Our Programs Liaison Fellow, Shilpa Guha, sat down with one of our Kibera School for Girls (KSG) students, Prudence Achieng, to hear about her aspirations and experiences at KSG.
Q: Describe yourself in 3 nouns and 3 adjectives:
A: I am a musician, I am an actor, and I am an author.
I am courageous, I am strong, and I am beautiful.
Q: Tell me about being a musician.
A: I feel I am a musician because I listen to music in my free time and I try to compose my own songs. I also try to sing the songs that I listen to. I’ve taught myself how to sing, following the steps of my aunt, who also taught herself how to sing at the age of five. She has been a role model to everyone and she is also my role model. I’m trying to be like her.
Q: So how do you teach yourself music?
A: I put on my music then after a line that the musician sings, I repeat it many times. I sometimes repeat lines or whole songs ten times before I feel I learn them well. The hardest song I ever learned, I tried to repeat a line fifteen or more times to get the rhythm.
Q: And what larger lessons do you learn from being a self-taught musician?
A: Some music inspires me and some music teaches me important values. And music even teaches me good behavior becauseI have to be patient with myself and I learn how one can be patient with others. I have also learned it is important to practice so that you can gain confidence. When I am confident, I sing better.
Q: Do you perform your music?
A: I always perform in after-school when the teachers ask us who can sing for the group. My dream is to perform to a large crowd of people so many people can love my songs. I also want to write my own songs. I would write songs about my school, my parents, my teachers, and SHOFCO at large. I would talk about how SHOFCO has helped me in my education and how it has taught me moral values.
Q: Earlier, you described yourself as strong. What does strength mean to you and how do you exhibit it?
A: I am strong because when a challenge comes before me, I can work hard so that I can get a solution to the problem and that makes me fearless. Being strong means defending yourself and having the courage to say yes or no to something.
Q: Let’s talk about school. What is your favorite subject, Prudence?
A: I have three favorite subjects: English, math, and science.
I love English because it helps me learn how to write well and how to speak well. I love learning tough vocabulary words. My favorite word is special because in everything you do, you must have something unique, something special.
I love mathematics because it’s all about playing with numbers and learning other formulas that you never knew. Also you cannot go anywhere without learning math. Maths is your key to success for many different jobs. For example, when you want to be a banker, you must learn how to count money.
I love science because I enjoy doing experiments and exploring the world: plants, animals. Science helps me learn how to eat a balanced and that helps me stay healthy.
Q: You recently ranked at the top of your class in exams. How do you feel about being number one?
A: It made me proud because it shows the hard work that I have put in my revision. I hoped it would happen and I expected it because I did a lot of revision. I was asking questions to understand more about the subjects I was revising. I showed myself that I can work extra hard and keep getting higher marks on my exams.
Q: Apart from your hard work, what else motivated you?
A: I always believe in myself that I can do anything and I am also courageous so that nothing can stop me from reading and going to school. The most important thing for me is going to school. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I think about is my teachers and my mother. They inspire me the most to work hard each day.
Q: Tell me about your mother.
A: My mother is a strong woman and she is also courageous because she can teach you how to behave when you go places. She teaches you good behaviors and moral values that you can show in society. She inspires me by telling me that you should never give up because there is a time for everything. My mom works at SHOFCO and it has helped our family in terms of providing free education for me and a job for my mother. We are close to each other every day and it make me happy because close because when I know she is nearby, I don’t want to make any mistakes. I want to be a good student and a good girl. My mother wants me to be a better person in the future and so she encourages me now to read a lot and work hard.
Q: So what are your dreams for the future?
A: My dream is to finish primary school, go to a nice high school, and go to a great college. I want to help my mother to live in a good house. I also want to give back to the community by helping SHOFCO to grow bigger.
Q: What is your dream job and why?
A: I want to be a teacher so that I can pass knowledge through students and I can learn more from students. Teachers give students knowledge and they also give students advice in what you should and should not do. We need good teachers so that we can help other students to be better people in the future.