It is not rocket science. We say it all the time .Except, for Fiona Mercy Jepleting’, it is.
In 2010 she began a journey, armed with passion and a burning dream to go make a highway where few have trodden before. She participated at an educational fare in Kisumu, and of the 100 attendees, she was chosen alongside two others for slots to pursue higher learning at Universities in the United Kingdom.
That would be easy to say, except there is nothing cliché about joining the Aerospace Engineering program at the University of Hertfordshire .There is nothing pedestrian about graduating with outstanding First Class Honors, Bachelors of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering. It is, in fact, rocket science.
You wish to object? Yes, please indulge me. Name a few African Aerospace Engineers no? Ok, a few female ones with these credentials? Fine, I’ll make it local, Kenyan ones?
Do you now see my point? We do not have enough of them to go around. There is nothing pedestrian about this.
All this notwithstanding, when Fiona received her invitation from the University of Hertfordshire to go on and take up her Masters program at the institution, her first response was to decline. She understood that her ageing parents, who have seen her through her undergraduate program to the tune of Kshs 5 million, had exhausted all avenues to support her education. They had sold off the little they had and reached outto all that could help.
However, when Fiona returned home after her graduation, a promise was made. Nandi County Deputy governor gave his word that they would support Fiona through her Masters program. She enrolled on a down payment donated by a local NGO and began class in January 2015. Unfortunately, when approached to honor this promise, the deputy governor denied and reneged.
It may all seem far-fetched and inconsequential to the rest of us but we ought to realize that this is an issue that points to a failure in this nation. When it comes to countries, the difference between developed and developing is a Jepleting. Gifted individuals who excel in their fields; have the ability to open up doors to innovation and down that line employment opportunities sprout and a whole industry begins to thrive. How do we not see this?
At a time when we are battling vices such as fatal alcoholism, disillusionment among young people from unemployment and a trending fad where young women are starting to believe socialite is a valid job title, why would government neglect such a gem as is Fiona? What are we saying to the children of this country; don t dream too big, we can not support such abilities? We have made it a norm to allow our best talents and minds to be celebrated elsewhere and bring glory to other nations and then all we get is a hash tag #ProudlyKenyan or thereabout to claim affiliation to them. We need to learn to nurture and be the place where our talented thrive.
Fiona Mercy Jepleting is Kshs 3 million (in debt and arrears) and two semesters away from graduation. We have chosen to come together as Friends of Fiona to help raise this deficit in fees. We will not wait until the world acknowledges one of our own before us. We choose to stand with her while she is in the trenches and certainly hope that she serves as a firm reminder to the leadership of this country that, as is done world over, we need to nurture our gifted ones whichever field they shine in. Stand with us. Help us in our defiance to see a valid dream die. Let us keep Fiona in school.
You can send your contributions to PAYBILL NUMBER 534858 any amount will be deeply appreciated.
On your phone, go to:
- Lipa na MPesa
- Enter 534858 as the business number
- Leave the account number blank
- Enter amount
- Enter PIN
You will receive a confirmation message from MPESA that the funds have gone to Fiona Mercy Jepleting’.