It breaks my heart every time I look at the smiles on the faces of family, friends, and students who score straight A’s. I wish they could fast-forward their lives so they can see the realities ahead of them. I grew up in a remote village, managed to score a straight A and top my district becoming the first person in my family to go to the university.
As a young girl, I dreamt of studying in a particular Kenyan university and becoming an electrical engineer. I was over the moon when I learned I had scored an A and secured admission to the university of my dreams to pursue engineering.
Time through university was full of promise. Being a female student in electrical engineering I was admired by colleagues and everyone at the faculty. Nobody in my class imagined life after campus would be a struggle.
Five months into job searching after graduation I enrolled to study some certifications and later landed a job in IT. However as is the norm, most employers are looking for top talent to exploit at the lowest pay possible. This dawned on me within a few months of working. I left the company in search of greener pastures abroad.
I am currently in the Middle East working as a manual laborer. I really want to come back to Kenya and try to find something better, but I have no means to survive on when I return so I stay.
Mark Maish, few companies, and employers here think of Africans as being educated leave alone consider an African for a technical position. And did I mention that racism and personal biases have a major role to play? To make it worse, I am a female engineer in a society where women should ideally stay at home and take care of the kids.
Anyway, I intend to do all I can. I am confident I will get somewhere in no time. Until then, my heart goes out to the Kenyan child and the state of education in our land.
One thing I know is that if the situation is ever going to change something has to be done today.
PS: #PerceptionVsReality is an online campaign that seeks unveil the truth behind seemingly prestigious careers, highlight the plight of top Kenyan graduates, and showcase the positive stories. The purpose of this series is to prepare students for life after campus, candidly share the challenges young professionals are facing in the corporate world and pick life lessons from those who found a way to thrive having surmounted great tribulations.
To take part in the initiative email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org. All submissions will be published anonymously to protect the identities of the participants. Follow the series on Facebook www.facebook.com/MarkMaishCom