Lisa is originally from Kilifi, Kenya. In 2011 she received an Aiducation Scholarship. After doing her Bachelor in Kenya and working for some years, she started last year her Master in Switzerland. In the next few months, she will write some blogs about her impressive story. Today you can read about her life in Kenya before and after she got the Aiducation Scholarship. Enjoy the reading and look forward to the next blog posts from Lisa, where she talks about her life in University and coming to Switzerland.
(You can find Lisas first blog here: https://gyla.net/news/309637)
My name is Lisa Wanjala Mwaiseghe, a 27 year old girl from the coast of Kenya and this is my story of how the Aiducation scholarship turned my life around.
30th December 1993 at around 3am to what was later described to me as a long labor by my mum I joined the world in Kilifi hospital. I am the first born of two girls and as a complete nuclear family unit we are four. My dad was a pharmacist at Kilifi hospital (currently retired) and my mum at the time was a teacher in practice at a high school. As in most families in Kenya whenever you “make it” (in this context start to earn any amount or form of money) then you are expected to lift your extended family members up and this was the case for both my parents. To keep it short the little my parents earned sustained us and a good number of our relatives since both my parents are among the first children in their families.
Education was a really important factor for my parents and they really strived to ensure that my sister and I attended school. I attended my primary school in Mombasa and I definitely loved school, I enjoyed the interaction, the classes and the vast extracurricular activities. My grades were excellent if I do say so myself J and I also realized I liked to lead. For instance I was always the prefect or monitor in my class and I would even silence my classmates when the teacher was in class which now that I think about it was kind of annoying. However it was not a bed of roses, in my early primary I noted that at least twice a term I would be called to the principal’s office and have to go home with a letter. When I grew older is when I understood that my parents had an agreement with the school to pay my fee in installment and at times some installments would delay and that’s when I got “served”. At the time it was quite embarrassing but now looking back I am very humbled by my parents’ drive.
I sat for my KCPE (Kenyan national exam for final primary education) and I scored really well. When the government placement letters came in I was shocked at the school that I had been selected to attend. It was definitely a disappointment since I had worked so hard to get to a national school at the very least a provincial school. My parents through friends identified a school but the fees were quite high but again their drive for a firm foundation through school made them send an application and gathered school fees from where they could.
Joining high school was a different ball game, first and foremost the school I went to was a national school and it had students from various backgrounds but very intelligent students. The classes were good, the dormitories were excellent even the lawns were well trimmed. I did my best to absorb the culture shock and adjust really fast in order to quickly focus on my studies. The major challenge was I was struggling with fee payment and the constant being called in assembly among the list of students who are yet to finish paying fees and always being at the verge of being sent home was quite demoralizing to say the least.
Then as I was beginning form three (3rd year) something great happened my mum was told by one of our relatives about Aiducation International. She quickly jumped on it and we sent in my application and went for an interview this was during school holidays. As I was resuming school the following term I received the amazing news that I had gotten sponsorship and my fees would be paid in full. Now it is not possible to fully express the joy and relief that my family and I felt on this blog, but it was such marvelous news and it literally felt like a burden had been lifted. This is because the amount of sacrifice, debt, sweat and tears my parents went through to put me through the first years of high school was a lot. Therefore this scholarship for us was heaven sent. I am always grateful to the relative who informed us of the program and of course forever grateful to my sponsors Aiducation.
Going back to school knowing my fees were paid in full just put another level of bounce to my life, I even added a few items on my shopping list to be honestJ. I was able to fully concentrate on school, meaning I did not have this lingering feeling of how are we going to get fees, will my name be called out during assembly, will I miss classes or be sent home? I was able to be present in class, in the dining hall, in the dorm, during sports. I was just able to be present in the moment and engage, perform, work as best as I could. This was just the beginning of my Aiducation experience, I attended some amazing academies during school holidays held and sponsored by Aiducation and its partners. It was a different type of exposure, I met amazing students who were as well being sponsored by Aiducation from even much less privilege and their stories were amazing. I interacted with the Aiducation family that is the founders, employees both local and international and partners. They had so much knowledge and skill to impart and gave us a platform to share our ideas and entrepreneurial skills which for a good number of AiduAlumni have become great start ups. It was also a lot of fun and very many shared memories that I still carry and cherish to this date.
I was able to sit for my KCSE which was my final secondary examination and I scored really well. This warranted me a placement at a good university where I got a scholarship and fast forward I am currently in Switzerland pursuing my master’s. Again this bit is a whole other journey which I would definitely want to share in the next blog.
In conclusion Aiducation played and still plays a major role in my life. At the verge of despair I got hope, I honestly don’t think I would have completed school in time and at the very least with the grades I got were it not for the scholarship interception. Now looking back it was a ripple effect because the scholarship enabled me the peace of mind to focus on school, I attained good grades that got me a place and scholarship for my undergraduate degree and this gave me new levels of exposure that have since brought me to where I am currently and was privileged enough to visit the Aiducation Switzerland office and interact and personally thank the whole fraternity for the great opportunity. For me this is what they meant when they coined the term full circle.
Written by Lisa Wanjala Mwaiseghe