I'm running with Mary!
Mary is from Kariunga, a village located in the Laikipia East district. After Mary’s mother abandoned the family and her father became an alcoholic, Mary was the primary caregiver to her younger siblings and was forced to drop out of school. When her grandmother decided to move in and care for the family, Mary was grateful and excited to return to school. However, her grandmother was not the solution she had been hoping for. Her grandmother forced Mary and her siblings to withdraw from school and work in the field to feed the cattle. Many days she would wake them up at 5 a.m. and send them to the fields on an empty stomach. To escape the situation, Mary decided to run away to her father. Unfortunately, his alcoholism was worse. He would come home drunk and yelling, sometimes beating Mary and her siblings or leaving them outside for the night. At that point, Mary decided to care for her siblings on her own. She walked from one neighborhood to neighborhood, searching for a job to raise money for her family. Luckily, she found a woman in need of a house maid and babysitter. After many weeks, Mary told the woman her life story and that she would like to return to school. The woman was impressed by Mary’s courage and strength. She bought Mary her school materials and helped her enroll in primary school. Mary is an amazing student, and Daraja Academy is lucky to have her on campus. She is a natural leader and strong communicator who likes to say, “experience is the best teacher.” Her favorite activity is dancing!