“I could not hold back my tears when I was sent home frequently for school fees.”
— Jackline Nekesa
MOM is a typical response when people are asked who they look up to the most. We can only conclude that responsibility for another human being brings about the patience, strength, and wisdom that makes every mom a heroine in our eyes. We salute all moms this mother’s day weekend, and contribute to the inspiring mom narratives by sharing a story of one of our own — Jackeline Nekesa
Today, Jackline Nekesa owns a small café near a motorbike stage in Kenya. She has grown into self-sufficiency. She has started saving for the future and her 2 young boys. She counsels youth on their path and has created a business plan: valuable lessons and legacies from Asante Africa’s leadership and entrepreneurship training, lessons she passes on. Jackline tutors for free, when time allows, and farms. She was one of only 84 who recently received support from MasterCard Foundation to join a Hospitality training program.
She does what every mother does: she gathers every resource she can and presses on.
But all these opportunities began with a catalyst. Funding fell through for two terms of secondary school and it crushed Jackline. “Imagine,” she says, “missing an exam in secondary is like not going to school at all.” She boldly approached the Headmaster, so impressed that she encouraged Jackline to write a letter of application to Asante Africa to support her school fees. “They took me shopping — which I could not imagine — gave me pocket money, and parental love . . . they checked my progress. They did what a parent would do for their child, what I hope to do in future for my children.”
The young woman was nurtured. We believed in her and now — with her own business, her grace and gifts in the community, paying it forward — she continues to prove all that she can do to provide for herself, her children, and those facing the same challenges.
“My life changed very fast, after I got the scholarship from Asante Africa Foundation. . . You made me realize that a bright future is there for everyone . . . Thank you for lightening my world. I live by your pride.”
Jackline’s now a single mother who wants her children to have the lifetime investment of an education. She doesn’t want them to struggle as she has, fighting for the basics of even pens and books. “I would like their foundation to be strong inside, to succeed up to University. I tell them that with hard work, commitment and dedication they can achieve whatever they want.”
The change hasn’t come fast enough and soon school fees will provide another wall to scale. But despite all odds, she dreams not only for her boys, but for all those children who are living without any support from their family. She says “I want to own a big business may be a big hotel, that will give me the savings to start a school and a safe space for orphans, so that they don’t have to struggle to get an education.”
Today we celebrate this strength and unconditional love. We celebrate all mothers!