Story of Campus Lady Who Doubles up as Night Guard for Fees

  • Collage of Milkah Mwasi
    Milkah Mwasi, a former security guard who graduated at JKUAT on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.
    Milkah Mwasi
  • Milkah Mwasi has sacrificed a lot to conquer the storms in her life. Raised from a humble background, most life luxuries and even basic necessities remained a mirage to her.

    As she awaits to graduate with a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance option) degree from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), the G4S security guard looks back at how she pushed herself beyond the limits to make a dream of attaining a university degree a reality.

    Mwasi, in an interview with on Wednesday, March 10, reflected on her journey, holding on to her dreams of becoming an ambassador of hope despite the many obstacles she has faced. 

    Kenyan security guards walking dogs
    Kenyan security guards walking dogs.

    As a bright girl in her childhood, Mwasi scored 405 marks in the 1994 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) at Sironga Primary School in Nyamira County. She had joined the school from the nearby Mobamba Primary. 

    However, her family could not raise fees for her secondary education as they were languishing in poverty. 

    Born in a family of nine, she acknowledged that her family was in a quandary, torn in between feeding her siblings or facilitating her education. 

    Nonetheless, no one could take away her desire to study, the quest to change her life and that of her family and the beam of hope in her heart. 

    Mwasi requested to be enrolled back in primary school, to at least push the year. This would ensure that she does not lie around idle as she would relapse and fail to discover herself and realise her heart desires.

    She had the courage to lose sight of the shore for what awaited for her. 

    The principal of the school she sought admission, however, turned her down and encouraged her to pursue higher education. He argued that she had potential that would go to waste if readmitted. 

    Mwasi had no other option other than to sit at home with her grandmother and wallow in sorrow. She was, nevertheless, saved from her misery by a resident who urged them to visit Marindi Secondary School and convince the headteacher to offer her an opportunity. 

    “He said that with my results, I would definitely raise the school’s name. With my result slip, my grandmother and I went to the day school and I was lucky to be admitted. The principal was impressed with my results and personality. That was in 1995, in the middle of the first term. 

    “I was asked to purchase the school uniform and asked to pay the fees later,” Milkah stated, adding that she reached out to an alumnus who donated her uniform. 

    In her first exam, she ranked 54 out of 57 but this inspired her to improve academically in subsequent exams. As much as she was the school’s shining light, she was always sent home over fee arrears. 

    Security guards march during Labour Day celebrations at 64 Stadium in Eldoret town, Uasin Gishu County on May 1, 2016.
    Security guards march during Labour Day celebrations at 64 Stadium in Eldoret town, Uasin Gishu County on May 1, 2016.
    Daily Nation

    “In Form Two, I was barred from proceeding with my education until I clear my arrears. Anyway, the teachers and her uncle came together and aided her in applying for a bursary. 

    “Before that, I used to study at home. I made a timetable and used to wait for my classmates to return home from school so that I could borrow their books to read their notes.  I got a C- that demoralised as it was below my expectations,” she admitted.

    Mwasi moved to Nairobi where she lived with her aunt for a year before relocating to her sister’s place in Mombasa. She joined a security firm there in order to make ends meet and support her sister.

    “They didn’t pay us well, but I needed money to send back home,” she noted.

    In the midst of their hustle, her sister landed another job and saved enough to start her own business. Mwasi, however, moved back home after her sister fell sick and passed away. 

    She, later on, summoned her courage, went back to Mombasa and looked for menial jobs. One of those was working as a house help. 

    “I wasn’t paid well and I quit. Life was hard but I still did not want to give up and go home. I worked for some agencies and was lucky enough to get a job at G4S where I have been attached since 2007.

    “I enrolled for night classes at the Vision Institute of Professionals, Mombasa Campus in 2013 and graduated with a certificate in Certified Public Accounts (CPA),” Mwasi stated, detailing that she was overjoyed to accomplish her dream.

    The security guard, later on, joined the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) Mombasa Campus for a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance option) in 2018. 

    “I am on the graduation list. Life couldn’t have been fairer, the journey couldn’t have been easier, but the faith couldn’t have been weaker. What doesn’t bring you down makes you stronger. 

    “Story of my life," she concluded.