As we approach the season of giving thanks, it is a great time to stop and reflect on those who run our Kenya office. We want to share the stories of Maria, Edwin, and Esther—individuals whose journeys began as beneficiaries of Moja Tu’s educational scholarships and have evolved into integral roles within the organization.
Meet Esther: Nurtured by Moja Tu, Transforming Lives in Return
Esther’s journey with Moja Tu is a tapestry woven with threads of education, gratitude, and transformation. From a beneficiary to a vital member of the Kenya team, her story embodies the essence of Moja Tu’s mission.
In 2016, Esther’s chapter with Moja Tu began when she became a sponsored student. The program supported her through university, and in 2019, she received a degree in economics and finance. As a university student, she took on the role of team lead, which included mentoring other students and engaging in light finance-related duties, a precursor to her future responsibilities.
After working two years in a government institution, Esther’s journey took another turn when Moja Tu’s CEO, Kathy Kempff, extended an invitation to join the organization as a full-time employee. Esther’s motivation to accept was twofold: a readiness to take on new challenges and a deep-seated desire to give back to the organization that had played a defining role in shaping her life.
As the Director of Finance and Operations, Esther’s role is crucial in ensuring the financial engine of Moja Tu runs smoothly. From aligning finances to presenting reconciled books of account to the CEO, her meticulous efforts contribute to the organization’s overarching goal of providing educational opportunities to students.
“My education is solely owed to Moja Tu,” Esther emphasizes. “Without this scholarship, I would not have had the opportunity to go to school.” Her exposure to working with diverse teams has boosted her confidence and broadened her horizons, not just academically but also in her career.
Being a part of an organization that is changing lives is an honor for Esther. Her experience of coming from an underprivileged background fuels her passion for making a difference. She believes Moja Tu is changing not just lives but entire generations.
Esther extends heartfelt thanks to her sponsors, Teri and Ron, acknowledging them as a source of strength and inspiration. She also appreciates her employers, Kathy and Michael, for creating an environment where she enjoys her job and life.
Meet Edwin: A Tale of Transformation with Moja Tu
“Moja Tu came into my life at a time when I was in despair about my dream of going to university,” Edwin reflects.
Edwin’s trajectory shifted dramatically, and as he graduated from university and secured a job, the transformative power of education became evident. Even as he stepped into the professional realm, Edwin’s connection with Moja Tu remained steadfast, as he volunteered his time to give back to the organization that had changed his life.
“When I was asked to join the organization in a full-time role, I didn’t even think twice. This is one organization I believed in, and being a beneficiary, I knew this is where I needed to be,” Edwin states with conviction.
As the Director of Programs and Operations, Edwin plays a pivotal role within Moja Tu. He sits on the Student Sponsorship Committee, overseeing the application process and conducting home validations. His responsibilities include coordinating the Moja Tu Mentorship Program, nurturing partnerships, and identifying new initiatives in collaboration with the teams in Kenya and the US.
Edwin acknowledges that the Moja Tu scholarship not only provided financial support for his education but also exposed him to diverse people and perspectives, inspiring him to dream big.
“Moja Tu is a community,” Edwin emphasizes. “Being a member of this wonderful community provides one with various resources, notably human resources. For example, I never have to worry about looking for an IT specialist; they are a phone call away as we have students taking IT-related courses.”
Expressing gratitude, Edwin acknowledges the pivotal role his sponsor and champion, Monique Cabano, played in his life, as well as Kathy and Michael, for their dedication to mentoring and nurturing young leaders.
Meet Maria: From Beneficiary to Changemaker
Maria’s journey with Moja Tu started in 2018. Before then, she had given up on her dream to attend university and worked in menial labor jobs to help her mother financially.
“Moja Tu changed my life. I got the chance to continue my education and pursue my dreams,” Maria reflects.
During her university years, Maria worked as a team lead, collaborating closely with the Head of Marketing and Communications on Moja Tu’s marketing initiatives. It was here that Maria discovered her passion for writing and marketing, skills that would later open the door to a new chapter in her life.
Upon graduation, Kathy recognized Maria’s talent and dedication and offered her a role within Moja Tu’s marketing department. Motivated by the transformative impact Moja Tu had on her life, Maria embraced the opportunity to give back and be part of a team striving to make a difference in the lives of students.
Maria wears many hats in her role—managing social media, overseeing the marketing team, creating content, and maintaining the website. Her efforts play a vital role in bringing visibility to Moja Tu’s mission of providing educational opportunities to underprivileged students.
Maria acknowledges the profound impact Moja Tu’s scholarship program had on her life, empowering her as a woman and providing the means to help support her family. The connections she formed with her sponsor, Brenda, and the wider Moja Tu community have been invaluable.
“It’s truly amazing because every day, I witness how Moja Tu is changing lives.” Maria says with a smile, “I can’t believe I am part of the incredible team that supports the students in their academic and personal lives.”
Edwin, Esther, and Maria’s journey from students to dedicated team members is a testament to the transformative power of education and the unwavering support of organizations like Moja Tu. Their stories illustrate that with the right opportunities and support, lives can be changed, dreams can be realized, and a ripple effect of positive change can be set in motion.