By Paula Meyer, Founder and President
I just returned from a visit to Kenya on December 10. One of my favorite things to do in Kenya is spend time with alumni to learn about their lives since graduation. Here are the stories of several alumni and one about a student who will graduate from law school in 2020.
Margaret Achieng’s parents died when she was young and she joined our program in 2008. For most of her life, Margaret was raised in a two-room home with nine of her extended family members. In 2017, Margaret finished a program in Community Development from St. Paul’s University. Ngong Road Children Association employed her as an intern for six months after which she got an entry-level job with the law firm Odero Osiemo Advocates. Margaret explained to me that she wanted to become a lawyer, but her grades were not high enough to be admitted to a law school program. She began at the firm as an office administrator and was soon promoted to be an assistant to one of the lawyers. The firm has now offered Margaret the opportunity to attend a six-month professional training program in 2020 to become a mediator. They will pay her fees and continue to employ her as she goes through this program. Margaret has built a new, better life for herself. Margaret was sponsored by Anne McCulloch.
Philip Miriti joined the program in 2007 and finished a training program to become a plumber in 2019. Philip was raised by his single mother who worked part-time as a community worker. While a student in our program, Philip’s teachers consistently noted that he was hardworking, punctual, and a good problem-solver. Today, Philip is not employed full-time with any single organization, but rather serves as plumbing contractor. He has developed a wonderful, outgoing personality that will serve him well as he works to support his young family. Philip is now married; he and his wife had a son in 2019 whom they named Lennick – after Doug and Beth Ann Lennick, his sponsors for all those years.
Elizabeth Nyanchera was orphaned at a young age and raised by her aunt and uncle. Her aunt was an elementary school teacher at the school where Elizabeth attended. Elizabeth was always near the top of her class and she graduated from high school in 2015. Since then, she has been enrolled in Nairobi University, studying law. She is on track to graduate in 2020 and hopes to land an internship at a law firm in Kenya. Elizabeth and her aunt attended the 2019 Annual General Meeting for Ngong Road Children Association in Kenya where we saw each other and she explained that she is really looking forward to getting a job. Needless to say, her aunt is very proud of Elizabeth.
Jackline Nyarwai was in our first high school graduating class in 2012, and was of the very first students in our program. After completing high school she took a one-year program in front-office skills. Upon completing that program, Jackline became the enthusiastic and always cheerful NRCA/Karibu Loo receptionist. In 2014, her pleasant and outgoing personality got her hired by Bimeda, a veterinary supply company, as a Customer Care Representative. Having been very happy and successful in that role, Jackline is now pursuing additional education, courtesy of Bimeda, and hopes to move into a sales position in the future. She lives with her mother, one sister and a niece and has moved her family out of the slums into an apartment with running water and electricity, luxuries never before enjoyed by the family. Jackline was proudly sponsored by Keith and Kathleen Kale.