With no college papers, he earned a Masters
Posted Friday, September 9 2011 at 22:30
A number of his peers were lucky to further their education easily, but he was not as fortunate.
Salim Mohamed had big ambitions — secure a white-collar job and work with an international organisation.
And realising these dreams could perhaps have been easier with a sound college education.
But after failing to join a tertiary institution, the community became his college, a stepping stone to greater things.
Mohamed attended a series of courses but these were not adequate for any recognisable certification.
But despite this, Mohamed has managed consultancy projects in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa and has even been a programme manager at Carolina For Kibera.
Meet Mohamed, 35, a portrait of hope and determination. His is a story of how a chosen few can emerge triumphant against all odds.
In a world where people with no college education are perceived to have limited opportunities, Mohamed is a testament of the possibilities life can throw up.
Most people with no college or even high school education easily give up and fail to do anything with their lives. Not Mohamed.
With a high school certificate and no undergraduate degree or diploma certificate, he enrolled for a Masters degree programme at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom and graduated with a distinction.
“They looked at the academic papers I had written and the references; people who had talked about my work,” says Mohamed of the application process, adding his education was funded by friends.
This week, the Saturday Nation had a chat with the East Africa representative of Ashoka, a non-profit organisation that supports entrepreneurs and change makers across the world.
Two years ago, Mohamed could never have imagined landing such a prestigious position.
Having joined the university programme in December 2009, Mohamed graduated last December with a Masters degree in management and implementation of development projects.
He returned to Kenya in January this year and landed the job with Ashoka.
Prof Paul Barry, director of the Masters in Science in management and implementation of development programme at the University of Manchester told Saturday Nation: “He was a highly motivated and industrious student, a team play and a leader in the group. He was highly considerate about the wellbeing of his colleagues and contributed much to the harmony and coherence of the group. He excelled in his studies, achieving a deserved distinction.”
A close acquaintance this week described Mohamed as “awesome and talented.”
Despite his feat, Mohamed is modest, saying he owes everything to the communities he worked with which humbled and taught him values he could never have acquired at school.