“Most often than not, it takes only one person to believe in you and make you see the light…” – Ochieng Evelyne, Proud KEDHAP Alumnus and an awardee for the Student of The Year Award that will be presented by the Brilliant Minded Women Organization at their 2022 annual gala on November 12th.
According to a new UN report released in 2020, less than 50% of working-age women are in the labour market, a figure that has barely changed over the last quarter of a century! As the pandemic threatens to erode the limited gains that have been made, there are organizations like KEDHAP that shine a ray of hope on the lives of girls like Evelyne.
Humble beginnings, Big Dreams
Evelyne did not hold back her ambitions despite the challenges brought on by her circumstances. Her desire was always to become a PR practitioner, but life had not been very easy for her. Born to a young mother in a village in Kisumu County, Evelyne’s father passed away when she was in Grade 1. This tragic loss plunged the family into financial insecurity. Evelyne’s family struggled to finance her education, so much so that Evelyne would possibly drop out of High School. She was spotted as a promising candidate by ImpactHope’s in-country partners, KEDHAP Foundation, for their various female empowerment programs, which allowed her to complete her secondary education successfully.
Evelyne received acceptance to Africa Nazarene University, one of the best private universities in Africa. She is set to graduate in December 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications, Public Relations, and Media Studies. Throughout her university studies, she has been awarded an honour role three times while participating in and leading multiple extracurricular clubs. She dreams of continuing to accomplish her master’s degree and secure employment within the public relations sector. She hopes to mentor less fortunate children and girls as a bridge to their personal development and success.
Aiming for the Stars
ImpactHope has nominated Evelyne to receive the Student of the Year Award at the annual Brilliant Minded Women Gala. This award is given to an awardee who, during her academic career, has exemplified leadership amongst her peers and has actively participated in extracurricular programs while maintaining an 80% grade point average or higher. Evelyne has demonstrated the qualities of good citizenship and has positively contributed to her school and the broader community.
Since 2014, the Brilliant Minded Women Organization has been recognizing and acknowledging women of substance to inspire generations to come. As a charitable extension, the Brilliant Minded Women Foundation was created in 2016 to advanced post-secondary education by providing scholarships and bursaries to female students throughout Canada. The Brilliant Minded Women Organization intends to celebrate outstanding Women who have made significant contributions to society at their 7th Annual Awards Gala, a prestigious event scheduled for the 12th of November, 2022.
Interview: One-on-One with Evelyne
ImpactHope’s Director of Development, Hannah Campbell, was privileged to chat with Evelyne and learn more about this exceptional young woman receiving the award! Evelyne speaks confidently, and her eyes sparkle with happiness as she discusses her career aspirations.
1. What comes after university for you?
I am currently in my fourth year and set to graduate in December. I would like to continue my education, get my master’s, and continue until I get my Ph.D. I wish to become a career woman and earn well so I can give back to the community and KEDHAP, which helped shape the person I am today. My dream is to see other girls also get inspired because of me. I would also love to explore and see the world.
2.What has been one of your proudest or happiest personal accomplishments, and why?
My proudest personal accomplishment has been my service to God. I am a trained Sunday School teacher and have taught the children back at the Church I go to in Nairobi. It is such a privilege to see these kids learn who God is at such a young age – this is an accomplishment to me.
Mentoring and leading other students in school has been a massive accomplishment. I lead different clubs within the school while continuing to make the honour roll thrice.
3. What advice have you received that has been especially valuable?
While I was in high school, Francesca and Jack, staff of KEDHAP’s mentorship program, would say to me, “always begin with the end in mind.” Whenever I face a challenge or am on the brink of giving up, I remind myself why I started my journey in the first place, and this encourages me to keep moving forward. This gives me the strength to continue my efforts.
4. What was one challenge you faced in your life, and how did you overcome it?
One of the most difficult challenges I faced was when I joined High School for the second time. I nearly dropped out of school – thanks to God’s hand, I did not drop out. At the time, my family lacked the financial means to support my education. By God’s grace, I was identified and accepted into KEDHAP’s scholarship program, and they agreed to support me for the rest of my high school years. KEDHAP has helped shape me into who I am now.
In Kenya, receiving an education is more challenging for women due to various factors such as cultural hurdles, the lack of women empowerment, the need for sanitary pads at an additional cost when at school, etc. I cannot say I overcame these hurdles myself; it was possible only through God’s divine intervention, which connected me to KEDHAP and helped me overcome my financial situation.
5. What are your core values, and how do they shape your choices?
In primary school, I learnt that choices have consequences. I have always tried to weigh the benefits and consequences of every decision I make. Honesty, integrity, and discipline also play significant roles in my life.
Evelyne thanks you for your support! Watch the video below!
KEDHAP (Kenya Economic Development & Human Advancement Project) continues to impact the lives of hundreds of girls in Kenya through educational assistance, counselling and community development activities. You can also become part of this movement by support KEDHAP here.