Velma, now 24, lost her mother ten years ago. She grew up parentless with her four brothers under the care of her grandmother. As she reflected on her childhood Velma recalled being unable to afford basic necessities. “We often went without food, lack of school fees, sometimes [were] in and out [of] school due to arrears. Life was very difficult” - Velma
May 22, 2019
Velma, now 24, lost her mother ten years ago. She grew up parentless with her four brothers under the care of her grandmother. As she reflected on her childhood Velma recalled being unable to afford basic necessities.
“We often went without food, lack of school fees, sometimes [were] in and out [of] school due to arrears. Life was very difficult” - Velma
Following her mother’s death, Velma finished out her high school years living with her grandmother and step-mother. In 2013 she graduated from high school and moved to Nairobi to live with her Aunt, hoping to go back to school or find meaningful employment. She became pregnant less than a year later. Her aunt was unable to provide for her already, there was no way she could afford another child. Velma now had an even greater weight on her chest – she was pregnant with no help from family, no job, and no perceivable chance at obtaining a college degree.
Fast forward to 2019 when Velma came to Kibera with a friend. “I asked her if she could find me a job, and her reply was ‘there is an organization that supports youth to go to college [and] vocational trainings.’” Velma was intrigued and began exploring ways to get involved with CFK. She was desperate for chance at a fresh start.
“We went to one of CFK’s community health volunteers who introduced me to CFK and the rest is history.”
Full of determination and intrigue, Velma dove into the world of CFK with few inhibitions. She opted to begin a series of trainings focused on life and employability skills, and financial literacy training. CFK offers a variety of work training programs based on the interests of those in the program. Velma was afforded the opportunity to work with Generation Initiative Kenya, one of CFK’s partners, to take a financial and sales service course.
After completion of the course, Velma was offered an apprenticeship with ICEA Lion, a local insurance agency. After only two weeks she was offered to interview for a sales agent position. “I knew this was my opportunity, this was my window.” Not surprisingly, she aced the interview and was offered a full-time position.
Velma, a young woman who began her journey with CFK as a single mother with little family support and no career, feels that she is “finally on the path [she has] always wanted.” When we talked to Velma we asked her what the ingredients were to her successful transition into a fulfilling career. Her response was simple, but inspirational, “If you dream it you can achieve it; the only secret to recapture our dream is to enjoy the pursuit of the dream…”