April 18, 2024

Previous Scholarship Recipients

For several months we have collected stories about our previous scholarship recipients, in a sort of “where are they now?” project in order for us to better understand how the youth leverage their secondary school scholarships for greater opportunities.

This project helped validate one of the main propositions of our work: we find the best people and help unlock opportunities so they can be successful and bring positive change to themselves and their community.

Read more about some of these youth and the great work they are doing!


Damaris completed secondary school in 2015 with scholarship support from SYEF. She later opened a small retail shop selling basic household and food items near her home in the Laresoro community in Samburu, and saved money to complete a post-secondary diploma in community oral health. Currently she works as a Community Oral Health nurse at the Immaculate Conception Health Center in western Kenya. In addition to her paid work as a nurse, she joins other nurses to volunteer at schools for checks up and to advise students on oral health.

Damaris’ background as a shopkeeper, nurse, and volunteer has led to highly unique and valuable perspectives about how to catalyze change in a community. She recognizes and values the importance of entrepreneurship and creativity in problem-solving, and is motivated to contribute to new ways of thinking and implementing community development programs.


Adriana completed secondary school in 2016, supported by an SYEF scholarship that covered 100% of the cost. She leveraged her high school education to enroll in a post-secondary program in fashion and design, combining her love for creativity and entrepreneurship with specialized skills as a tailor, designer and artist. Today, she runs her own sewing business designing and producing bags, school uniforms, and women’s clothing, and earning sufficient income to support herself and daughter, and contributing to upkeep of her mother’s home, where she lives.

During COVID-19 Adriana made hundreds of masks for distribution in her community. She has also worked alongside child-focused organizations in her community to train mothers on how to make and repair school uniforms, and assisted in making sanitary towels that are otherwise hard for young girls to attain.


Patei, a former SYEF scholarship recipient, completed secondary school in 2022. Shortly after, she started work with the Indigneous Information Network (IIN), a Nairobi-based organization that works to empower women in Kenya’s rural areas where literacy and knowledge about nutrition, entrepreneurship, family planning, and similar topics is often low. She coordinates IIN’s programs for delivery near Patei’s home community in Kiltamany in Samburu. Among her activities include working with nine women’s groups to establish income-earning options tied to safari tourism, where visitors can learn more about local culture.


Dida completed secondary school in 2019, supported by an SYEF scholarship. Today he works in a public sector role as a liaison between rural communities and the county and national governments. In this position, he needs to keep highly aware of challenges and overall welfare of several remote communities, and advocate for their needs to the government. His responsibilities also include facilitating mediation when local disputes arise, and works with these communities to emphasize the importance and benefits of gender equity, coordinated grazing plans, and sending kids to school.


Jackson was an SYEF scholarship recipient who completed secondary school in 2017. He later earned a Bachelors degree in Finance and Accounting from Gretsa University via an opportunity with the school to have his tuition covered as a student employee.

As of this past January, Jackson is the accountant for a secondary school in his home community, Ngaremara. He is one of the few school employees to also be from the community served by the school, which puts him in a leadership position to advise his colleagues and administrators on how to best support the schools’ students and families. He has initiated new programs to link families to county and non-profit resources to offset school expenses, and working on new and innovative ideas to enhance access to education for families with limited resources.


Collins is an SYEF alum who completed secondary school in 2020, and soon thereafter joined a post-secondary program in clinical medicine at Jomo Kenyatta University, Kenya’s flagship public university. Currently Collins is applying his knowledge, skills and compassion at the county-run hospital in his home community, and then will complete an internship in another part of Kenya as part of his degree requirements. Ultimately he hopes to be in a position of health education and outreach so he can give back to his community and follow his interests in health and medicine.

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