Meet Ester, one of our recent graduates

Ester grew up in a family of seventeen kids (yes 17). Her father had two wives. Her mum, the 2nd wife had 9 kids. Her stepmother had 8.She started school when she was 6, however, her mother, who struggled to feed her family by working as a casual farm laborer for less than $2.00 a day when work was available during planting and harvest season, struggled to pay Ester’s school fees as her father gave no support. Ester feels as though she was raised by a single parent. For her mother, affording food was not easy and she remembers her and her siblings going without a meal often during her childhood.
While still in primary school Ester became pregnant. Fearing that her dad would kill her and beat her mother, she ran away. She stayed with her aunt until she gave birth. After her son was born her aunt revealed her secret to her father, as the family didn’t know if she was alive or dead. A year later she returned to her village and convinced her mother to take care of her son while she went back to school. In African society, when a girl gives birth out of wedlock, that’s the end of her education. Usually, she’s forced to marry a much older man. Fortunately for Ester, her father was out of the district at the time of her return to her village. Her dad certainly didn’t understand her desire to continue her education. He started beating her mother, saying that she was making a business (prostitution) out of his daughter. Her mother faced difficulties, but stood firmly with her daughter, insisting that she at least complete her primary school education.

In 2013 Ester sat for her final primary school exams. She then worked as a house girl for 6 months to save enough money to pay for school fees and books for Form One. Life was not easy as a young mother and first-year high school student. She would go to school, and in the evening go to a farm to plant vegetables to support her family. During the holidays she worked as a housegirl to earn fees for the next term.In 2014 she went to Nairobi to live with her uncle, who promised to pay her school fees. During the day she went to school. However, in the evening she functioned as a house girl, working late into the evening as her uncle’s unpaid help.By the 2016 third term, her uncle felt that she should stay at home without going to school and be his full-time house girl, believing that it was a waste of money to educate a single mother. She started looking for laundry jobs, found a woman who would pay her $1.40 a day, worked for 6 weeks, and saved the 5,000K/-,  $50.00 to pay her school fees.Her first job after high school graduation was in Nairobi as a house girl. Needing to earn more money to send home, her 2nd job was as a waitress. However, after 3 months of receiving no salary, she had to resign.

She then found a job as a waitress in a small restaurant. She was able to earn enough money to rent a small iron sheet house in the sprawling slum area of Nairobi for $5.00 US. a month and become independent. Not unlike many bright, hardworking young women such as Ester, this was beginning to appear to be the future of struggle, poverty, and hardship that would be her life.
In July 2019 Ester was accepted into our free, one-year vocational training course at Kijiji Mission.
Ester recalls the life-changing day she received the phone call informing her that she had been accepted into our program.   “I can’t wait to experience every amazing opportunity thislife-changing course has to offer me. This is a dream come true!”
After graduation, through our network of contacts, Ester was offered a position at a curtain manufacturing company. She now has the future of her dreams.  She can support herself and her son, pay for her son’s education and send money home to her mother to help support and pay for her younger siblings’ education.
A couple of Ester’s first job assignments.
We’re so proud of you Ester for your hard work, determination, and commitment to your personal success,and your love, and dedication to your family.