By Kimani Kuria
Milly Nafula Barasa scored an A-(minus) in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination but had to wait for 14 years to join university. It was not until her story was highlighted in the media that Kenyans of goodwill intervened. According to the ‘A’ student, she did not receive a university placement letter from the Joint Admissions Board (JAB)-now renamed Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS), dimming her hopes of becoming a medical doctor. WoK details the life journey of Milly Nafula.
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Milly was born in 1989. She has a younger brother who was born in 2004.
Her mother, Alice Makinia, died in 2012 leaving her eldest daughter to fend for her brother.
She had to take up adult responsibilities from a young age. Over the years, the two have maintained a strong relationship.
Nafula started her own family and has been blessed with two boys born in 2016 and 2018.
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Milly was a bright student at school and this was evidenced in her KCSE examination results. The alumnus of Manor House Secondary in Kitale sat for her KCSE in 2007, attaining an aggregate of 71 points (A-). With this score, she was assured of a placement at the university and an opportunity to pursue her preferred and selected course.
Not being placed by JAB
Her joy was quickly dimmed when she did not receive a university placement letter from JAB. She explained her predicament to the school principal and was advised to go to Nairobi to have her issue resolved:
“I was also advised to go to Nairobi to ask about the matter but because I could not afford the fare, I wrote a letter to the board through the District Officer in Kitale in 2009. He sent the letter but there was no response,” She told the media.
Her efforts included seeking support from the school leaders, District Education Officer Trans Nzoia District, and even her Member of Parliament. Unfortunately, none of these proved fruitful leading her to give up.
KUCCPS chief executive Agnes Wahome refuted the media reports stating that the 32 year old had been called to Moi University in 2008 to a Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism Management.
Milly resorted to finding casual jobs to make ends meet. She worked as an M-pesa agent, worked at a posho mill, and waited tables in Kitale.
Well-wishers were ready to assist the mother of one to realize her dreams of becoming a doctor. Mount Kenya University Chairman Prof. Simon Gicharu who offered to fund her education and provide other emoluments. Prof Gicharu said of his decision to offer Milly a full scholarship:
“I was touched when I saw her story on TV. I asked myself, how can we, as Kenyans allow her to stay at home for so many years just because she was not admitted to a university?” “This will enable her actualise her dreams”
Additionally, the Former Chairman of the Commission for University Education Professor Henry Thairu said he would send Ksh 10,000 every year to Milly in support of the family.