How I bounced back after walking out on my marriage with two special needs children

Dr Mochabo and her husband. Photo | Pool

What you need to know:

Dr. Sylvia Moraa Mochabo Akinsiku, 39, is a graphic designer, and an events and brand consultant. She is the founder and CEO of Tech Hub Holdings Limited. She is also a Board Director at the National Council of Persons with Disabilities and advocates for children and persons with neurodevelopmental disabilities through her foundation, Andy Speaks 4 Special Needs Persons

“I was born and raised in Huruma Nairobi County. I attended Chogoria Girls Boarding for my primary school education and then Alliance Girls' High School.  Looking back, this is where I acquired most of my values and principles. We had career days in school and they brought in professionals to guide us on different careers. 

My career path was clear. I have always been an artsy person and so I knew that I was going to pursue visual graphics and computer-aided graphic design. My dad was not too happy about my career path as he wanted me to pursue nursing at the University of Nairobi. I did not relent because I knew design was the future of work. Due to the difference in opinion, my dad and I had a falling out for some time.

After the fallout, I got a job at PZ Cussons packing soap. This is where I built on skills like order, strategy and time management because the amount of work you did determined the pay you got. I saved enough to enrol for a graphic design course and when I joined, my mum got retrenched. She gave me her savings to continue paying for school though I still substituted the rest with work. 

Dr Sylvia Mochabo, her new husband and her three sons. Photo | Pool

I met my ex-husband and father of my children who introduced me to the company he was working for and got a job as a secretary. I climbed the ladder to office manager and then to Personal Assistant (PA) and then a graphic designer. At this time, I had gotten married and had my first child, Daniel. 

I then transitioned to a small printing press in Westlands as a manager where I got to understand Print Technology. Later, I was poached by Elite Pre-Press to manage the graphic design department.

In 2010 I got my second child, Andrew and at six months, he got diagnosed with Autism. At around the same time, I found out that I was pregnant with my lastborn, Bradley. Coincidentally, my marriage was on the rocks and it was a really difficult season for me. 

I quit my job at Elite and started my own firm. I reached out to one of my former employers who had office space and I offered shares against capital investments and that is how Tech Hub Services was born. 

Navigating the dark phase in my life was not easy. I lost a lot of weight especially because I left my marriage three weeks after Bradley was born. I was eating one meal a day and leaving work late to afford the fare. One day I walked into the office and my client-turned-mentor realised something was not right. We started talking and I opened up to her and I felt much better.

Dr Sylvia Moraa Mochabo Mochabo. Photo | Pool

Another incident that changed me is when I met a stranger at a bank and after talking she offered me a loan to go to therapy and do some self-work. When a friend tells you to go to therapy, it does not really resonate. This hits differently when a total stranger tells you to work on your pain and trauma. I took the loan and enrolled myself at Alabastron. 

Here, I learnt that I am me first before I’m a mother, a sister, and a daughter and I can’t pour from an empty cup. I stayed in my marriage even if it was not working because I listened to other people's comments and opinions. “You are a mother with two special needs children, who is going to love and accept you with all that work?” they would say. You hear these sentiments many times and you believe them so you stay and hold on to whatever little you get, however pathetic it is.

I also took a course on Passioned Profits by James Karundu and wrote down my goals. Looking back at the goals and my five-year plan I have managed to achieve all of them. I also recently got remarried to my best friend. 

At the moment, my children and their future keep me awake. I’m constantly wondering what would happen to them if I wasn’t around to care for them despite having a strong support system. 

In 2019, I took a shot at pageantry and won three inter-continental titles and 19 awards. In 2022, I also got an honorary Doctorate Degree for the work I do with Andy Speaks 4 Special Needs Persons. These are some of my proudest accomplishments.”