The story of Glenda Achieng, 20 is not only one of hard work and determination, but of how volunteering and giving back to the community is important in transition from high school to university and is critical in helping youth in determining their career path.
Glenda was a student at Machakos Girls High School. She sat for her KCSE exam in 2016 and scored a mean grade of C plain. She describes herself as an ambitious, focused and social person. She lives in Kawangware with her guardian together with her 2 siblings.
“I work as a cashier for a company known as Premier Bet, as I await to join campus. At the moment I use the money to save for school.” She told The Foundation.
Kenya recorded 39.1 percent unemployment rate according to recent report by United Nations; Human Development Index (HDI) 2017. Kenya is the country with the largest number of unemployed youth in the region.
Glenda is among the few lucky youth to have gained employment right after completing KCSE in 2016.
Before working for Premier Bet, Glenda volunteered at PACE International as a teaching assistant. She was posted to Kawangware Primary School.
“I was not only there as a teacher, but as a sister. I was there to teach and to talk to them. I organized motivational talks and looked for some sponsors to donate books to equip the library.” She said.
Pacemaker International works to unlock high school graduates’ potential by effectively engaging them to provide learning support to primary school students. PACE volunteers are taken to different schools where they offer teaching assistance for a period of 6 months.
“With PACE I have been motivated to achieve a lot of things. Seeing the lives that the children in this school are going through motivated me to do more for them. I make time to go back and coach the students who feel weak in some subjects.
The Family Group Foundation partners with PACE International in providing them with high school graduates. Every year, about 100 students in the scholarship program graduate from high school. High school graduates are assigned to different schools to work as teaching assistants in providing learning support in under-resourced schools.
“As a volunteer, I was there to teach the students and talk to them. I was able to organize motivational talks. I also looked for sponsors who donated books to the school library.” She said.
Volunteers were expected to report to the school at 8 am. Some of the students would request Glenda to come earlier to teach them subjects that were difficult to grasp.
“The challenges the students face were sometimes beyond her control. I did my best to mentor and assist them in their academic work.” She said.
One of the key take a ways of The Family Group Foundation mentorship program for Glenda was giving back to the community by mentoring others. This she did by giving her time to mentor young girls in the school.
“I would call the girls and speak with them. I also arranged for days when volunteers would come and have talks with the girls. Most of these students face a lot of challenges which they cannot speak directly to their parents.” She said.
Most of the challenges faced range from early pregnancy, rape and lack of sanitary towels.
The girls are now empowered from the regular talks that they have had with volunteer mentors at the school. Even with the PACE program complete, Glenda still dedicates her day off from work to spend at the school.