Meet a graduating scholar: Congratulations Rose Aoko Omollo, Kenya

a35ba66f-869c-4410-9869-d4434d3888f5“To me the sky is not the limit, when you are surrounded by people who are thirsty for education… Everything is possible – you only need to believe in yourself and go after those goals.”

Meet Rose Omollo, who was awarded a Watipa scholarship in 2016 and is now graduating with a Bachelor of Community Health and Development from the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology, Kenya. We are proud of you Rose – congratulations! May you continue to achieve your dreams and have a positive impact in your community.

Rose Omollo, Watipa Scholar 2016 and graduate

The Watipa scholarship has impacted my life a great deal. I am proud to have come this far in my education. Through the mentorship programme that Watipa offers to us scholars, I have also been able to help others in my community.

Now that I am doing my last semester, I believe that I have been equipped with the authority and ability to deploy and change the community and myself as an individual. Like me before them, I hope to see girls in my community completing their education and advancing to higher levels.

Like others at Watipa and in Kenya as a whole, I have faced trials this year. Lecturers missed classes; and exams were set on subject areas not covered in the courses. Students participated in work attachments, but no lecturers came for supervision. I managed to overcome these challenges with my own research based on the course outline given and the objective of the unit.

To me the sky is not the limit, when you are surrounded by people who are thirsty for education. As you move forward you realise that you still need more. Looking towards the future, I intend to pursue masters in epidemiology. Everything is possible – you only need to believe in yourself and go after those goals.

As a role model to the girls in my community I have been able to impact their lives through my weekend work with a community based organisation called “Dream Girl.” Young girls and women are provided with information about their reproductive health and rights. Thanks to our work, the number of teenage pregnancies has gone down remarkably, and the majority of the girls have been able to reach to upper primary levels without dropping out of school. In fact, most of these girls are going to sit for their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education next year. I look forward to them joining various institutions of higher learning so that they can advance more in life.

Now that I am graduating, I intend to reach more women. This year I mentored a few women on how to develop income through the making of “shaggy mats.” The idea was to help unemployed women have an income so that they are not entirely dependent on their husbands. We provided local materials and training. I am inspired by the fact that many women were able to put food on the table as a result of this project.

I will work towards a community where girls have been nurtured to always be able to stand strong and firmly take their rightful places in society. I want us to defy gender norms that are limiting. I look forward to working with organisations and other stakeholders who share my vision of community empowerment and mental health issues.

It’s been an awesome journey being one of the Watipa scholars. We learn from one another through development discussions that we have in our WhatsApp group. The fact that we are from diverse backgrounds and pursuing different courses brings rich knowledge, shares a peer mentorship, and makes sure that everyone is on board and doing well in their studies.

Having had incredible women like Dr. Lucy, Dr. Sam and Kristen as role models just inspires us to aim even higher. The bar has already been raised by them. Their help does not end when you finish your studies, they are always there to nurture you and link you up with other opportunities. This is a good idea and ensures that the scholarship program achieves its goal.

An educated community is a healthy community: a community which is productive, free from diseases, and has a way of eliminating the cycle of poverty. I want my community to be self-reliant, their capacities built, and for members to be job creators as a way of sustaining themselves in the long run.

Rose Aoko Omollo, Watipa scholar 2016 and young woman, Kenya

With editorial support from Sam Mudie.

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