Jackson’s Story

Because of the expense and the intensive human resources involved, we can’t afford post secondary education for the students in our School Sponsorship program. College and university is not free in Kenya. But we do commit to putting them through high school. Where we can provide reasonable assistance beyond that ... we’ll do our best. We’ve had three high school graduates from that program so are. Here we share one of their stories.

Jackson is 21 years old. He graduated high school in 2013. He quickly learned the value of his “Kenya Secondary School Education” certificate. Without one, he couldn’t even apply for the cashiers jobs at the local supermarket. In Kenya, high school graduates wait about three months for their results. That meant waiting til February for Jackson.

During that time, he worked informally at the local “mitumba” market (that’s used clothing from western nations that gets distributed by brokers to market sellers around Africa). Once he had his official certificate in hand, Jackson started looking for a better job. In November 2014, he successfully sat for an interview with a large telecom company. The interview was in Nairobi and Elimu assisted him with the fare to get there and back.

Today, he spends his mornings cycling around the Malindi area distributing cell phone credit for resale to a variety of small and medium-size businesses. Elimu also assisted with a good quality refurbished mountain bike (for $120). His transportation is key to getting ahead in his new job.

He’s on commission so he works hard each day to reach as many shops as possible and gets out early in order to be the first at their door. His monthly earnings just allow him to pay his rent and look after his basic living expenses. He tightens his belt in order to put aside some cash to pay for a driving course and German lessons.

He knows the more skills he can gain the better his chances of getting a better job in future or even starting his own business. He hopes to open a shop like those he serves at the moment offering cell phones, accessories and phone credit.

Jackson’s hopes for a secondary school education fell through when his single Mum became seriously ill and passed away in 2011, his Form 2 year (that’s the equivalent of Grade 10). Someone in his community tried to keep him at school after that but could only manage a few months. His younger sister was taken in by relatives, but Jackson was left on his own. He continued to live at the home his Mum had rented for them, cooking and cleaning for himself. Another relative helped pay the rent, but couldn’t also cover school fees. It looked like he’s have to drop out.

Around that time, he met Nina Chung, Elimu Founder, and told her his story. Elimu covered his school fees arrears, paid is ongoing fees and kept him in school. Jackson is a great example to the other students in our programs. He’s kindly agreed to allow us to share his story. We are proud of him and we’re so thankful for the support we received that allowed us to make the difference in his life.

Thank you for your support!