Pupil in Kenya
Meet Mercy Mbugua, a Bridge Namanga alumnus who recently earned a scholarship to the prestigious Daranja academy! Mercy comes from Kajiado County, and attended Bridge for three years; ever since it opened in her village. She lives with her mother, three-year-old brother and her grandmother. Her mother sells porridge in the town.
Mercy started at a local private school but said that she wasn’t learning and that the management was very poor. When her mother heard about Bridge, she decided to take a chance and move her daughter there. She made the right decision — Mercy performed exceptionally well on her national exams and finished top of her class!
However, despite her hard work and excellent marks, Mercy did not plan on attending secondary school. Her family could not afford it. “It was difficult to watch my classmates go to school while I had to stay back at home,” she says, “I had worked so hard. I was determined that the world would come to see my potential, but by January I had lost all hope.”
“I had applied for many scholarships, but still no one came to my aid. It was upsetting to see the leaders of my village give bursaries to their families and leaving those in need, like me, behind. That’s when I found Daraja. I applied and prayed to God that this would be my golden opportunity.”
In January, Daraja came to Mercy’s rescue. “This was my last application and my last chance. If I was turned down, then my whole world would crumble around me. I had to give it my very best. The day of my interview was filled with confidence, and I had a vibrant smile on my face the whole day. After the interview, lady luck knocked at my door, and it was confirmed that I had qualified for a scholarship and would be joining Daraja Academy.”
Mercy says she will never forget that moment. “I thought I was dreaming! I hit my head to confirm I was awake, and that this was real. We were not supposed to hear back until February, but they were telling me that I was in! My heart skipped a beat. My life and the lives of my family were transformed that day. It was the best moment of my life.”
With only 10% of applicants getting accepted to Daraja, Mercy realises how lucky she is, but she wishes more girls had the same opportunity. Mercy explains that sadly many girls in her town don’t get an education, because they get pregnant and are forced to drop out of school.
This happened to one of her friends who dropped out of school when her child was born and then later the child died. Mercy believes that all girls should go to school to stop them from having children when they’re young.
Mercy dreams of being a lawyer one day, so that she can help to fight corruption in Kenya. She puts the opportunity to go to a great secondary school down to the foundation she received at Bridge. “Bridge has changed my life,” she smiles, “Now I am a good performer, well organised and very mature. I know my education will help me change Kenya.”