Kadii as an honor student at Asumbi Girls School
To say Kadii knows about overcoming challenges would be an understatement. In the brutally dry and impoverished area of southeast Kenya, everyone who survives knows about overcoming challenges, but they usually have feet to stand on. Kadii was born with a genetic deformity that twisted her lower legs and rendered them useless. Even as an infant, her indomitable spirit found a way; she taught herself to walk on her knees. It was a fitting beginning for a determined child.
Because of her physical disability, Kadii was placed in the Ndohivyo Special Needs School among children with developmental disabilities, but Kadii learned quickly. She was bright and capable of typical intellectual development, and her schoolwork was far above average. The Headmistress of Ndohivyo knew her school was not the place for this child and contacted Joseph Mwengea of Kenya Keys to see if together they could get her transferred into a mainstream school. In sixth grade, Kadii was finally able to transfer to St. Jude’s boarding school in Voi, Kenya, a transition with its own set of challenges.
Kadii navigated these new challenges with the same resilience and infectious smile with which she had faced the others. Three years later, despite a slow start to her education, Kadii had the highest standardized test score in science of all prospective high school students in the entire region. Now a sponsored Kenya Keys student, Kadii’s surprising success brought attention to her situation. In addition to her Kenya Keys sponsors, Bill and Peggy, who cover extra expenses, Equity Bank paid Kadii’s tuition to the prestigious Asumbi Girls high school. They provided another miracle as well, a wheelchair. After a lifetime of poverty, hardship, and misunderstanding endured painfully on calloused knees, Kadii was literally sitting pretty, an irresistible smile on her face as she rolled to class.
Kadii was in her final year of high school and preparing for the national exam when the Pandemic struck. Asumbi Girls School sent their students home. For Kadii, that meant waiting, often hungry, in her family’s one-room mud hut, shared with her many siblings and several chickens. She did not know that wait would be almost a year. No one knew what would come, and some tried to persuade students that school would never begin again, that their hope for a better life was foolish. The uncertainty was one of the hardest challenges. Once again, Kadii endured, smiled, and looked toward the future with hope. When schools did reopen and seniors were able to take that all-important national exam, Kadii had the top score among all the Kenya Keys girls.
University acceptance letters were just released, and Kadii has been accepted to Moi University. In a region where literacy is a luxury, this bright and determined girl has overcome incredible economic, social, and physical challenges to graduate with top honors. Now she hopes to turn her skills toward helping others as a high school teacher, paying forward the opportunity given to her. In writing to her sponsors, Kadii said, “Thank you for the tireless support you have given me. I have completed my secondary education and got a grade that can take me to the university.” Kenya Keys is so grateful to be a part of helping Kadii unlock her extraordinary potential. To Bill and Peggy, Equity Bank, and all our supporters and donors, we thank you for believing in the miracles we watch happen everyday - the miracle of brave and bright Kenyan students building better lives.
Kadii does homework in her wheelchair