When Naomi Mutuku Williams was young, she lived in Mukuru Kwa Njenga, one of the poorest communities in Nairobi, Kenya.
While many children Naomi’s age were in class, her parents could not afford the fees to send her to public school, so she spent her days walking the roads by her home. One day, she happened to meet Shannon May, co-founder of Bridge, who wanted to know why Naomi was not in school.
That chance meeting changed Naomi’s life. Bridge gave her a full scholarship, books and uniforms. At school, teachers gave Naomi something equally as valuable: their individual attention.
“They were like second parents to me. I loved the lessons, everything was planned. There was no time that a teacher was confused on what to do, and everything flowed smoothly,” Naomi said.
Mathematics has always been Naomi’s favourite subject, because “it’s about solving problems, and it reflects real life.” Naomi credits her maths teacher at Bridge for making sure pupils didn’t just get the equations right, but they understood them.
In 2015, thanks to Bridge’s support – and her hard work – Naomi sat for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE), the 8th-grade exit exam in Kenya. She performed very well – so well, in fact, that she got accepted into one of the best high schools in Kenya, Kapkenda Girls High School.
After high school, Naomi plans to attend university, study medicine and become a doctor.
“I want other children like me to have the same chance even if their families don’t have much money,” Naomi said. “I was a girl who had no future, no dreams. Now I can say I am going to be somebody who’s going to change the world.”