We’ve all groaned at the thought of having to go to school in the early morning and repeat the mundane process of government-issued education. But what if going to high school wasn’t required and not many of our peers got the chance to attend?
Beverline is a form three (9th grade) student at Nile Road Secondary School in Nairobi, Kenya. Our 16-year-old YTF student admits that “the hardest thing I have ever had to do is go to high school … and I did it eventually because my desire to learn was greater.” She has taken the reins of her passion and looks to the future with hope in technology.
Similar to the college experience in the U.S., where the wealthy have the opportunity to continue their education, going to high school in Kenya is a luxury. Beverline’s desire to learn was greater than any hardship high school could throw at her both from her external circumstances and her inner fear.
Of the youth in Kenya, students like Beverline who attend high school are a minority. “Over a quarter of young people have less than a lower secondary education and one in ten did not complete primary school,” according to World Education News and Review. Even before YTF, Beverline “always had passion for computers and their applications.” The mountain of difficulties that stand in her way don’t stop Beverline from continuing her education.
Big name issues such as racism, poverty, gender inequality, and low graduation rates hover over Beverline’s home in Nairobi. But the trouble comes too close for comfort when her friends drop out of school because their parents couldn’t afford the fees or when her own neighbors don’t have access to basic human rights, like shelter. “My community is deprived of proper housing standards,” says Beverline. The environment she lives in doesn’t exactly provide a road to success. Then Beverline has to undergo the usual nerves everyone experiences of meeting new people and worrying about the regular concerns of schoolwork and drama.
While responsibilities in the traditional sense are often reserved for adult life, many burdens are often left on the shoulders of society’s youth. Through her personal ambitions, relations, and knowledge, Beverline takes on the burden of responsibility in exchange for a future of possible success. Since her participation with YTF in April 2015, Beverline has seen many changes in her life. Her friends have gained interest in the program, she has mentored her sister and cousins on overcoming life challenges, and her family is ecstatic with her engagement in education.
Beverline revealed that her “family is happy that during the holidays I am actively engaged in the programs that are beneficial to me in the future and that can help me make money if I was able to apply them productively.”
No matter how great the challenge, what matters in the end is how great the effort and how many educational resources are provided. The turmoil of fighting your difficult surroundings shows how education is key to fulfilling your dreams. This techie-extraordinaire wants to be an IT expert and looks up to television anchor and renowned journalist in Kenya, Lilian Muli. Beverline loves Lilian’s confidence and wants to exhibit the same composure in real life. Her journey is just starting out, but the possibility for success is there. If you want to help Beverline and girls like her achieve their dreams, there are many ways to show support. There are volunteer opportunities and donation alternatives. Even keeping updated on the YTF story and spreading awareness helps more than you know.
“The price of greatness is responsibility.”-Winston Churchill