Vincent’s Success Story – From the Slum to University
Written by Tom Owili   
Wednesday, 26 November 2014 08:00

For most young people in the slums of Mukuru, their aspirations rarely go beyond sustaining themselves.  They also are seldom educated beyond primary and secondary school.

One student, Vincent Odhiambo, who was born and raised in Mukuru, has broken through this vicious cycle and enrolled at Machakos University.

Vincent is 20 years old and the first born in a family of five children but with no father or mother figure. They both died of HIV/AIDS related complications.

Vincent and his late mother, who served as a children’s program volunteer

After Vincent’s father died in 2004, he was forced to leave the family home with his mother when he was in class five. They moved to Nairobi’s Mukuru Slums. Vincent was in and out of school due to lack of school fees. At some point he was forced to work as a waiter in a fast food hotel to raise money for his fees and to cater for his family’s basic needs.

In 2011 Vincent came across the HOPE worldwide Kenya signpost in Mukuru. Curiosity got the better of him. On entering the building to enquire if he could get any help, he was met by friendly faces who gave him hope. Not only did the organization offer to take him to secondary school where he has since completed his fourth year exams with grade B+, but they also welcomed his mother to join them as a volunteer. He met other youth who had similar problems or worse than his own in the Kid’s Club.  “I championed the school peer counseling sessions in Makongeni Secondary School where I studied and helped boys struggling with various life pressures,” says Vincent. He attributes his life skill knowledge to the training he received from the HOPE worldwide Kenya Kid’s Clubs, where he is still a peer counselor. Through funding from The Coca-Cola Foundation, HOPE worldwide Kenya was able to pay for his secondary school education. He obtained good grades that enabled him to get admission to Machakos University where he is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Statistics Programming.

His journey in life has been challenging. As he puts it, there were times when the mountains were too high and the valleys so low that he almost gave up. He notes that if it were not for HOPE worldwide Kenya’s Kids’ Clubs and the knowledge he obtained from the trainings, he would never have been able to cope with the difficulties.

“The knowledge of HIV/AIDS transmission, prevention and treatment is something I hold close to my heart,” he said in an interview.  “I was not able to help my parents but I am committed to use the skills I’ve learned to help anyone else who is facing an HIV related challenge.”