In 2002, Fabian Kiria Kaburu made the difficult decision to drop out of school in Form Four in a bid to help his parents pay school fees for his older siblings.
Kaburu, in an interview with the Daily Nation, said he was the best in their class but could only study for two weeks as he spent most of the time on the road while being sent to collect school fees.
“I was the best student in our class. But I could only study for two weeks, and then I would be sent back home for school fees. I was able to get a job on people’s farms, and by the time I got back to class, they were almost done with the syllabus. I could just see my mother’s determination, and one night I just decided to help her by dropping out of school,” he said.
As he was unable to continue with his studies, he saw the need to relocate to the city in Nairobi in search of a job where he could help his younger siblings at home who were in dire need.
He got a job as a shamba boy in Kabete, where he used to earn KES 1000 per month.
After years of working on the farm, Kaburu faced challenges in securing a better job due to a lack of academic qualifications.
“I decided I will go back to school and complete my secondary education. I enrolled at a school in Meru, like an adult school where you study for two years and then do your KCSE,” he said.
The 41-year-old sat for his KCSE in 2016, where he managed to score a B-minus.
He got admission to Meru University of Science and Technology, where he studied education while working as a security guard at night.
“A security guard at night and a teacher during the day, and again I have parental responsibilities. That was my biggest challenge. The thought of being poised to a university in another district would be difficult for me to support myself, and yet I was relying on the salary from the security job,” said Kaburu.
Kaburu graduated in May 2022 with Second Class Honors.
Despite graduating from the University, the father of two is yet to quit his watchman job as he has other outstanding expenses to clear.
“Since I did not have enough money to pay all my varsity fees at once, when I completed, my arrears and other bills had accumulated to about KES 500,000, so I decided to keep both jobs,” he said.