Lydia Kwamboka was barely 17-years-old when she got married in 2006.
She had opted for early marriage due to mistreatment from her step-mother after hers died in 2000. In 2001, her father Joseph Maranga had married a second wife after the passing on of Kwamboka’s mother. Kwamboka, 32, first sat the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations in 2001 at Bogeche Primary, Nyaribari Masaba, scoring 326 marks.
Eight years later in 2013, she made her second attempt while already married and managed 370 marks. She sat her exam at Marigo B Primary School in Nakuru County, where she was staying with her family. According to Kwmaboka, conflict in her marriage led to the separation from her husband Edward Gori, the father of her two sons and a daughter. Through the sponsorship of Swanya Foundation, Kwamboka made it back to school in 2015. She joined Don Bosco Secondary School in Kitutu Masaba in Nyamira County. The foundation, through its director Victor Swanya, paid her four-year school fees with a neighbour, Stella Atuti, offering her accommodation together with her three children.
She managed grade C+ in this year’s KCSE examination results. She performed well in sciences. Kwamboka now hopes to pursue nursing at the university. Despite her age and immense challenges raising her children, Kwamboka topped her class since she joined Form One.“This is the lowest grade I have scored since I joined a school. I was expecting a better grade but towards the examination period my son was admitted to the hospital for weeks and it really affected me,” she said. A devoted Christian at Enchoro PAG Church and first born in a family of five, Kwamboka said her husband, a carpenter, used to complain that she was too bright for him to engage her and maintain her as a wife. “He married immediately I gave birth to my third child. Life became unbearable and I couldn’t afford food and shelter.”She adds: “Nothing will stop my desire to attain the highest level of education. My desire is to have a job and provide a decent shelter for my children. Getting admission to study nursing will be my greatest joy.”
Mr Swanya said he was captivated by Kwamboka’s deep desire to proceed with education despite her age. “She is the reason I will continue supporting the less fortunate in society,” he said.