Mercyline Owino – A transcriber with passion for the environment

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“Being a penniless single mother can be a double tragedy in a capitalist country like Kenya. My name is Mercyline Owino a mother of three boys from Ndhiwa constituency. Growing up, just like any other “normal” girl, I had big dreams. To study hard and excel in my studies, secure a good job and a loving prince to settle down with, have children, and live happily afterward. Well, all of this came true, save for living happily ever after as my marriage ended faster than I expected.

After graduating from college with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies, I met the father of my three boys (currently ex-husband), and we started a family together. Unfortunately, we ended the marriage after a few years of living together. My life took a new twist and gave me the title of single mother of three boys at a tender age – broke and hopeless.

However, my story is different today; Ajira Digital Programme gave me hope when everything else was falling apart. Having separated from my ex-husband last year in March 2020, I returned to my parents’ home in Ndhiwa since that’s the only place I could seek refuge, considering I was jobless and could not afford to rent a house. I came along with my three handsome baby boys, who were four years old and four months old twins, respectively.

My parents equally struggled to meet my daily basic needs and their grandchildren’s. We barely ate a square meal a day, and my firstborn, a four-year-old boy at the time, could not join pre-school to commence his education due to inadequate finance. As a mother, this was a deal-breaker, and I could not settle any longer with the state of things at the time. This financial challenge pushed me to move out of my comfort zone in search of a source of income.

As I was in Ndhiwa town, I saw the Ajira Digital Platform awareness flag and remembered my brother had advised me to try the programme some days back. I gained interest and visited the Kosewe Ajira Empowerment Centre (AYEC) In Ndhiwa to find out more about the opportunity and what could be in it for me. After a detailed and engaging info session with the Kosewe AYEC manager, I saw a ray of hope, and my life took another turn towards the journey of empowerment and independence.

I attended a two-day virtual training on Transcription and Data Entry at the centre and managed to secure some online work on Upwork and QA World accounts which paid me some reasonable income to put food on the table. Luckily, through hard work and diligence, I got a job opportunity as a legal transcriptionist at Adept Technologies, one of Ajira Digital Business Processes Outsourcing (BPO).

Working as a transcriber has exposed me to a lot of valuable soft skills, but most importantly, I can fend for my children without financial support from my parents. It gives me immense joy and inspiration to see my son in school with his peers because I can pay the much-needed school fees out of the money I earn from online work. I have also employed a house help to look after my twins while I am at work. Knowing that I can empower another woman by creating an opportunity to earn is a daily motivation for me to keep pushing the bar to absorb more mean in meaningful employment besides referring them to Ajira Digital to explore the available digital opportunities.

This opportunity has broadened my aspirations, and one of my short-term plans now is to save up some money to complete my ACCA professional course to advance my career. Thanks to Ajira for availing of such an opportunity in Ndhiwa, which gives me the advantage of more time to pursue evening classes after work. Unlike working in big cities like Nairobi, where there is crazy traffic Jam, working in Ndhiwa is very convenient and allows one to save time to engage in other meaningful work.

I thank the Ajira Digital Programme for granting young Kenyans a lifetime opportunity to grow.”


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