In March this year, we donated sanitary towels to 500 girls to enable them not to miss classes and also free them from stigma associated with periods. Magdalene my first student to receive scholarship in 2011 is a happy girl because she now has a bright future ahead of her having scored B+ which is a pass mark for joining university. Joanne and Joseph are sitting for their final paper this year which makes me a proud sister. Not forgetting our toddlers back in the village, I sponsored the building of 4 ECD schools to enable our young ones get education near their homes as they could not trek long distance to reach the main school which is 10 km away with no food.

They didn't know me but they came to my aid when I needed them the most. They didn't see a begger but a world changer. If we all live by their example,many would achieve their dreams like I did.

This story was submitted in response to I Am Where I Am Because....

Comments 8

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Nakinti
Aug 23, 2016
Aug 23, 2016

OMG Bii,

There you go again. Another true account that sends tears rolling down my cheek. Awww, mothers are strong. Women are wonderful. They will fight for their children till they can fight no more. Your life is a testimony. Your story is one to behold. I admire your courage to tell the story like it is. How brave. What makes me even more happy is the fact that you have used your story to effect change in your community. That is my line of work too, I give out scholarship to girls to attend school in Cameroon, just because I have a personal education story that helped shape my vision. https://www.facebook.com/RescueWomen . Please don't relent on the scholarship mission, God will see you through.

Thank you for sharing your story dear sis

God bless you!

MAUREEN BII
Aug 24, 2016
Aug 24, 2016

Dear Nakinti, Thank you for reading my story.I felt I could not hide it anymore becaus3 every time i thought about it,i would cry.12yrs later and I can't stop crying bcoz of the misery but am healing through sharing. God bless your work too and may you find favour in His sight.Let's educate more children and we will eliminate poverty. I support you

JANEKALU
Aug 24, 2016
Aug 24, 2016

Dear Mauren, your broke my heart .having experience what real poverty is, i can imagine  what you have passed through. The good thing is that it ended in story.You never allowed your situation to change your determination. Thanks to all the angels that helped you on  your ways. I appreciate your work, more grace to you as you liberate the girls that are passing through the same difficulties.

Thanks 

Jane kalu

janekaluokerek@gmail.com

MAUREEN BII
Aug 24, 2016
Aug 24, 2016

Dear Jane, Thank you for taking your time to read my story.It's true they walked with me and helped me become the person i am today. Lets join hands to fight poverty.

CHAKI
Aug 24, 2016
Aug 24, 2016

I like ths

CHAKI
Aug 24, 2016
Aug 24, 2016

real they are purposed

rosemary_ntoipo
Aug 26, 2016
Aug 26, 2016

Dear Maureen, 

Thanks a lot for writing and sharing this story. This is a sure representation of the suffering of many students struggling to live their dreams. You narrated and made me remember the many students that I taught some of who really suffered due to luck of school fees. Thanks for not giving up or falling for tricks that would have ended up in making you a failure. You are very courageous and a hard working student you have been.

Am also very happy for the teachers and customer who helped you. To realize that you recognized what they did for you is worth appreciating and I applause you. Again, trusting God and having Him in your plans is one most important thing. You are and continue being a blessing to others.

Wishing you all the best in what you are doing.

Warmest regards

Rosemary. 

helen.ng
Aug 27, 2016
Aug 27, 2016

Hello Maureen,

You suffered so many hardships but persisted and eventually attained happiness and success. You are the true embodiment of a role model, as you did not give up despite trials, and used your fortunes to help other girls too. Congratulations on far along your journey you have come, and I look forward to hearing more about your future endeavours!

With kindest regards,

Helen Ng