We couldn’t be more excited to have Margie be part of the Moja Tu Team based in Kenya. We wanted to share her amazing story with you, learn more about why being part of Moja Tu touches her deeply and most importantly why she wants to pay it forward.
Margie was born to a family of peasant farmers and was raised by her grandmother along with her five siblings. Unfortunately, this situation was not giving her much hope for a bright future. Her mother was the first born in her family and had left in search for work to another town. During her journey, she got re-married and concentrated on her new family. Sustaining their household was top of mind, chores were broken up amongst the children. Margie’s duties were to take care of household chores including fetching water, fetching firewood, cleaning dishes, sweeping the house and the compound as well as cooking for seven people every day.
She went to a primary school near her village where she looked to her school teachers as mentors and was hoping to be like them when she grew up. She was surrounded by kids who cam from traditional family structures, they had a mother and a father. As a result, Margie felt left out and didn’t have many friends.
Every time the school head teacher came to the assembly grounds in the morning and announced those with school fees that were past due, given her circumstance, she knew that she would be on the list and would not manage to meet the due date given her grandmother’s limited financial situation. Once that due date came to be, she would be sent home until the fees were paid. It would typically be one or two weeks before the funds became available, the fees would be paid and then she would go back to school and try to catch up as much as possible. Even with all these challenges, she consistently managed to be top of her class.
Being able to perform in her academics gave her hope that despite her situation, she was capable of great things. She managed to score highly in the KCPE examinations which resulted in her being admitted to join a top performing school. Unfortunately, this was just an invitation, she still needed the funds to pay for the school. She never dreamt of leaving her village, but this was an opportunity she didn’t want to pass up. Given her financial challenges, she repeated the 8th grade in hopes of a miracle to get her to high school. During this time, a group of donors were visiting her village and helping build new classrooms in her primary school. The head teacher let these generous donors know about Margie’s situation and they wanted to help make a difference in her life. They were able to divert part of their funds to provide sponsorship to JUST ONE child and that would be Margie. This was great news for Margie, however, the funds would only cover the school fees, so she still had many challenges in getting the additional funds to pay for transportation to school and all the supplies that were mandatory for a student to bring along. As a result, she was not able to go her first semester because she was unable to raise the money needed to bring the required items to school including a metal trunk, a pair of bed sheets and blankets, a mattress, socks, shoes, toothpaste and other items. The school principal alerted the donors and once again they came to her rescue. They provided the additional funding and she was able to head into school for the second semester.
During her stay at high school, which is a boarding school in Kenya, the culture shock that found her was unbearable. At school, language was quickly a challenge, Swahili and English were the only languages spoken, but Margie had only ever written in those languages and was not fully fluent as they spoke a different dialect in her village. Aside from the language barrier, there was a cultural shock where all the children were so clean and well dressed, she had a hard time coming to terms with how that was possible. Her friends from the rural areas already had a semester under their belt, so they were adapted culturally, so she needed to catch up quickly and get with the program. Margie was so small, it took longer than usual to get a uniform that would properly fit her, so she was left with the green dress that she came to school with and this didn’t help with her integration with the other students. During these times, she felt like running away, giving up hope and escaping back to her comfort zone in her village. She dug deep and by the end of the second semester, she was able to adapt, getting her new uniform helped build her confidence that she was just like all of the other girls. It was the start of her realization that she needed to work diligently to make something of herself and as a result, she was a top performing student all the way through graduation and was able to join a public university on a Government sponsored program.
One child at a time. It may sound like a small drop of help but the difference it makes is immeasurable. The number of children who are out there lacking someone to support them, like Margie was at one time. These children lack confidence and belief that there is someone out there that is routing for them, someone telling them “there is hope, you are capable, you can do it”. Some lack a new uniform that can boost their confidence to higher levels, it could be lack of a mattress or guidance on how to use a toothbrush, or even a new pair of shoes.
“Moja Tu is such a blessing to the lives of children. It is a great thing to make future generations better so that they will in turn empower their own families and others in need. When you empower one child you empower a whole family and thus a nation, creating a sustainable future. What a better way than education, changing one child’s life at a time. God Bless Moja Tu”.