Saturday, September 23, 2023

Lawrence Mutua: Boy who sold scrap metals at Mukuru slums to join University in Canada

Lawrence Mutua was born in Nairobi’s Mukuru Kwa Reuben Slum with his tough childhood, a testament that you don’t have to be born with a silver spoon to achieve great things in life.

His journey from the Slums to St Andrew’s School, Turi, and soon to a University in Canada is a testament of hope. Narrating his childhood life, Mutua explained how hard life felt growing up with less.

Being the ninth child in a family of ten, Mutua and his siblings resorted to doing odd jobs at a young age to supplement their parents’ income, who were always away for work.

“The concept of independence was firmly ingrained in us from an early age. The mere act of having three meals a day was a rare privilege, and mostly we could afford one or a maximum of two meals,’’ he said.

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Mutua revealed he did his first job at the age of five. Alongside his friends, they would wake up at 5 am to collect scrap metals and sell them in the local market at a profit.

“Sometimes the scrap metal was hard to find, and we would rely on our other money making scheme like collecting animal bones which we would sell to the local recycling companies, or sell maize comb to the local cafes which they would use for fuel,’’ added Mutua.

At the time, he was a pupil at Reuben Primary School, where he was allowed to study at a free cost due to financial difficulties back home.

Despite the struggles, Mutua was keen not to associate himself with the world of crime and drugs, which trapped most of his friends.

His life changed when he was around eight years old.  According to him, he was abruptly picked from Reuben Primarily school, where he was studying, by his brother, who informed him of his interview at St Andrew’s School Turi.

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“Through the help of someone called Alex, whom my family had met a few years prior, who had heard about the Beacon Scholarship, Turi agreed to give me a huge bursary, and from that point on, my life changed immeasurably,’’

“The Beacon scholarship is a leadership program which has helped many students go to some of the best international schools in East Africa, who otherwise would not have been able to attend those schools,’’ he added.

Life in his new school was exactly what he dreamt of and, at the same time, challenging given the financial differences between him and his peers.

“When people told me about how they had gone to South Africa or Dubai for a holiday, I didn’t know what to say. I remembered the quiet jealousy in me about the differences between us,’’ recalled Mutua.

While he went through a lot at a very tender age, he believes his hardships motivated him to become the success he is today. He is set to further his studies at a university in Canada in September.

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