Joy is written all over Stacey Akinyi’s face as she proudly acknowledges her achievements.
The 26-year-old graduated last Friday with a Bachelor of Law (LLB) degree, Second Class Upper Division, from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA).
But behind her bright smile is a painful story of overcoming adversity and a story of hope in finding help from an unlikely place.
Her world was turned upside-down four years ago when her mother, Elizabeth Adhiambo, passed away, leaving her alone and desperate.
Her mother, who was a teacher by profession, died in 2018 when Stacey was just about to join campus. Doctors said she had a heart failure.
This was heart-breaking for Stacey who did not have siblings or know other relatives well, as she had grown up in Wajir where her mother worked, far away from her relatives. She felt alone and was also worried that her education would stall as her mother had been her sole provider.
With college knocking and fees required, Stacey tried to find family members so they could help her but her efforts bore no fruit. Other people she contacted were also unable to help.
Not one to give up, she kept trying all means to get help, and chanced on the phone number of her mother’s former colleague, Mr Mohamed Bulle, as she was scrolling through her mother’s phonebook.
“One thing about me and even my friends can attest to this, is that I am never afraid to ask for assistance whenever I feel like I need some,” she says.
Stacey remembered that she had met Mr Bulle for the first time in 2006 in Waso Secondary School, Wajir, where he and her mother worked.
After reaching out to Mr Bulle and informing him of her mother’s demise, they met physically, and to her surprise, he encouraged her to pursue a Bachelor’s degree course.
Mr Bulle offered her financial support, paying her college fees and upkeep, and even becoming her mentor. She says she is grateful to Mr Bulle for helping her dreams come true.
And though the four years in university have not been a walk in the park, with each year having its own share of challenges, she was able to overcome them, she says.
Stacey urges other orphans or people in need to not shy away from seeking help.
“I just want to tell anybody out there that wants to give up to try and reach out as much as possible. Many will turn you down but there is that one person that will come through for you,” she said.
Stacey only recently reconnected with a distant grandmother.
As she graduated last week, Stacey dedicated her Law degree to her mother.
“I would also like to show my utmost gratitude to Mr Mohamed Bulle for helping me actualise my dreams,” she said.
Mr Bulle, a long-serving aide of Eldas MP Adan Keynan, has received praise from residents for helping people in need, including Stacey.
Stacey plans to further her studies at the Kenya School of Law (KSL), and later pursue further studies up to the Juris-Doctor level. She would also like to open her own law firm in the future and help people in need just as she was helped by Mr Bulle.
Do you have feedback on this article? Please e-mail: [email protected]