In the heart of Nairobi and Bungoma Counties, two inspiring individuals, Mercyline Mokeira and John Wekesa, have defied the odds to achieve their dreams through determination, resilience, and unwavering commitment to education.
Mercyline Mokeira was born in December 2002, in Mukuru slum, Nairobi County where she grew up in an area plagued by insecurity.
In a community where safety was a constant concern, Mercyline had to brave the early morning hours to make her way to school.
The streets may have been shrouded in darkness, but her inner light burned brightly, pushing her forward with the belief that education was her ticket to a brighter future.
Mercyline's journey to school was far from ordinary.
Every morning, she would say a silent prayer, seeking protection during her journey.
The shadows of insecurity lingered, but her determination overpowered her fears. She recalls, "Every morning before I went to school, I would say a prayer to God to keep me safe. The place we lived had a lot of insecurities, but I was willing to take the risk just to get an education. It was difficult, but He kept me safe." she told The Standard.
Financial difficulties compounded her challenges. With an unemployed mother and a father working as a casual labourer, there was no stable source of income to rely on.
Paying for primary school fees became a constant struggle, leading to occasional missed school days.
However, she managed to get a sponsorship through the support of the school she attended at the time, Bridge School Kwa Reuben.
In 2016, Mercyline took her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) at Bridge International Academies (Kwa Reuben) and achieved an impressive score of 394 marks.
Her academic excellence earned her a place at Sironga High School, in Kisii County where she continued her educational journey.
In 2021, Mercyline achieved another significant milestone when she sat for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) and obtained a remarkable mean grade of B+(Plus).
With her sights set on a future that would enable her to contribute meaningfully to her community, she made the inspiring decision to study Geospatial Information Science at Masinde Muliro University in Kakamega County.
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At the university, Mercyline's horizons expanded as she interacted with people from diverse backgrounds.
She shared her motivation, saying, "My inspiration to pursue Geospatial Information Science comes from my desire to create positive change and make a difference in my community. By studying this field, I hope to harness the power of geospatial information to address challenges in my community, including security issues and resource allocation."
Meanwhile, in Bungoma County, John Wekesa, born in 2003 as the last born in a family of five, faced his share of challenges.
His father worked as a Boda Boda rider, and his mother was a farmer.
Despite the scarcity of opportunities, John held onto the belief that education was his ladder to a better life, not just for himself but for his family as well.
In 2016, John sat for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) at Bridge International Academies, Kanduyi in Bungoma County, achieving an impressive score of 390 marks.
Yet, the road to higher education was paved with obstacles that seemed insurmountable. Financial constraints threatened to bind his dreams, but John's spirit remained unbroken.
He managed to join Butula Boys High School in 2017.
"When I completed my KCPE exams, I wasn't sure how my parents would manage to pay for my school fees. With the little they made and me having to work on the farm during the holidays, we managed," John shared.
In 2020, John sat for the KCSE exams and scored an impressive B+; guaranteeing him a university spot under government sponsorship and choosing to study Education Science at Egerton University in Nakuru.
John's inspiration to pursue Education Science emerged from a place of empathy and understanding. He had experienced firsthand the transformative power of education in his own life and recognized the potential to ignite that spark in others.
"I enjoy being at the university. I feel like my dreams are within reach, being the first in my family to pursue a university degree, I know I am carving a path for others to follow," he noted.
These stories of Mercyline and John are a testament to the power of determination, resilience, and the belief that education can pave the way to a brighter future, despite the challenges they have faced.
Their journeys serve as a source of inspiration for others to overcome adversity and pursue their dreams.