Home » Alex Mwaura: How I went From a school dropout to street child, orphan and university graduate

Alex Mwaura: How I went From a school dropout to street child, orphan and university graduate

by Paul Nyongesa
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Born in February 2000 as the fourth child in a family of six, Alex Mwaura faced the harsh realities of poverty from a young age. Raised by a single mother, the family’s nomadic lifestyle and financial struggles became defining features of his formative years.

During his early schooling years, however, Alex stood out as a bright student, consistently occupying the top spot in his class.

The dream of academic success seemed within reach until December 2011 when a significant crisis forced the family to relocate to Juja, Kiambu County.

This marked a turning point in Alex’s life as he found himself living on the streets, alongside his younger brother, while his mother grappled with unemployment.

The struggles seemed insurmountable, and the prospect of continuing his education appeared bleak. However, in 2013, the family moved again, this time to Kihiu Mwiri in Gatanga, Murang’a County, where they secured a rented house for Sh300 per month.

While life took a modest turn for the better, financial challenges persisted. Encouraged by his mother, Alex decided to return to school with the singular goal of completing Class Eight.

The journey back to education was far from easy. Alex sometimes went without food, and plain boiled maize became a regular lunch, a stark contrast to the meals enjoyed by his classmates. In 2014, Alex defied the odds and sat for the KCPE examination, scoring an impressive 297 marks.

However, financial constraints loomed large, hindering his pursuit of secondary education.

Undeterred, Alex found a source of income by crushing ballast at a nearby quarry, earning Sh7 for every bucket of ballast. This meager income, though challenging, contributed to the family’s dinner.

In 2015, a chance encounter with Mr. Ken Stephen Muchoki reignited Alex’s education dream. Mr. Muchoki, upon learning about Alex’s desire to attend high school, provided him with an admission form for Swani Secondary School, along with a brand new full school uniform and other necessities.

Alex’s return to the academic world occurred just before the end-of-term exams, where he surprisingly topped the class with an A-.

The struggles persisted as Alex’s mother sought better opportunities, leaving him to care for his younger siblings. Despite facing challenges and the tragic loss of his mother in April 2018, Alex remained resilient.

His teachers, especially Mr. Francis Ndungu, played a crucial role in encouraging him to strive for excellence.

In 2019, Alex received admission to the University of Embu to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Education Arts, focusing on Business Studies and Christian Religious Education.

Despite financial constraints, the Kihiu Mwiri community rallied together to support his university journey. Alex’s university years were marked by a passion for teaching and learning.

He volunteered in neighbouring schools, developing valuable skills in public speaking and mentorship.

On September 15, 2023, Alex graduated with a Second Class Honours Upper Division degree, marking the culmination of his inspiring journey.

Now, as he looks forward to embarking on his teaching career, Alex aims to be an inspirational figure for secondary school students.

He encourages parents to prioritize spending time with their children, emphasizing the enduring impact of emotional connection.

To fellow teachers, he advocates for empathy and kind words, recognizing the profound influence they hold in students’ lives.

In his message to university students, Alex advises them not to forget their roots, urging them to pursue their dreams with determination and expand their knowledge beyond the classroom.

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