In 2020, LEVIS Otieno made headlines when he reported to Kanga High School in Migori County to join Form One with two bars of soap and an empty metal box. Pictures of him standing next to the open metal box went viral on social media.
Beside him was his mother, Monica Atieno Odongo, carrying his five-month-old sibling. The expressions on their faces suggested that something was amiss; perhaps they feared rejection by the school administrators due to their inability to purchase the required items for Levi’s admission into Form One.
Levis wore an oversized sweater borrowed from his older siblings, emphasizing the financial challenges his family faced. They had traveled from their home in Kanjira village, Karachuonyo North, to Kanga in Rongo constituency, Migori County, for one purpose – to ensure Levi’s enrollment into Form One, regardless of their impoverished circumstances.
From a distance, one could discern that Levis was different from his peers. Two bars of soap and a metal box were the only items his parents could afford to buy for his high school admission, in contrast to other students whose boxes were filled with blankets and other necessities, indicating that Levis was not adequately prepared for high school.
Bi Atieno revealed that she faced financial challenges after her fishing nets were stolen in a certain beach area in Karachuonyo. “I had applied for a loan to pay for the tuition of my two daughters in university. However, after delaying in repayment, the company sent auctioneers to my home and took my valuable possessions,” she said.
Despite knowing she couldn’t afford to buy Levi’s school necessities, Bi Atieno remained hopeful that one day he would succeed and become a beneficial member of society.
Levis managed to overcome these obstacles and inspire other students who reported to school seeking admission into Form One. Four years later, he emerged as one of the top-performing students at Kanga High School, a nationally recognized institution.
Levis obtained a B+ grade with 70 points in the 2023 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams. These results have opened more doors for him as he prepares to pursue higher education.
His dream of becoming a computer engineer is on the verge of realization after Moringa School offered him a full scholarship to study Computer Engineering. Officials from the school, led by the head of collaboration, Steve Biko Ochieng, visited Levi’s home to prepare him for the next phase of his academic journey.
“We thought it best to offer Levi a scholarship. This scholarship will be facilitated through our collaboration with the MasterCard Foundation,” Mr. Ochieng said.
Moringa School provides similar support to students from poor families. Mr. Ochieng mentioned that they are seeking assistance from other organizations to help Levi fulfill his dream of becoming a computer engineer.
Additionally, Moringa School will provide him with a laptop, a smartphone, and internet connectivity. “He can choose to study online or attend classes in Nairobi. However, we seek support from other organizations to help him achieve his dream,” Mr. Ochieng added.
If Levi opts for online studies, he will need to identify a nearby school in his village where he can access the required facilities. He is expected to attend classes for six consecutive months to gain computer skills.
The course, which typically takes four years, has been condensed to six months by Moringa School. Classes are scheduled to commence on February 26, 2024.
This opportunity will benefit Levi, who plans to continue his university studies in September 2024. Mr. Ochieng stated that Levi will be enrolled in a program where he will receive payment after training, which will help him cover his university tuition.
“We have other partners whom we will engage to take him as an intern,” Mr. Ochieng said.
In the KCSE results, Levi scored an A in the Computer Studies subject. These results have motivated and fueled his desire to pursue a course in computer engineering.