Nelly Cheboi: Kenyan techpreneur named CNN Hero of 2022

Nelly Cheboi after being named CNN Hero of The Year. [Source: CNN]

Kenya’s Nelly Cheboi has won this year’s CNN Hero of the Year, an award that recognizes individuals who have an impact on society.

In 2019, Cheboi quit a lucrative software engineering job in Chicago to create computer labs for Kenyan schoolchildren.

According to CNN, online voters selected her from among this year’s Top 10 CNN Heroes.

While accepting her award, she was in the company of her mother.

“She worked really hard to educate us,” Cheboi noted.

In her acceptance speech, the mother and her daughter sang a song onstage that she explained had a special meaning when she was growing up.

Nelly Cheboi at Zawadi Academy in Mogotio, Baringo County on August 31, 2022. [Harun Wathari, Standard]

Cheboi will receive Sh1.2 million ($100,000) to expand her work, as the CNN Hero of the Year.

For attending the gala, the winner and the other top 10 CNN Heroes will receive Sh120, 000 ($10,000) cash award.

They will also get additional grants, organizational training, and support from The Elevate Prize Foundation through a new collaboration with CNN Heroes.

Nelly Cheboi, 29, was born and brought up in a poor family in Mogotio, Baringo County.

Her fortunes changed when she secured a scholarship through Zawadi Africa to study computer science at Augustana College in Illinois. She graduated in 2015.

Thereafter, she worked as a business analyst and lead software engineer for two US firms - New World Van Lines and User-Hero.

However, in 2019, she left all that behind and came back to her village, aiming at empowering her community borrowing from her experiences in the US.

Cheboi co-founded Technologically Literate Africa (TechLit Africa), a company that uses recycled computers to create tech labs in schools. She serves as its CEO.

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