First generation graduate:

Elizabeth - Kenya

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Elizabeth from Kenya

I am from Eldoret, Kenya. My father was a tailor while my mum was a shop attendant. We are seven and I am the last born. My mum was the first of eight siblings while dad was the fourth born out of six. From both sides, I, the last born in a family of seven, was the first to graduate with a degree. I have a PHD.

There was not money for me to continue school. I got married before I had attained any certificate although I had already secured government sponsorship for a diploma in education. After I got married and the children were old enough I enrolled for a degree. We did not have enough money for this because my husband was educating his younger brothers. My maternal uncles accepted to help me fundraise when I was accepted for my Bachelors because I wasn’t sponsored by the government. After attaining my masters, I got a job at the university. This helped me complete my second Masters degree and I was then able to do my PhD with the tuition waiver that I got as a member of staff.

I became a role model for many, and quite a number of women and girls within my circle went back to school. I have become a mentor to many. I often get opportunities for speaking engagements. I have been able to support many girls and boys through school. I often get involved in development projects in my neighbourhoods.The best of this is what my mother kept on telling me: that a woman’s stability comes from her finance; a woman must be able to meet her basic needs. This is the gospel I preach in many forums.I support my children. My daughter for example was not very strong in her cognitive development, but I supported her to become independent by following her passion. She is currently working and studying in Australia. My son is working on his law degree, with huge support from mama.