By Samuel Gitonga Makanya
When we walked in at Shekinah Enterprises and Electronic shop in Mutomo town, we found Ann Wanzia busy typing an assignment for a client. The speed, swiftness and coordination of her typing didn’t just come by luck. It was as a result of an exemplary skill she gained after undergoing a free ICT training at Mutomo Maarifa Centre.
It all began when one of her close friend mentioned a particular resource Centre was offering free ICT training. This came as news to Ann; she wasn’t aware of its actual location neither its name.
“ I have always aspired to be a secretary in future, and knowing well that they use computers full time, I had to make myself conversant with the electronic device as early as possible ,“ says the jovial Wanzia.
Filled with curiosity, she took it upon herself to find the Centre and in time came to know the Mutomo Maarifa Centre located at the Mutomo mission Hospital. She first had to confirm that the services were free as heard and to her delight they were. “To me all free services in Kenya faded out with the white man,” joked Ann adding that all that was needed was turning up at the Centre with a pen, a book and a mind ready to learn.
The training pace
With an infectious smile that I would join from time to time, Anne narrated her training experience to me. Out of the 4 sessions offered in a day at the Centre, she went with the morning class (runs from 8am-10 am) claiming that the others were not convenient.
What was even more outstanding to her is the fact that she shared class with people that could qualify for her father`s age. “Men of over 50 years were my classmates, “said the eloquent Ann adding that it did not come as a big surprise as they had been told by one of the facilitators that the Centre was open to everyone despite their level of education and literacy.
For Ann, July to September of 2012 was a period full of learning and acquisition of skills. According to her the trainers never left any stone unturned; everyone was content with the pace. In 2 months’ time, she was through. For her, there is nothing of more significance that she would have done during the period that would substitute the knowledge she got. She supported this by proudly waving a beautiful designed certificate that is safely stored in one of the drawers.
What she does at her job is nothing far from what is entailed in the 5 packages she did; Introduction to Computers, MS Word, MS Excel, MS PowerPoint, and Internet and Email.
Our interview was abruptly brought to a hold when a customer requested Ann to print a certain document from his e-mail address. As if to show us she had the skill, she rose to the occasion and was through in no time. All the customer could afford was a huge satisfactory “THANKYOU”.
After completion of the training session, Ann was awarded with a recommendation letter on top of her Certificate. And so when she heard of a job advertisement which required an electronic shop assistant, she was the first one to avail herself. After one week of strict and close monitoring, her employer was convinced beyond reasonable doubt that she could deliver on her job thus giving her a salaried job. Ann’s duties include typesetting, scanning and printing apart from other accessories like sockets, electricity bulbs and extensions that are on sale.
The salary that she gets has enabled her rent an apartment at Mutomo doing away with the 4 km walk to and from her parent’s home. I have to be at work by 7 am hence getting late is no longer a challenge. She does not entirely rely on her mother as it was there before.
As we concluded, she laid her sincere gratitude to ALIN for the opportunity they are giving people in the rural areas and for making them see light at the end of the tunnel.