I worked hard to save family from slum life

Wednesday, May 12th, 2021 00:00 |
Judith Atieno, left, with her auntie Josephine Adhiambo at Kiandutu slums in Thika, Kiambu county, yesterday. Photo/PD/Mathew Ndung’u

For 19-year-old Judith Atieno, hailing from the sprawling Kiandutu slums in Thika, Kiambu county could not deter her from being among the best performing students in the country in the 2020 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams results released on Monday.

Atieno, whose mother is a fish vendor at the informal settlement beat abject poverty among other challenges to score grade A (minus) of 74 points.

According to her, managing to pay her school fees at Ng’araria Girls High School in Kandara, Murang’a County was a daunting task.

Her resilience, determination, hard work and desire to get her parents out of poverty, however, could not hold her back to working extra hard that saw her excel in the examinations whose results were announced yesterday by Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha.

“The picture of my mother selling fish during the rainy season and preserving them in a cooler box couldn’t get out of my mind and this served as a great motivation to me that propelled me to the success I am celebrating today,” she said.

Atieno, who wants to pursue medicine at the University of Nairobi, thanked her mother for struggling to get her through education and vowed to continue shining in her academics to better her life alongside that of her parents.

Josphine Adhiambo, who was with Atieno during our interview as her mother had gone to look for fish in Nairobi, said they received the news of her good performance with excitement and joy.

“It was a reward of her hard work. The girl used to spend the night studying and you could hardly see her wasting time unnecessarily.

We thank God for her performance and, indeed, education offers equity because if otherwise, poverty would not have allowed it to happen,” said Adhiambo.

Kiandutu residents led by Njoroge Wanja, a Moi University graduate and a youth leader in the slum said Atieno’s performance was a clear indication that regardless where a child comes from, they can always achieve their ambitions in life.

“I have been there before and I made it. Today, Atieno has reassured the world that something good can come out of a slum and it’s indeed true that no dream is unachievable regardless of where we comes from,” said Njoroge.

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