“My desire is that the education scholarship continues to support other needy students just as it supported me.”

“Since the time I started to receive the Chandaria education scholarship grant, I was never sent back home due to a lack of school fees. The scholarship was very helpful. It gave me a chance to fully concentrate on my studies” shares Naomi Moraa excitedly.

In September 2020, Naomi began pursuing her Bachelor of Science degree in Physiotherapy, a four-year course at Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology. For Naomi to get to this point in her study life, it has not all been rosy.

A last born in a family of four children, Naomi was born in 2001 and was brought up in the western part of Nairobi in Dagoretti. Since her childhood, Naomi’s mother has been a greengrocer while her father has been a storekeeper at a local university. Naomi attended Precious Talent Top School in Dagoretti from class one to class eight. “Growing up, life was a little bit difficult due to financial constraints. I went to a nearby private primary school, but my schooling was quite challenging as I would often be sent home for lack of school fees”, shares Naomi. Naomi’s family could only afford the basic needs and she is grateful that they never lacked a meal however, the aspect of being sent home for school fees made her unsettled.  “Whenever I would be sent home from school, I cried and felt bad as others were going on with the studies and here I was at home. Even when I was sent home, I would go with my books and keep reading so that I continue being at par with rest of my classmates”, recalls Naomi. The number of times Naomi was sent home were many, and she describes how she would see her parents do all their best to get her back to school including calling relatives for help. In moments like those, Naomi exercised patience in her waiting.  “In those moments, there was nothing I could do. I kept hope alive because I trust in God and would really pray”, shares Naomi.

Naomi kept working hard and was inspired by how industrious her parents were. “Every morning, I saw my mother waking up at 4am to go purchase the groceries for sale from the local market. I would tell myself, if my mother can wake up at 4am to go to the market, then I have no choice but to wake up and study”, explains Naomi.

Despite the challenges, Naomi managed to complete and score 413 marks out of 500 marks in her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) in the year 2015. During these formative years of her life, Naomi had already settled on three career options that she wanted to pursue in her future, which were to either to be a doctor, a lecturer or an engineer.

Naomi got invited to join Nakuru Girls High School which was her school of choice however the challenge of getting school fees was still at hand. “During the third term of my first year in high school, I was sent back home for school fees. At that time, I was so downcast that my grades dropped. I was at home for a period of two weeks”, shares Naomi.  During this period that Naomi was at home, her mother called Naomi’s cousin to explain the situation and it was through this cousin that Naomi was connected to Kenya Community Development Foundation (KCDF) which partners with Chandaria Foundation to offer partial secondary school scholarships to needy students. “We reached out to KCDF and explained my dire situation. I started receiving the education scholarship while in Form Two and from then on, I was never sent back home for school fees”, says a thankful Naomi. Through the Chandaria Education Scholarship programme, KCDF provides partial scholarship grants to students from vulnerable backgrounds to support them through their secondary school learning. It was through this scholarship, that Naomi got the opening to be one of the recipients. In addition to the partial scholarship, Naomi’s sister who had a salon business catered for part of her school fees coupled with proceeds from the grocery business Naomi’s mother ran. Naomi made up her mind to pursue medicine and really enjoyed the sciences as these were her gateway to pursue a career in the medical field. In 2019, Naomi sat for her Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations and scored an A- (minus) of 77 points.

Naomi had wanted to pursue medicine and surgery in university but the cut off points in her performance in some of the subjects barred her. She then chose to settle on a Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy degree which is still in the medical category. “At first, when we were introduced to the theoretical part of the course, I started having second thoughts about it but I’m now happy. We have started being posted for practical lessons in hospitals. Whenever patients especially the elderly complain of arthritis or back pains and I offer mobilization and exercises, I feel fulfilled when they leave feeling much better having assisted them relieve their pain”, shares Naomi happily.

Naomi says that her family is looking up to her to excel and her desire is to make them proud. To cater for her university school fees, she has got the support of the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) coupled with some loans her mother gets and the assistance of relatives. “ I really trust in God and don’t give up easily even though I go through financial difficulties. After completing university, I wouldn’t want to only settle for a degree. I plan to work as I also further my studies in medicine. I want to live and provide a better life for my children and family in future”, shares Naomi.

Naomi advises any individual who is going through a similar situation of having challenges with school fees like what she went through, to put in the work, have trust in God and keep hope alive. “The extent of appreciation I have, having received the education scholarship in my high school is so high and cannot be quantified as it really helped so much. I desire that the education scholarship continues to support other needy students just as it supported me”, says Naomi.