When most of us in the United States think about our sixth year of education, we conjure up images of late elementary school- recess with our friends, computer lab days, and being forced to learn cursive and long division. Those who went to private school as kids also likely cringe at the idea of wearing a school uniform.
Yet for one Kenyan woman, Chebelina Mukomuga, wearing a uniform and attending school is a privilege that she has waited her whole life for.
Mukomuga went to school for the first time six years ago- at age 89.
And now at age 95, she is still attending, showing no signs of slowing down.
Mukomuga, from Isiolo County in Kenya, is believed to have been born in about 1923. Growing up, like many rural Kenyan women, she was a farmer and never had the opportunity to attend school.
Wanjiku Kinuthia, Communication Officer at Lewa Wildlife in Isiolo, told reporters that Mukomuga has been attending classes for the past six years at Lewa Education Adult Literacy Programme, where the focus is to teach elderly adults basic literacy and math skills.
As for Mukomuga, her hard work has paid off both in the classroom and in real life.
In a statement on Instagram, Kinuthia said the following: “Chebelina is a farmer, and keeps chickens to sell eggs. Since participating in the classes, she has been able to count her sales and money more easily, receive m-pesa (mobile-based money) and understand transactions better.”
Mukomuga is just one of Lewa’s many success stories. Originally founded as a conservatory,
Lewa’s focus has grown to encompass agriculture development, wildlife conservation, clean water and healthcare initiatives, micro-enterprise opportunities, and numerous educational programs that provide people with the skills that they need to become successful in their day-to-day livelihoods in ways that are compatible with thriving wildlife habitat.
Mukomuga is among approximately 300 adults who participate in Lewa’s Adult Literacy Programme each year. According to their website, the program “provides literacy and livelihood skills training for community members for basic literacy and numeracy and life skills. Lewa trains community members on reading and writing, basic finance, home economics, healthcare, business skills, and management of natural resources. Opportunities in Lewa’s Adult Literacy Programme build marketable skills that increase participants’ access to income opportunities while promoting financial literacy and conservation education.”
To learn more about how you can help Mukomuga and other participants in any of Lewa’s numerous programs, visit https://www.lewa.org. And if you’re lucky enough to be able to travel to Kenya, Lewa invites visitors to come to spend time with them and see what they’re doing.
If you’re really lucky, Mukomuga might just be able to teach you a thing or two while you’re there.