Masibo Silvia

Ms Masibo Silvia was among the 7,300 National Youth Service Recruits who graduated on December 2, 2021.

| Cheboite Kigen | Nation Media Group

NYS recruit beats odds to graduate, shine at parade

What you need to know:

  • Sylvia overlooked ridicule and disdain from her mates and friends to push on with her dreams.
  • Before joining NYS in July, she says she was just idling at home after completing her secondary school.

She was born without the right arm 23 years ago, but this could not deter Sylvia Masibo from accomplishing her dreams.

Her determination has seen her go beyond everyday life battles to pursue a career that some would consider an unsuitable option owing to her physical condition.

Last Thursday, she was among 16 recruits with disabilities who graduated from the National Youth Service College at Gilgil. 

A total of 7,300 servicemen and women graduated during the event presided over by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Sylvia was among special recruits who proved to Kenyatta and the nation that disability is not inability when they took part in the pass-out parade that left the Head of State impressed.

“Before I begin my speech, I want to appreciate and congratulate the NYS commandant, officers and the servicemen and women for having staged one of the best parades that I have seen in my life,” noted the president.

To Sylvia, performing before the Commander-In-Chief was a crowning moment having prepared and six months amid self-sacrifice, discipline and hard work.

Homeless girl

“This is something I love so I gave it all my attention. I never skipped any training and would practise on my own hoping to be part of the parade. Today I am so happy that that I was part of the team that entertained the president,” she says.

From a homeless girl living with disability in her rural home in Kiminini, Trans Nzoia County, Sylvia overlooked ridicule and disdain from her mates and friends to push on with her dreams.

"There are many times people used to dismiss me for having one hand. They would talk amongst themselves about my condition, while wondering whether I am of any help," she recalls.

“I just ignored them because I came to accept myself and understand that there's nothing I can do about my disability since I was born like this”.

Before joining NYS in July, she says she was just idling at home after completing her secondary school.

She did not have a definite home after losing her mother at a tender age and the second-lastborn child in a family of nine was raised by her brothers and aunts.

“Seeing how difficult life was with my future being at stake I knew joining NYS was the only way out,” she recalls.

She attended the recruitment exercise in Kitale and was lucky to be selected to join the service in July.

Masibo Silvia

Ms Masibo Silvia was among the 7,300 National Youth Service Recruits who graduated on December 2, 2021.

Photo credit: Cheboite Kigen | Nation Media Group

Life in the service, she says, was not difficult because she was used to doing things by herself since childhood.

“I did not find anything difficult here apart from the fact that I could not perform with a spade. It only needs one to accept themselves and ignore what people say about them.”

The service woman’s love for the disciplined forces began long ago when she could watch the parades on the TV during the public holidays.

“I loved how they performed and wanted to also do the same. I believed in myself and knew I can do it,” she says.

And she is not done yet. She has trained her eyes on joining the Kenya Police Service or the Kenya Defence Forces and scaling the heights of disciplined forces.

Her colleague Elijah Maingi Kegoro, 24, is also a person living with disability who was enrolled into the service.

Although he did not take part in the parade, Maingi says he managed to complete paramilitary and Tae Kwondo training.

Dream job

He says his decision to join the service was to prove himself and let the world know that he do a lot of things that people thought he couldn’t.

“I am here to show them that disability is not inability. There’s nothing I cannot do,” says Maingi.

His dream is to join the Kenya Wildlife service’s owing to his love for environmental conservation.

NYS Deputy Commandant Nicholas Makokha said they started recruiting persons living with disability in line with president’s agenda of giving equal opportunity to the youth.

The programme, according to the DG, was launched in 2014 after discussions with various stakeholders.

“We take about 10 percent of the people living with disability during the recruitment. We provide them with special training depending with the specific disability,” says Makokha.

The official noted that such recruits are subjected to the same training with their abled counterparts.

“I encourage the persons living with disabilities to take advantage of the opportunity presented in this programme.”

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