Moja Tu

Meet Penina: Education is Opportunity!

As one of our first students to graduate from a higher education program, Penina’s success after college has always been of utmost importance to us. Though she transitioned out of our program over a year ago, we have constantly checked in with Penina to see how she was doing. We were constantly following up with her with questions such as “Do you have a job? Are you making and saving money? Are you happy with what you’re doing?”

We’re happy to share that our last check in with Penina demonstrated that she is now fully independent and forging her own path. Though her career has not gone the direction she expected it to, Penina has adjusted beautifully. She recently shared with us the ways in which education has helped her become an independent young adult:

“Hello, my name is Penina. I am 21 years old and have been a part of the Moja Tu family since 2016. When I first joined Moja Tu, I was at my lowest point in many ways. My family had no money to pay for my school fees, and I had no confidence or self-esteem. Luckily, Moja Tu stepped in to help me go on to college. Moja Tu gave me a chance I needed to improve my life, and I will be forever grateful for that.

I wear many hats in my career.I earned a certificate in hospitality, and I wanted to be a chef in school. However, once I graduated and began looking for jobs, I wasn’t able to find steady work in the restaurant business. So, I taught myself a skill I had always been interested in: graphic design. Now, I work for a branding company here in Kenya as a designer. I am learning so much from this company about branding and signage, as well as many other aspects of marketing. I also work at a restaurant once a week as a cook and waiter, and I’ve even been doing some digital marketing for the restaurant. Recently I’ve also ventured into events planning and hosting, and during my free time I take online tutorials on Programming C and C++. I want to create an app at some point, so having knowledge about programming is essential. Truly, education never stops, even after you graduate!

To whom much is given, much is expected. I have already been able to help my family by paying for my younger sister’s school fees, and I will be doing the same for my brother when he starts high school next year. I also help out my mother financially. I am so happy to be in a position to help my family live more comfortably, and I am not afraid of the hard work it takes. In a few years I plan to come back to Moja Tu and sponsor a few kids myself. For now though, I’ll stick to helping them with any questions they have about their school work and graphic design.

As I continue to grow as a professional and build my career, I know I’ll never forget Moja Tu. My sponsors took me in and truly made me feel like part of the Moja Tu family. Whenever I come to help at the Dream tutoring sessions, I see the love and compassion the students and Moja Tu staff have for each other. It’s a reminder that family is not always just blood, and that we should love people as they are. Love is the greatest gift we can give to each other.

To the younger students in Moja Tu now, here’s what I’d like to say: anything is possible. Absolutely anything. Whatever you want to be in your life, you can do it. Even if you don’t think the career you want exists yet, keep working for it. If you combine creativity and hard work, you will amaze yourself. Another thing to remember is that when you’re in school, you only have one job: to get your education. Focus on that – when you give something 100%, you get 100% back.

For the college and university students: don’t get stuck on one thing. Explore, don’t be afraid to try new things, make sure you work on yourself, and learn a new skill every day. Be versatile.

For those working on their attachment or looking for a job: remember that someone, somewhere, is always watching you. Don’t be choosy, and always give your job your all, even if it’s simply sweeping the floors. Every job is a chance to learn, and each one can turn into an even better opportunity.

Everyone in Moja Tu is so lucky to have this chance to continue their education. We won’t waste this opportunity to improve our futures. Thank you, Moja Tu!”

Gabi