The road that is built in hope is more pleasant than the road built in despair. Joseph Muhia Wangui, 17 year old boy from Gatundu Kimunyu, will be sitting for his Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (K.C.P.E) examinations this year.
Joseph is the last born in a family of three and was raised up by a single mother. He comes from a poor background and just as his older siblings, Joseph dropped out of school in 2005 and opted for life on the streets.
“Life on the streets was hard. I could go on for days without food and the little I got from carrying luggage and collecting scrap metals, I lost it to the older boys on the street”
Action for Children in Conflict (AfCiC) began working with Joseph in 2011 when he came into contact with our street workers and has since, been a regular at AfCiC’s Working Children Centre in Majengo. Joseph had been in the streets for more than 5 years. He had been denied basic rights as defined in the UN Convention for the Rights of the Child especially the right to education.
Through the Children Lead the Way (CLTW) programme, AfCiC has helped him claim those rights – to make them his, and to help him understand the situation he has been in and to look to the future, to fulfil his dream.
At the centre Joseph has access to informal education, life skills and counselling, with the programme building up to a near full academic curriculum of Maths, English and Science, preparing him for his K.C.P.E examinations.
“I am grateful for the opportunity AfCiC has accorded me and the patience they have with me. On the streets I used to live in despair but now I am hopeful that my dream to become a lawyer is within my grasp”
To be able to sustain himself, Joseph was taken through the apprenticeship programme in 2013 where he was taken to a mechanic in Thika town to horn his skills. He is good at what he does. He also has a passion for education.
To be able to pay for his one roomed house in Kiandutu, Joseph hires a bicycle that he uses to ferry people from one point to the other. He wakes up at 5 o’clock and does his bodaboda (bicycle) work up to 9 am. He then heads to the Working Children centre for 3 hours to for numeracy and literacy classes in preparation for his upcoming examinations. Here he washes his clothes, takes lunch and gets counselling before heading to the garage from 2 pm for his mechanics apprenticeship programme.
“I am as prepared as I could ever be and I am confident I will pass my K.C.P.E with flying colours.
He is hopeful that he will get a scholarship that will help him pursue his secondary education and in the long run help him achieve his dream of becoming a lawyer.
“All my life I have seen how the vulnerable children in our society are neglected and mistreated and I have vowed that I will study hard and become a lawyer so that I can come back and address their plight.”
Joseph’s determination to become a lawyer just proves that age is not a hindrance towards attaining your dreams.