My mother used to work at other people’s shambas in exchange for food
We have published lots of interviews with our supporters, but only a few with those people their efforts support. Having previously heard from Totally Mashombo, we’d now like to bring you the thoughts of another of our alumni and hear directly from him just how important Educate the Kids has been in his life and what a difference it has made….
1. Tell us about yourself?
My name is Narshion Matai Ngao. I am an alumnus of Educate The Kids charity, having been educated to university level by the charity. At university I studied Information Technology Management and completed in 2010. Today I’m a Senior IT Project Manager specializing in software development and data science projects. Currently, I am pursuing my MSc in Computer Systems, having completed my theoretical classes recently and heading to project implementation. I have over seven years’ experience in IT software development and management. In my free time, I volunteered as Chairman for Jolaurabi Primary School from 2011 to 2018. I am also a family man, a husband and father of two daughters (pictured here).
2. What was your time at the School like?
I was a very hardworking boy in my school years. I used to be top of my class and showed a lot of curiosity and interest in academic subjects. I come from a very poor family background and as such I was humbled by my circumstances and focused to work hard.
I met Educate The Kids charity sponsors when I was in class six (two years before completing primary education). Before meeting them I couldn’t think of myself completing my studies as I used to be sent home for lack of school fees. In most times, I used to stay at home and wait for my friends to return in the evening. I would then read their notes and ask them what they had learnt. I would keep track of their notes and learnings until examination time approaches where I would go and plead with the teachers to allow me do the exams, with a promise that they would advance me to the next class if I passed. I never failed. The charity promised to educate me and promised to support me in whichever way they could. They kept their word. I was one of the first students to be taken to secondary school and the first to be sponsored at university. This was a whole new life to me.
During my time at the school, I used to be very open and friendly to the sponsors and this led to opening my life to them and am sure they learnt my circumstances and supported me very much. Both my parents died when I was on my final year at secondary, and life became extremely difficult. I was devastated and lost. However the love and support I received from Mama Maureen was overwhelming and I knew she loved me and wished the best for me. This led me to be re-energized and completed my studies with a high spirit and motivation. To date, I believe the drive I have comes from this moment in my life. I have a natural affinity to working hard and continuous improvement.
3. How much difference has your education at the School made to your life?
All the difference in my life. Today I’m a professional, earning a decent living and able to provide for my family, all because of the charity. I work for a top research organization with important responsibilities in multi-million dollar projects all because of the transformation education has brought to my life.
When I look back to the life I used to live with my mother and siblings, my tears just roll down. The kind of poverty and ridicule I went through cannot be compared to anything else in this world. My mother used to sell local brew to village drunkards so that we could get food or work at other people’s shambas in exchange for food. She went through life full of trouble and humiliation, but was determined to see us through. Today, looking at how my life has changed and more particularly the way my daughters are living it is completely different. My wife drives our first born to school everyday as she attends a middle-class school in our town. We live in a large, self-owned house that we have built with our own money. Such a life was a dream when I was a boy.
4. How important is education to Kenya’s future – and how does the School play a small part in this?
Education is the keystone to success in the Kenya’s future. We are living in an era of information revolution and so all professions require highly educated people and the natural selection system is very harsh especially in a country like Kenya where the gap between the rich and the poor is very large. If you are not educated in this country, then your future is at stake as you will end up doing odd jobs/casual labour.
The school, through the charity, is doing a great job in preparing children for their future and giving them the opportunity to be educated and pursue their careers. Although the numbers may be small compared to all the needy children, the ripple effect will be huge as these few will change their lives and those of others. For instance, I have financed education of several of my extended relatives and children whom I know wouldn’t have had an opportunity for education. One such example is an orphan girl I adopted since she was year four: up to now she is in secondary school. Many such stories will increase as the School continues to transform these children.
5. What do you want to do once you’ve finished your exams?
I am now in my final year at graduate school, pursuing a project in a branch of Artifical Intelligence known as Machine Learning. I believe my future is still very bright as I am experienced with systems development and project management. With my graduate qualifications, I will be able to compete at the global level in the field of Data Science and information technology. I have ambitions to one day run my own IT company and scale it to global standards.
I also have mentorships to provide to the younger generation. I still volunteer at the school where I get to influence the children positively so they can better their life through education. I also have several children that I support and I will continue with this spirit where I can to help the less fortunate.