In 2016, Gabriel Ochieng was a watchman at Maranda School, watching with envy as students trooped in and out of the school.
He had dropped out of primary school in Standard Seven, because his parents could not support him. His one dream was to complete his studies. And this year, he was a Form One student at the school.
How, you ask?
A God-sent woman mentioned that there was a Unicef-sponsored programme, Women Educational Researchers of Kenya (Werk) in Nairobi that helped needy students return to school.
And so, determined, the 21-year-old left his job at the school and went to Nairobi. True to form, he was directed to join Ofafa Jericho Primary School where he was housed by the head teacher Elizabeth Kokwach, and teachers contributed towards his basic needs.
When his story of determination was published in The Standard last year, a sponsor, Caleb Ogare, came forward.
“I read his story and I was really touched. I contacted the school, talked to Ms Kokwach and they brought Gabriel over to speak with me,” he says.
After listening to his story, he decided to step in. “I told him I wanted to give him a second chance so that he could be an inspiration to other people,” he says.
“I called the chairman of the board of Maranda School and explained everything, and eventually we secured admission to the school.” He will be paying his fees for the four years.
His life having taken a turn for the better, Gabriel is now done with his first year of studies at the school, and will be joining Second Form next year.
Gabriel says that he wants to be a top security expert. “I don‘t regret my past because the journey, though tough, has been full of learning. I have emerged more mature and determined to walk the journey of life without ever looking back,” he said.
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