Today’s blog post was written by one of Hatua’s newest team members, Judy Munge. Thank you for your contribution Judy!
Get to know Hatua Alumni: Athman Mohammed
Seven years ago you would have not needed to book a meeting or a phone call appointment to meet with the young Athman Mohammed. Growing up in Likoni, it was normal for Athman Mohammed, a 5th born in a family of eight, to have one meal a day. More times than not, he would only need to step into the school compound before he would be sent back home due lack of school fees. Athman remembers with great sorrow the time his parents could not afford to support both his brother and himself in secondary school so he was forced to repeat Class 8 just to stay in school. Athman himself, can’t believe how far he has come in just a short amount of time.
However, 2010 was a memorable year for Athman. “I was awarded Hatua Secondary Scholarship. My school fees were fully paid for. Hatua also gave me a school uniform and books. It was like a dream” says Athman. For the first time in his life, he stepped into school very hopeful because his future seemed so bright. As Athman reflected on this pivotal time in his life you can begin to understand what an emotional experience it must have been for him. Gaining a scholarship with Hatua restored his hope in the world. He was being ushered into a very new, exciting and promising chapter of his life: secondary and university education. Athman would wake up at night sometimes just to assure himself that he wasn’t dreaming. He would fall back asleep again with a smile on his face as he knew that the next morning he would go to school without any difficulties. In 2013, he successfully graduated from high school and in 2014 he enrolled at the Technical University of Mombasa in hopes of earning a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering. We are delighted to inform you that in few weeks to come, Athman will be graduating from this program!
In a country where 4 out of 10 youths are unemployed, one would expect Athman to struggle in the next phase of his life while he looked for employment. Even though the odds were against him, the search for employment did not discourage Athman, it motivated him. One advert by Base Titanium in their search for Welder Trainees was a career breakthrough for Athman. Athman joined an Apprenticeship Program at Base Titanium in May 2014 as a Welder Trainee. The opportunity provided Athman with mentorship, practical experience, knowledge and skills. “I am working hard and learning each day to become better at my profession. I look forward to a day when I will be appointed as an Apprentice Trainer” says Athman. He is now permanently employed with Base Titanium and is earning five times higher than any youth in Likoni who never received formal education and training.
For Athman’s family and siblings, life is slowly changing for better. Athman now supports three of his siblings so they can also complete their studies with less struggles. One is pursuing a University Degree in Computer Sciences & Mathematics at Taita Taveta University College while the other is in Form 3 at Shikaadabu Secondary School. “I’m also planning to fully sponsor my younger sister who is currently in class 8 and plans to join secondary education in 2018,” says Athman.
Get to know Hatua Alumni: Biabu Adam
Like Athman, Biabu Adam is also apart of Hatua’s Alumni Network. Before joining Hatua in 2011, Biabu had enrolled for a self-sponsored Programme at Kenyatta University to pursue a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Medicine & Surgery. One semester alone would cost Kshs. 400,000 (USD.4,000). Biabu could not afford to pay the fee forcing her to drop out of University for a whole year. It was during that frustrating period of time when someone pointed her to Hatua Likoni. As luck would have it, Biabu applied and was accepted into Hatua’s University Scholarship program in 2011 as she entered her second year of university.
In December 2015, Biabu graduated from Kenyatta University and the government of Kenya posted her for Medical attachment at Kilifi District Hospital. It has now been one month since completing her attachment and she awaits for the government of Kenya to post her in a new hospital as a doctor.
Both Athman and Biabu says Hatua’s Mentorship Programme played a critical role while they were in school. “I was so stressed. I didn’t have a clear picture in my mind about my direction. That’s when I was paired with a mentor who counselled me about my career choice and encouraged me on personal challenges,” said Biabu who describes the experience as being very therapeutic. “Biabu dreams to set up a youth hub in her hometown of Mtongwe and states that, “I am familiar with the challenges youth are facing there. I can’t think of a better way to give back to the community other than that.”
Athman and Biabu are some of our most active Hatua Alumni. Each month they participate in Hatua’s Ten Shilling Campaign where we raise funds locally asking supporters to donate just 10ksh per month to help send Mombasa’s youth to school.
Having been permanently employed at Base Titanium, Athman now wishes to support other Hatua youth by giving Hatua a monthly contribution Kshs. 500 (USD.5) instead of Kshs. 10 (USD. 10 Cents).
Thank you both for supporting youth just like you! Such is the power of education! Its ripple effects are undeniably great!