Chandaria Scholarship: Jacinta Mwendwa

What do you remember about growing up?

I grew up in Meru. I have been raised by my maternal grandmother since childhood. I studied in a public primary school in Meru. I performed well in my KCPE then we ran into financial challenges; my grandmother could not raise my secondary school fees where I had been called to Nkuene Girls High School. She asked me to stay at home for one term in order to raise money to take me to an affordable day school. Thankfully, my former class teacher in class eight introduced us to her friend in Riziki Kenya who upon seeing our need was able to present my case to KCDF earning me an opportunity to receive support for my secondary school through Chandaria fund. I was admitted in Makueni Girls High school, received support from form one to form four where I completed, and scored a B+ in my KCSE exams. I am now pursuing a Bachelor’s in Medical Laboratory Sciences at Mombasa Technical University.

Where are your parents?

Unfortunately, I never met my father. I know he is around somewhere, but I have never met him. I met my mother once back when I was in high school. I did not know she was my mother. She had come home, and I thought she was just another visitor until my grandmother later mentioned that she was my mother.

What was your feeling towards her?

I wasn’t bitter. I didn’t know her. I had grown up without her, therefore I didn’t have any feelings towards her. I know one day I will meet my father. I am sure he is alive somewhere.

How do you give back?

I have always been curious as to this organization that supported me through my schooling. I visited them and learnt more about what they do. I will definitely be contributing money to them when I start earning a salary. In the meantime, I spoke to my high school principal about mentoring girls in my former school and I have been doing that during my campus break. I was taught that if someone holds your hand, you have to hold two hands. Now I am in university, when I get back to the village I spend time with students, I talk to them about education and about life and I motivate them and give them hope. They want to be in university just like me. They want to follow in my footsteps and my success will be theirs.

What has all this taught you about life?

You need to be good to people because you don’t know your fate. I never dreamt of being supported or being in the place I am now, but it’s because of organizations and people like Manu Chandaria, KCDF and Riziki Kenya that I am here. It also helps if you are disciplined and humble. I want to support as many needy young people when I am in a position to, either financially or through mentorship. There are many young people with dreams, but their dreams are just wasting away because they do not have people to support them.

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