Mothers are protective. They want their children to be successful. These qualities are part of a mother’s DNA. It was not any different with Stella Kimanthi back in 2014 when her daughter Stacey Ndung’u Masila scored 414 marks in her final Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE).

“Immediately, I asked myself, ‘Will I manage to pay her fees?’” Stella shares. Stacey had secured a placement at the prestigious and; one of Kenya’s top performing school, Precious Blood Riruta Girls Secondary School. Her school fees, upkeep, money for extra curricular activities and uniform was running into six figures.

“We are not a rich family. I am the one who earns a living for the family,” Stella,42 years, says. Stacey sat for KCPE at Thomas Burke Primary in Buru Buru, Nairobi. The school fees was not much of a problem at the time as both her parents were earning.

“My father lost his job when I was in class eight: my mother had to fend for us by herself,” she says. Stella says: “I told a few people about my predicament. Then someone, through a friend of a friend, sent me some forms to apply for a scholarship on behalf of my daughter.”

Stella filled out the forms and to her surprise and much relief, Stacey was selected to receive the Chandaria Foundation Education Scholarship grant.

The scholarship targets students in Form one for a maximum period of four years. It is managed by Kenya Community Develop- ment Foundation (KCDF) in conjunction with partner grassroots-level organizations coun- try wide.

In 2018, Stacey sat for her final Kenya Certifi- cate of Secondary Examinations (KCSE) and scored a mean grade of B (plain). Below, Stacey shares her story.

How did you learn of the Chandaria Ed- ucation Scholarship Programme?
My mother informed me that someone was willing to pay for my school fees. Later, I discovered that it was a scholarship paid for by Chandaria Industries through Kenya Community Development Foundation (KCDF).

What made you qualify for the scholarship?

I had performed well during my KCPE. However, my mother was not in a position to afford my secondary school fees. The initial shopping and preparation together with fee was close to Kes. 100,000. This was a lot of money considering that my mother still had to take care of my siblings, two brothers who are younger than me. Proceeding to secondary school became a real challenge.

Speaking of KCPE, how did you perform?
I would say I performed fairly well. I got 414 marks out of 500.

Had you not received the scholarship what would have happened?
If I did go to school, staying in school would have been a real struggle. I appreciate how the scholarship took care of my school fees. I was never sent home for fees and I do not take it for granted.

How much were you receiving from the scholarship?
Kes. 27,500 per year covering half the fee needed to keep me in school.

What career did you want to pursue in high school?
Initially, I wanted to be a doctor. Then later, I wanted to be a lawyer. However, in Form four, I realized that I loved home science.

Have you been called to join a university yet?
Yes. I have an admission letter to The Uni- versity of Nairobi to study Food Science and Technology. As I completed secondary school, I realized that I loved cooking and experimenting with food. I just want to try different ingredients and see what I come up with.

So, what do you see in your future?

My future has several stages. There is the four years in the university. I see myself graduating with a first class honours. After that, I see myself in a laboratory, working for a big food company. In 10 years, I will work with the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO). And if things go well, I will be running my own big company.