“So She May Have A Better Life”: A Father-Daughter Story

Sixty-year-old Momposhi never went to school.

“I was a herd’s boy,” he says, “because my people and culture have always valued livestock. No one in my village valued education at the time, even for boys.” His family was also very poor, which made it even more challenging for him to go to school. “I became a moran (Maasai warrior), I married, and started family life,” he says. “I realized later in life that I had lost many opportunities because I did not go to school.” Today, Momposhi remains a herdsman and practices small-scale farming to support his family.

Linet is Momposhi’s third child. She attended the local primary school for first through third grade, but school fees were becoming too expensive. It seemed likely that she would leave school, undergo female genital mutilation, and marry like her older sisters and most other girls her age. In fact, Momposhi was in support of that future for Linet. It was tradition in the community, and for a long time, he saw no need to stray from it. After all, a girl’s rightful place is in the home, not in school, he believed. 

Things changed, however, when Linet was selected to be one of the first girls to attend the Kakenya Center for Excellence (KCE I) in 2009. Since then, Kakenya’s Dream has supported her education. At first, Momposhi protested Linet’s education, deeming it unnecessary. But as we called on him to attend parent-teacher conferences and engage with our work, he began to see his daughter’s extraordinary academic promise and her genuine excitement for learning. His perspective began to shift.

Over the years, Linet’s hard work and academic success have taken her far. In 2013, her excellent test scores earned her a spot at one of Kenya’s top high schools. She was also selected to meet former U.S. President Barack Obama when he visited Kenya in 2015. Linet graduates from high school this year and will attend university in Australia in 2018.

Today, Momposhi is overwhelmed with pride and gratitude for his daughter. “Because of Kakenya’s Dream, Linet has an opportunity for a better life,” he says. Momposhi now believes it is important to educate all children, including girls, because they can perform well, make informed life decisions, and be successful. “Education allows girls to have careers they dream of, such as pilots, teachers, doctors and engineers,” he says. “Education also gives dignity and honor because in our society, because educated women are respected.”

Momposhi says he can already see the impact of his daughter’s education in the community. “I am proud of my daughter,” he says. “Through her hard work, Linet has because a source of inspiration, not only to her siblings, but also to many young girls here in the village. She has become a role model just like her own role model, Dr. Kakenya!”


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