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Beaming with Hope

by John Otieno (United Kenya Rising)


Valentine rarely experienced a smooth childhood as a young girl. Her father passed on when she was young, leaving the family in turmoil. The father was a pillar of strength and a source of joy to the family. Valentine had developed a strong bond with her father and it was difficult to absorb the news that her father was no more. Valentine’s mother Caroline was suddenly alone in raising her girls.

Growing up it was always Valentine’s aspiration to have a colorful life and have a decent job that would enable her to raise the living standards at her family’s home. With her attributes of being a go-getter, versatile and a staunch believer that through hard work and prayer you can achieve a lot, she set out on a journey to transform her family’s situation with the education support she received from UKR.

Left with the responsibility to take care of the family, Valentine’s mother Caroline braved through the harsh circumstances she was living in to ensure her two girls had what they needed. Caroline admits it was strenuous to put food on the table and pay primary school fees, but all in all she is proud that she did all her best.

Being the bright and hardworking student Valentine is, she managed to produce a stellar performance after sitting for her final primary school exams at the end of 2017, resulting in being called to join an excellent public boarding school for girls.

The family’s appeal for help within their community came to the attention of United Kenya Rising, which enrolled Valentine for high school support. Valentine narrates that it was a defining moment in her life, a moment that lives in her heart forever.

“I was happy. My mother too was happy. Life changed greatly,” she recalls.

Through our Education Fund, Valentine was supported for four years in high school with fees, uniform, boarding requirements, and pocket money.

“The books helped me increase my knowledge, read further and stay ahead in class. I would use the pocket money to buy exercise books and pencils for my revision,” she narrates.

She states further that her mother played a huge role in her high school journey inspiring her to be focused and work on attaining her dreams.

“My mother would do manual jobs and topped up my pocket money which would help me while in school. She was my driving force. She wanted me to learn and go to greater heights academically,” she said.

Valentine attributes her success in high school to the support she received from UKR.

“While in grade 8, I didn’t envision my high school life running so smoothly. The support was a motivation factor. It gave me the urge to go to school, soar higher and help my family,” she adds.

Inspired to realize her dreams and with the aid of the support she received from UKR, Valentine performed extraordinarily well in her high school exit exams, receiving a “direct entry” to Kisii University. Valentine recently arrived on campus to begin a bachelor’s degree in Tourism and Hospitality Management. She says that she has dreamed of working in the hospitality sector for a long time.

Valentine’s family is not in a good place financially to support her university studies. The mother Caroline depends on farming indigenous vegetables for sale to put food on the table and provide other basic needs. The money she earns from the business is not enough to facilitate her daughter’s university education.

We are proud to be supporting Valentine’s university education with our Education Fund. We hope it will be a chance for her to step further towards realizing her career dreams and helping her mom and little sister.

“I want to change the situation at home, build my mother a nice house and enable her to live with dignity. I want to educate my younger sister so that she may be able to reach the same level of education as me,” she stated.

“In the next 5 years, I will have benefited a lot. My life will transform for good. I will be able to get a job and change my home.”.

                        Valentine at home.

Valentine with her mother and her little sister.

Valentine at home with her mother.

Valentine and family thrashing beans in November.

Valentine at home.

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