18 year old Cynthia, who joined KCE I as a fourth grader in 2010 and is now a member of our Network for Excellence program, was awarded a scholarship to study nursing next year at the University of Technology Sydney!
Cynthia is now our fourth KCE graduate to study abroad in Australia, and will join two former classmates at UTS next spring. Cynthia will continue to receive support from Kakenya’s Dream in collaboration with our phenomenal Australian partners the LBW Trust and Women for Change.
Before entering Kakenya’s Dream’s programs, Cynthia was living with her extended family in Isampin, a remote rural village in Southwestern Kenya where our KCE II campus is located. She remembers spending most of her time as a young child completing chores and doing farm work instead of going to school. When she was permitted to attend class by her family, school fees and tuition were often a major barrier. “I used to spend most of my school days at home due to lack of school fees. This really disheartened me, to a point where my grades started deteriorating,” she recalls.
As part of our mission at Kakenya’s Dream to meet the holistic needs of each student, we provide them with everything from tuition and school supplies to nutritious meals, healthcare, counseling services, and extraordinary teachers. After enrolling at KCE I, Cynthia remembers finally being able to focus on her studies for the first time in her young life, and she quickly began to excel. Reflecting on her time at KCE I, Cynthia says, “I started gaining my courage back. The teachers there encouraged me so much. I started excelling again in my academics, rising to become one of the top three students in my class.” Her high marks on her KCPE exams and her impressive academic performance at KCE I awarded her admission into one of the most prestigious high schools in Kenya, and now, into the University of Technology Sydney.
When she learned about receiving the scholarship to study in Australia, Cynthia says “At first the thought that I would leave my friends and that everything will be different brought about mixed feelings, but I am truly so excited I got the scholarship and will be able to learn more at a school as well-equipped as the university in Australia. I am so excited that I will actually be able to practice in my nursing career since I believe they have a lab and a hospital which I don’t have access to right now.”
When she shared the good news with her family, Cynthia says, “They were all so thrilled. My siblings were jumping around the whole day. My mother especially is so excited and so grateful to Kakenya’s Dream for making this happen. Any opportunities I get to further my education will be an investment in my community to help bring positive change and alter people’s mindset about educating and investing in girls.”
Cynthia has big dreams for her future. “My desire is to become an obstetrics and gynecology nurse. I want to help women in my community who often shy away from seeking medical attention when they face reproductive health complications due to stigma, fear of intimidation, or failure to get the best services at the nearby medical centers.”
After graduation, Cynthia says “I would like to build a health center in my community and offer the best services I can at affordable costs. I would also like to sponsor young children from humble backgrounds to achieve academic success. It is my hope that by being successful, the people from my community will pay more attention to education, especially for girls.”