My name is Dominic Muema Muchema, the son of a peasant farmer from a remote village called Katulani, in Kitui County. I lost my mom when I was barely nine years old. My three brothers and I grew up under the care of our loving grandmother and later with a not-so-loving stepmother. It was tough growing up – going for nights without food, walking kilometers upon kilometers to school barefoot and on an empty stomach, then being sent away from school 99% of the time because my fees had not been paid, and so much more that it's enough content for a long novel.
In January 2006, I managed to join high school at Kangundo High School, in Machakos County. But there was a problem. I was always among those that must go home soon after re-opening school because I did not bring the school fees. Sometimes I would stay at home for months, only to show up on the week my classmates were having their end-term exams. Nevertheless, I always topped the class.
In mid-2007, our Kiswahili teacher, Mr. Kimeu, introduced me to a man I still refer to as a “Godsend,” - Mr. Dominic Muasya. The smiley, simple-looking man, who I would later learned was the KEF Country Director listened to me attentively. I could tell from his face that he was touched. He had me fill out the KEF Scholarship Application Form and, as I left for class, he promised to be in touch with my teacher in case I got lucky.
I have never prayed so hard in my life. A few months later Mr. Muasya was back at my school with news that would change my life forever. He had secured the help of an American couple, Mr. and Mrs. Ranieri, who had agreed to support me through KEF for the rest of my high school education. You should have seen how overjoyed I was. Suddenly, I was so full of life. KEF had lit a spark of hope in my hitherto bleak life, and uncertain future.
My school life changed completely. Within weeks, we (other KEF beneficiaries in the same school and I) were given new uniforms, mosquito nets, and textbooks. Since then, being sent back home for school fees was a thing of the past. KEF staff even came to check on us to see if anyone had any problems - which meant so much to a motherless child like me. I had all the things that I needed for a smooth stay in school. Can you imagine that?! Fast forward to 2009 when I sat for my high school national exams where I scored an impressive A Minus (A-). This was a huge success, all credit to KEF.
I was overjoyed when I got accepted to Kenyatta University in Nairobi. Once again, KEF came to my rescue. Me and my KEF sponsor formed a close bond over four-years of writing letters which led to them generously offering me a full scholarship for my university education! I graduated on 17th of December 2015, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biotechnology.
Presently, I am a self-reliant young family man. On 29th April, 2019, my lovely wife and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary. We are blessed with an amazing baby boy, Baby Sean. What’s more, I am the proud founder of a start-up firm, O-Raund Solutions, which offers digital content creation and management services.
In May of this year, I was appointed to the KEF Board of Directors as a representative of all KEF alumni. I am excited to be on the Board and collaborate with other board members in pursuing the KEF objectives of fostering individual and community success through education.
To all KEF staff, you are the real deal. For all the good work you did, and continue to do, do not tire, because it is never in vain. Long live KEF.