Student of Finance and Accounting: Zipporah Mugure
As of July 2013, thanks to the help of EIP, Zipporah began her final two years of a degree in Finance and accounting at Mount Kenya University.
Photo: Zipporah Mugure assists in one of KENVO’s tree nurseries in Lari District, Kenya
Hello, my name is Zipporah Mugure Kamau, the first born in a family of five girls. I am from Kimende, Kenya, which is 50km Northwest of Nairobi. I was brought up by a single mother starting from my teenage years since my mother had to separate with my dad due to family issues. I would say their separation was a tragedy to me since it happened at a time when I was to join my first year of high school. I had hoped my dad would support me fully. Luckily my mom was able to see me join high school and finish despite going through many financial challenges.
My dream was to become a nurse after high school having lived along the Nairobi – Nakuru highway and witnessed lots of accidents. This made me think that if I was a nurse I could have attended the victims rather than looking at them helplessly as I used to. This dream was eventually not achievable because I did not attain eligible grades and I had a lack of information that I could have re-sat for the subjects I didn’t do as well in i.e. Biology and physics.
Despite the ups and downs in my life I have made it through. I was lucky to have finished high school two years before people my age. This made me spend my time in the company of older friends. They opened up my eyes to the business world and so I followed their footsteps. I was employed by one of them as a shop attendant at a nearby shopping center and the little money I earned I used to share with my mother. With her share, she was able to join a women funding agency (Kenya Women Finance Trust) and rented a ‘shamba’ (small farm) and planted kale and spinach to sell in Nairobi Wakulima Marke. This allowed my mom to be self employed and she stopped working as a casual laborer on other people’s farms.
With my share, I was able to enroll for a three month church sponsored computer course, which opened doors to my successes so far. Immediately after complementing my computer course, I left the shop attendant employment and a friend approached me to sit in for her sister who was going for a maternity leave in their bureau. My role at the bureau was to offer computer services thanks to ACK St. Paul – Kereita, and photocopying services….and of course at a better pay than that previously earned as a shop attendant.
During my computer classes at the church, a friend of mine introduced me to a local community based organization called KENVO (The Kijabe Environment Volunteers). Here I began to volunteer during my free time. What attracted me most was the fun involved during bird watching, tree planting and occasional visits to various scenic sites in and outside our province. Besides knowing birds and various trees species, other good things came to my knowledge like the World Environmental Day as well as Earth Day among others. This promoted my exposure to the ‘other side’ out of my immediate family and community at large since I only knew of home and my village.
While at the bureau and volunteering with KENVO, I got an opportunity to participate in KENVO’s Youth Exchange Program together with five other youth in 2004. Since, the exchange was taking place outside of my community and also out of Kenya, I left my bureau employment and with my savings, I was to buy my travel bags and clothes since everything else was provided. During the six month program it was a period of transformation for me. I got to know myself better, gained self confidence and became responsible for others to an extent my fellow participants called me ‘mama Zip’. While in the program, we used to be given Kshs. 200 ($2.75) per day as pocket money to specifically to cater for what was not provided for by our host families. I used part of it and saved some for my family and education.
While in the sixth month exchange program, I applied for a diploma in Information and Technology sponsorship at a college in Nairobi. A friend had seen their advert in one of the Kenyan newspapers – The Daily Nation, and together we gave it a try. I was lucky to get a sponsorship in April 2005 whereby the college paid half of the nine month course fee and I covered the rest as well as daily transport to Nairobi. I did this for a period of four months with my savings from the exchange program. During my IT course, I took a unit in Finance and Accounting and this guided me in my new career choice.
With my IT diploma, I got a contract with KENVO as a support staff in their exchange programs and it was at this time that I had an opportunity to be an exchange program leader commonly known as Project Supervisor (PS). I was chosen for the position and led the KENVO/Canada World Youth Team of 2006/2007. From the three months pay (Kenyan Phase only) and a few donations from my Canadian colleague – Ms Tashana Wint, I was able to enroll in a two year Diploma in Business Management at the Kenya Institute of Management. I graduated the program in 2011.
My dream was to take my diploma to the degree level in Finance and Accounting. However, since the financial load required to undertake the program is so high, I am unable to enroll. I am hoping to join the program and gain the degree since the job market is very competitive in accounting
Why I want to continue with my education:
The reason as to why I want to continue with my education is to be self reliant, help my family and the entire community where possible. By getting a higher education I will be in a position to get a well paying job or begin my own business, which in turn will help my family. I also want to bring change to my society since I believe like Nelson Mandela that Education is the most powerful weapon that one can use to bring about change in this world.
How will my community benefit from me gaining this education?
Being youthful, knowledgeable and energetic I will be a great asset to my organization, family and the entire community. People in the community will be eligible to sit in development projects and give inputs that mend some of the areas mismanaged. I will as well continue to guide the youth in the choice of their career especially fresh graduates from high school. I will also be able to campaign for them to further their studies.
By achieving more education we shall have educated my entire society as so they so – “when you educate a woman you educated the whole society”
How will I ensure environmental sustainability with my future plans, career and goals? Why do I think environmental sustainability is important?
I have been and I will continue to ensure environmental sustainability in my community. In the organization I work with – KENVO, I am helping to run school based Environmental Programs. With these programs we are working with students to promote tree planting and town clean ups.
Environmental sustainability is very important for the present and future generations. Our natural resources such as forests are critical for conservation since they provide us with clean water for drinking, domestic use, industrial and agriculture use, as well as regulating the climate.
Why do I think it is important to volunteer?
It is very important to volunteer in community work, first to give back to the society and secondly as a youth a gets work experience which every employer is looking for while recruiting staff. Volunteering is also important as it leads one to self realization. I bear testimony of how volunteerism is of importance; it made me to be a responsible person, got my self confidence along the way as well as paving way to my career path
Why I need your help with finances:
At my age, it is assumed that I should be responsible for everything. Maybe, my mother would love to contribute a little towards my education but she is not in a position to do that since the little money she is earning will be used as expenses as well for my to younger sisters still in high school.
Again from my employment, it is not possible to cover University fees since it is way much too high as compared to what I have been paying for in college. In college it was more flexible since there is an option of paying in installments and this is not the case in Universities, every semester fees are payable upfront and this before commencement of a semester.
None of my relatives are in a position to assist in my education but I can be able to contribute a little bit and especially in my transport, accommodation and school based project expenses (Photocopying, printing and reports bindings).
Photo: Zipporah Mugure smiles in back left as she welcomes people to Education is Power fundraiser in Kimende, Kenya on February 10, 2013