| Student Stories
Secondary School Stories
Nia’s Personal Memoir
My name is Nia*, I was born in a remote rural area in the western part of Kenya in the mid-1980s. I’ve 2 sisters and 3 brothers. My biological parents divorced when I was only 7 years old in 1989. My Mother took full custody of her 6 children and moved to a small town to feed and educate us. She later succumbed to TB in 1997 leaving us under the care of her sisters and brothers. The following years became sorrowful and difficult since we were separated as siblings and each one of us was adopted culturally.
I joined my new family in 1998 becoming the only daughter in my maternal uncle’s home who has 3 sons. It was a very challenging time in my life as an ‘orphan’ being part of a new family and being expected to fit in as a daughter they never had.The most painful part was referring to my Uncle as Dad and my Aunt as Mum and my cousins as my brothers (It felt as though I was denying my own sibling's existence).
I joined school the same year and did fairly well in my national exams the following year. It was now time to join high school and since one of my ‘brothers’ was to join high school the same year, it was very challenging to my parents because my dad had just lost his job and my mother had to take care of everything.
My brother joined high school in January 2000. I had to remain at home as my parents sought help from friends and relatives so that I could join high school as well. It’s during this time that they learnt about St.Martin’s secondary school through the Assumption sisters. I was very lucky to get a full sponsorship to study for free in the school (March 2000-2003). This became the best news that changed my life forever.
When I joined St.Martin’s, I made a vow to myself to work as hard as I could not to let my parents and the school down for the chance accorded to me. I later realised that many girls at the school were from the neighbouring slums and other remote rural places in Kenya. The majority also came from broken families and a good percentage were total orphans studying under difficult conditions due to poverty in their families and well wishers couldn’t do much either. All in all there were many challenges both at home and school but I chose to give my studies first priority. In 2003, I met Brian Hillery who visited the school and mentored students for some months. He later introduced his brother Eugene Hillery from Salesforce to the school. That’s when and how a relation between the school and Salesforce was born. I did my nationals in 2003 and I performed quite well. In 2004, my 2 friends and I were invited to San Francisco in California to attend an International Youth Media Festival. By this time, I couldn’t contain my excitement and gratitude for how far I’d come. It’s during this time that we met Mark Benioff, Suzanne Dibianca and Isabel Kelly among many others who have played a very big role in my life.
I later got a full scholarship to join College where I graduated with a Diploma in Community Health and Development. In 2007 I was sponsored to join the Catholic University of Eastern Africa and later graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Human Development (Sociology) in 2010 with a 2nd class Honors Upper Division. Eugene got his aunt Alice Davy to pay for my accommodation and upkeep while in College and Campus.
After graduation, I got a public relations job in a private company in Juba South Sudan. I later went back to Kenya in June 2013. In September of the same year, I aced a job as a Community Mobilizer/Field Officer in a CDC funded Project that is based in the University of Nairobi as a research project under the College of Health Science Public Health Department(CHIVPR- MARPs Project). The project has 10 clinics situated in 10 different Counties in the Country.
I’ve been working with the MARPs ( Most at Risk Populations -They include; both male and female sex workers, men having sex with men, Intravenous drug users and track drivers) in the Lower Eastern part of Kenya. The main aim of the project is to provide comprehensive services that help to promote behavioral change, risk reduction and reproductive health.Our main concern is HIV/AIDS in regard to cutting down transmission and managing opportunistic infections.We also train communities on choices beyond sex work. It’s a bit challenging and life changing as well. I love working with these groups because everyday is a learning moment.
I'm now married to a very handsome and hardworking man called Leonard Leiyan. He lives and works in the city, while I work outside Nairobi in a town near the Coast called Makindu. Despite the distance, we’ve managed to balance marriage and work life.
My life is all new and exciting thanks to Salesforce and the team for their support in renewing my hopes and dreams.To be sincere, I never thought I’d be whom I am today let alone being where I am today.
*Names have been changed to protect identities
Hannah Mbula did her primary school education at St Martins Primary School Kibagare. After sitting her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exams, she qualified to go to a good secondary school. She had a sponsor who paid her school fees from Form one to Form four.
