Three defy old age to obtain TVET skills

Cecily Wanjiru, 60, a mother of three, joined the institute at the age of 56 years. [iStockphoto]

Sixty-six-year-old Simon Ndirangu, fondly nicknamed Mzae by his classmates, is a father of five. But he is back to class after 45 years of missing his formal education.

Njuguna, who dropped out of school in Form Three, had dreams of acquiring a degree in electrical engineering.

“I could not go on with my education since my parents could not afford money for my education, I started farming but it was not profitable as the farming inputs were very expensive,” he said.

He joined Mukurweini Technical Training Institute, Nyeri, near his home in 2019 at the age of 62 after spending more than four decades as a peasant farmer.

Ndirangu completed his course two years later.

”After spending so many years doing farming, I decided to look for a school to learn a course that could help me earn a living. Luckily, despite my age, I was admitted at the Mukurwe-ini Technical and started my certificate in electrical engineering,” he said.

Ndirangu had to balance between family responsibilities and school work and, at times, it was hard for him to concentrate after spending many years out of the classroom.

“I was never embarrassed about being the oldest student in my class. Most of my classmates were in their early 20 years, but they were so respectful and encouraged me to work hard. The tutors were also friendly,” he said.

His story echoes that of Joseph Wambugu, who joined the institution in 2019 to pursue a diploma in masonry, after former MP Kabando wa Kabando paid his tuition fee through the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NGCDF) kitty.

Wambugu,48, graduated in the first cohort of the institution in May 2023.

"It was tough but one the tutors were friendly one of them gave me a bicycle because my home is far from the school and I had to commute to daily,"Wambugu said.

Cecily Wanjiru, 60, is  a mother of three, who also joined the institute at the age of 56 years.

Wanjiru had started her education normally but her education journey came to an end in 1976 after she fell sick and became disabled.

“I remember I wanted to work and be a breadwinner for my family and 13 siblings but my dreams were shuttered after I fell sick and was admitted in hospital for nine months,” she said.