“I was raised in a slum area. Most of the youth in a slum area are engaged in drugs. I think, if I didn't get education, if I didn't work hard, trust me, I could be that guy.”
Raised in Nairobi's notorious Kibera slum, Michael Wanjala, 24, is the son of a poor single mother. Throughout his life, getting an education was a monumental challenge for him. To raise the funds for his school fees, Michael's mother used to wash clothes.
Michael recalls that "it kept me moving to see the way my mother was struggling. The thing that pushed me so much was one day when mom went to ask for a loan of 2,000 shillings to pay for my education…It was so hard. I had to go and ask for textbooks. I had to go and ask for a uniform, for shoes, because the other kids were laughing. I had to push it because I needed education."
"I was raised in a slum area. Most of the youth in a slum area are engaged in drugs. Others are thieves. I think, if I didn't get education, if I didn't work hard, trust me, I could be that guy. If not for education, you could see another Mike on the street."
Today Michael is studying mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Kenya. He is also working to mentor young people in the slums to help them find a path to a better life.
This story is part of education shapes futures, a compilation of powerful stories of young people living in GPE partner developing countries on how education had a positive impact on their lives.