Nancy, 16, hails from Isampin, where her parents are small-scale farmers with no formal education. Nancy is the oldest of five siblings— two in high school and three in primary school.
Nancy says she was desperate to join KCE, having heard what the schools offer to their students. She explains, “Girls whom I know at KCE spoke about many things they were being taught, such as child rights, self-defense, and career mentorship. The girls at KCE were also getting free menstrual hygiene supplies which are very hard to come by in the village. I really wanted to learn such things and to be in a boarding school.”
Prior to joining KCE, Nancy studied at Enoosaen Complex Academy, nearly five miles (seven km) away from her home. Because the academy was a day school and not a boarding school, almost 10 miles of walking to get there and back every day was exhausting. She says, “It was a good school, but I would often be sent home for being unable to pay school fees, making it difficult for me to concentrate on my studies.”
Nancy sat for her national eighth grade exams (KCPE) in 2019, hopeful to gain a spot in our new ninth grade class at KCE II when the COVID-19 pandemic began. She found herself idle at home after the government closed schools for most of 2020 to mitigate the spread of the virus.
During the break, she befriended a boy who began misleading her about the fate of education in Kenya. She recalls, “The boy had a way of describing how education in the country was crumbling. He said there was no way schools would be reopened anytime soon due to COVID-19. He would refer to announcements being made in the news and it really scared me.”
After enduring the stressful COVID-19 school closures, joining KCE II when schools reopened in 2021 came as a blessing, Nancy explains. When she first reported to school, she says she immediately sought guidance from our school counselor to ease her stress. “During orientation, we were introduced to the school counselor. It came at a perfect time for me. I immediately held a session with her and my issues were solved. It is one of the reasons I consider KCE II a perfect home for me.”
Nancy says she is inspired by Mercy Kosencha, Kilgoris-based advocate of the high court in Kenya, and is hopeful she will become a lawyer too in the future. She explains, “I was motivated by an experience where my neighbor lost land to a private developer. He could not afford to pay legal fees to defend the case. I want to be able to offer free legal services to the vulnerable in my community.”