A 39-year-old nurse has finally graduated with a diploma from the Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) in Siaya after struggling to study for 21 years.
Judith Akoth can finally boast of being a nurse after facing challenges with resilience and determination. The diploma is her latest milestone in life, having sat the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) in 2002, scoring a B-.
Born on October 26, 1984, Judith lost her mother and father at the age of ten, leaving her under the care of her maternal grandparents.
"Despite the challenges, I showed promise academically, ranking as the 3rd best in my Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam in 1998," Akoth stated, with reports indicating that she ranked top in her school and region.
While joining college, her life took a different turn as her grandmother passed away after being diagnosed with diabetes, forcing Akoth into an early marriage at the age of 18.
Seventeen years later, a ray of hope emerged while Judith was nursing her sick aunt. A peasant farmer who saw her taking care of her aunt had a vision of how she would be successful in life as a nurse.
The peasant farmer proclaimed that he had seen something special in her and that she was capable of pursuing her dream. This fuelled Akoth to hope for the better and focus her eyes on the prize. His words ignited a spark of determination and self-belief.
"Encouraged by his words, I took a leap of faith and joined KMTC Siaya Campus in March 2020. The journey was far from easy, especially with opposition from my family and a significant ankle injury in January this year," she recalled.
Two months away from her final qualifying exams, Akoth lost her husband, which left her heartbroken and shattered. She almost gave up on her dreams as her hopes for life plummeted.
However, she held steadfast and charged at her adversity with zeal and determination to conquer.
"I received the devastating news of my husband's passing on while I was on rural placement. The world seemed to crumble around me, but I refused to be broken," Akoth stated.
"I stand here today as a testament to the strength of a determined heart. Age, I've learned, is merely a number. At 39, I earned my diploma, and my journey doesn't end here," she added.
Citing her own challenges, Akoth embarked on encouraging others not to give up but to be resilient in the pursuit of their dreams.
"My message to every woman out there is to hold onto your dreams, regardless of the obstacles. Let's support one another, lifting each other up instead of being stumbling blocks. Together, we can change societal perceptions about KMTC. By upholding morality and doing what is right, we can reshape attitudes," she encouraged.