The story of Ruth Jemutai Rono, a First class Degree in Economics and Statistics Holder from Chuka University broke the internet yesterday. Ruth, who graduated from Chuka University four years ago, saw her future dim ever darker after having to struggle to make ends meet for herslef and her family. This is her story.
Ruth who hails from Lelbatai Village in Tengas Ward, Baringo County was forced to abandon her quest for employment in the City and head back to her home to take care of her seven siblings, among them her sister who is living with a disability and her ailing mother after four months of doing dead-end jobs in the city.
“After completing university education, I spent time in Nairobi doing casual jobs. However, my stint at the capital lasted only four months. My mother asked me to return to the village. My father, at the time, had set on fire our family’s three grass-thatched houses following a dispute he had with mum,” said Ruth in an interview with edaily correspondent.
Her journey to a first-class degree was never a walk in the park. Ruth did her KCSE at Tabagon Girls’ High School where she managed to score an A-. She managed to achieve that with a fee balance of 90,000 still outstanding. Her family was only able to raise 11,000 towards her four years Secondary school education. Through the help of well-wishers, a Fundraiser and her using the 20,000 she was awarded for scoring an A- to try to clear her arrears, she still had 20,000 still to pay. That amount was written off by the school.
Her University education was majorly funded by the government which meant she had her studies to focus on. A first Class Degree is clear indication of that.
Until 2 days ago, the 27 year old was all her family had. She had to do menial jobs in her village to support her three siblings still in primary, one in Secondary School and 2 pursuing courses in College. Apart from that, she still had her ailing mum to take care of.
All she wants right now is to get a job to ensure here mum gets the much needed medical care and her siblings to go through their schooling without having to worry about when they’ll have to drop out due to lack of fees.
And that was granted yesterday when Online Well Wishers came to her aid. She says she has received many offers and while she appreciates them, she is still open to more options as she’s still weighing the options at hand so as to arrive at a decision that will work well for her and her dependants. Posts online also suggest the wife to Baringo Senator Gideon Moi has managed to her several job offers in Kabarak and Baringo.
Happy ending for Ruth and we are all genuinely happy for her that she has finally made it out of the gutter and now she will be able to cater for her family and her dreams. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case. Kenya is crowded with youths armed with Cert, Diploma, Degree and Masters Certificates. Recent data from the Ministry of Education indicate that of the 1 million young people entering the job market from universities and colleges every year, only one out of five is likely to get a job in the formal sector. Nine in every 10 unemployed Kenyans are 35 years and below.
The extent of Youth Unemployment has always been shifting from one report to another, ranging from 20% in one report to 70% in another. But you don’t need all those scientific reports to get to know how bad the situation is out there. Just take a peek at #IkoKaziKE and you’ll be surprised how deep Kenyan Youths are in unemployment quagmire.
Kenya’s ability to create new jobs has lagged behind the population growth, thinning formal opportunities available for graduates in Kenya. Employment is one thing, starting and making it in the Entrepreneurship world is another uphill task and a story for another day.
If you ask me, graduates should brace for even harder times going by the current debts incurred by the Kenyan Government and the current fund utilization by county government report where some counties spent 0 shillings in development projects. Don’t forget the 100% transition policy by the government which means 10 years from now, the number of graduates being released to the Job Market would probably double.
What do you think needs to be done to help the Kenyan Graduates? Post your opinion on Campoe and let’s get the conversation going. Ruth is just one of many Kenyan Youths that need help out there!