St. Vincent student, Grace, at her high school
‘From the moment mum told me that I can become who I want in life, I never looked back. I gave it my best shot each passing day both in my academic and sports fields.'
These are the words of Grace, an alumni of St. Vincent’s Nursery School. Grace graduated from our Nursery School in 2006 and continued through our scholarship program. Now 20 years old, Grace has just completed secondary (high) school and is waiting to join university later this year. Coming from a humble background of her loving mother and an elder sister, Grace has lived in the Kibera slums her entire life, an experience she vividly remembers as ‘not an easy walk in the park.’
“Sometimes we used to fear when the clouds would get dark, simply because we knew our house would be messy following heavy pounding of the raindrops that would hit hard our torn, old, rusted iron sheets so that one could easily see rays of the sun. Rainy days often left us standing as guards holding water basins on top of our heads as a shield."
Despite the challenges of growing up in Kibera, Grace remained focused and aimed to finish her studies with her head held high. Grace’s hard and ‘smart’ work, coupled with the support of her mother and St. Vincent’s, has propelled her to success. Apart from academic assistance, St. Vincent’s also supported Grace to join a tennis program from the time she was in our Nursery School. She participated in many tournaments that exposed her to people and places outside of Kibera. She dreamed of becoming the best tennis player in the world, just like Serena Williams.
During the past year of COVID, Grace persevered, despite the odds stacked against her and other students forced out of school, left to study at home without a teacher. And the stakes were high as Grace prepared for Kenya’s national secondary school exams on her own.
“This is one of my memorable moments, having to stay at home studying and at the same time thinking about the last secondary school national exams. These are exams that define one’s destiny after high school. Studying at home without the assistance of a teacher was not easy for me, luckily mum kept pushing me, that she only wants the best from me.”
Today, Grace’s dreams have changed: “I want to study education, because I have a passion to become a high school teacher and impact positively on children that come from underserved communities like Kibera.”
While Grace waits to join university, she is back at our Nursery School volunteering her time to gain valuable experience with children that will face a similarly challenging journey to success.
Grace in 2006 in her Nursery School uniform
Grace holding tennis trophies in front of her home
Grace with her mom
Grace volunteering at our Nursery School
Grace with her tennis teammates