Hannah worked hard in her studies and was always position one in her class. After form four, she sat her Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination. She qualified for university admission. She has been admitted to Eldoret University.
“There are five siblings in my family and one niece whose mother has passed on. I count myself very privileged that I have a sponsor who pays my school fees. I have four brothers; the first born should be in form three this year. He was in and out of school when he was in form one and two because of a lack of school fees. The whole of this year he has not been in school and stays home. My mother could not afford to pay school fees for him. Another brother of mine stays with my grandmother at our rural home. His learning depends on Government bursaries and the little money that my mother can afford. His twin brother is in form one. He was supposed to join form one last year .
My mother could not afford to pay school fees for him and he only joined secondary school this year 2017. If I had not got the support I could have been struggling like the rest of my siblings. This is how helpful you have been to me. My mother’s salary does not sustain each one of us, but you have been the reason why I have a hopeful future as a prominent person and have a story to tell through your assistance.“
There are many pupils like Nia and Lillian who lack school fees and they need your support.
Secondary school is not included in the official Kenyan educational program. St Martins boarding school for secondary (high school) girls offers school fees, boarding, food, uniforms and books. You can also talk directly to your sponsored students and provide mentoring and coaching.
1000 EUROS yearly covers the school fee, uniform, shoes, educational materials as well as two meals on school days.
Primary School Stories
My name is Tamrat*. I have two sisters and one brother. My mother is single, asthmatic and the breadwinner of the faimily. One of my sisters finished secondary education last year and passed with a C+ grade, which would allow her to take a diploma course, but my mother cannot afford to pay for a course for her.
When I finished class 8 last year, I had lost all hope because I knew my mother could not afford to pay the school fees for me.
I went to Sr. Emmah, the Director of St. Martin‘s Primary School Kibagare. She got me into a government school.
I looked at this like a dream which had become a reality. I am grateful for this sponsorship. I have great hopes of completing my studies. I am working very hard in school so that in the future I can support my mother to help support the other children.
*Names have been changed to protect identities
There are many pupils like Tamrat who lack school fees and they need your support.
Sponsor a PRIMARY student from the local Kibagare Slum. Assure that your sponsored child has a school to go to, a basic uniform and pair of shoes as well as two meals during school days and some educational materials.
500 EUROS yearly for children from nursery school through eighth year of primary.
Rose Wamalwa is a mentor mother and takes care of Rose Wanjiru whose mother is dead and father is an alcoholic. Rose Wamalwa stays with these children and her two children. They live as a family and we provide her with the basic needs for their upkeep.
This is what she has to say:-
In the home where I live with my brother and sister, it is a real home for us. Our mentor mother takes care of us as if we were her own children. She does not differentiate us with her children. She treats us the same. We even call her “Mum“
In the home, we are given time to study and we are bought books, we have food and all the necessary things we need.
Before we came to this home, I was getting 100 – 200 marks in school. I am proud to say I am among the top ten position in my class. My brother was always the last position in his class. He has improved tremendously. I am very grateful for the care we receive.
Ruth Karugari is another mentor mother. She takes care of the following children. Cynthia, Elvis and Stephen whose mother is an alcoholic. Cynthia and Stephen were not going to school in order to take care of their younger brother Elvis. We took Cynthia who is 9 years old and Stephen 12 years old to school and took Elvis to baby class. We provide them with breakfast, lunch and supper at 6.00p.m. before they go home.
The role of mentor mother is to ensure that, they have eaten, show them how to wash their clothes, she goes with them at home to show them how to clean the utensils and keep the house clean. We provide the children with clothes and other basic needs.
Ruth also takes care of Richard Kamau 3 ½ years and Mary Wambui 5 years old. The mother is an alcoholic and the father is a casual labourer. He would leave the children to roam about alone without food in the slum. Their security was at stake. The slum elders requested us to assist them. Ruth ensures that the father brings them to the centre when they are clean, that Mary goes to school and that they eat. These children are in great need of your support in order to make their future bright.
In the slum, there are some children who are neglected by their parents for many reasons including alcoholism. These children suffer greatly because their parents are not there for them. We have put some of these children under the care of mentor mothers.