My name is Emerculate Atieno Agwenge.
I come from a small village in the western part of Nyanza called Dago.
I was raised by my grandmother after my dad died in 2004. My mother left us soon after our father’s dead and we have not heard from her in 17 years. We are assuming that she is dead. Childhood was very challenging for me and my siblings. We had to look after ourselves, prepare and go to school ourselves since our guardian grandmother was totally blind and couldn’t help us much.
Despite all these challenges, I finished my Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) in 2010, scoring 347 marks, which got me an invitation to a good secondary school. I was however unable to join secondary education because we simply could not afford the fees. Thus, I had to stay home with my grandmother and look after her and my siblings.
In 2012 my luck changed. I met an organization called TaC and presented my case in an interview in front of their committee. I was accepted into the sponsorship program and went on to register in Nyamira Girls Secondary School.
TaC paid all my fees, provided regular pocket money and also paid transportation back home, when schools were closed. After only one year at secondary school, in August 2013, I lost my grandma. I had to send my siblings away to stay with relatives, because I was at school myself and could not look after them.
My aunt became our next guardian and when school was closed I could stay at her place in Bondo. I completed my secondary education in 2015 with grade A-, which meant I qualified for university straight. I am glad my aunt saw me finish school. She died soon after on January 1st, 2016.
TaC helped me to transition to university by providing me with a bridge loan and I was able to join Kenyatta University to pursue a Bachelor in Public Health. While at university, I set up a small shop near campus to earn some money for my upkeep and to support my two siblings. My younger sister, who had to stay with a relative in Mathare slum, missed out on school so often that her results were too low to take her any further. Today, she stays with me and works in my shop, which is steadily expanding. My shop has a name: it’s kibanda, which means "hut“.
I graduated from Kenyatta University on Dec 16th 2022, with a second class honour upper division in public health!
I am grateful to TaC for their emotional and financial support, which has enabled me to pursue my dreams of becoming a public health officer. I want to thank our TaC alumni coordinators and the TaC committees, who are always here for us. They would always respond to our calls, emails, messages on social media etc., lending us a listening ear when we needed them. Am forever grateful. For me, you are more than sponsors. You are like the parents we never had – parents that we can reach for advice and guidance. I want to especially thank TaC Nairobi coordinator Madam Margaret Oriaro.