Inspire Spaces organization was a light at the end of a dark tunnel for me. I was a young girl, 14yrs old, and I had just completed my primary school education with a pocket full of dreams but no fathomable way to make these dreams a reality. My name is Esther Mima Ramadhan and this is my story.
I come from a family of four: two parents and two children, both born and raised in Bombolulu, Mombasa. I am lucky to have been raised by both parents. My mother, who is a strong, bold woman- Monica Angode, and my father Ramadhan Juma who despite his personal struggles, has remained an important pillar in my family. Lastly but definitely not least is my younger brother, Juma Ramadhan, the family comic who ensured that no day was ever without laughter.
I went to school at the age of four, and by the age of 11, in 2012, the tension in my parents’ relationship had reached a breaking point, forcing my mother to move to Kibwezi, a town in Kenya’s Eastern province, with my brother and I. Life in Kibwezi proved to be more tumultuous than anticipated. Formal employment was hard to come by for my mom and she resorted to casual labor as a mama fua 1 . Her modest salary as a casual laborer meant that my brother and I had to wait for about two months before she could save up enough money to enroll us in school. Scarcity ensued. The three meals a day we were accustomed to suddenly became a luxury, and we lived each day unsure of whether we would have enough for the next.
Finally, at the end of our second month in Kibwezi I was enrolled into Kibwezi Township Primary School, albeit half a school term late. Nonetheless, I was determined to do my best because at the time, that seemed the only thing in my control. Everything else was slowly falling apart with my dad battling drug addiction, a losing battle which kept him from sustaining any job. My mother on the other hand was still dependent on her meager daily wages which barely kept us in school. Although I did not know what the future held; whether or not I would join high school, I knew that I had the present and I was determined to give it my all because in the end, the present is all we are ever assured of.
In 2014, in my final year of primary school, an event that would change the trajectory of my life occurred. We were called for a school assembly where for the first time I met Fred Ndavi. He spoke to us about an organization, Inspire Spaces, which he was starting to help fund underprivileged students’ education. The passion with which he spoke about Inspire Spaces told me that this was something special, and more than that, it was something I desperately wanted to be a part of. I applied for the scholarship, and after passing my KCPE examinations, I saw the culmination of all the blood, sweat, and tears- I was selected as an Inspire Spaces
1 Mama fua is an informal term used to describe a lady who washes clothes for others to earn daily, often modest,wages. scholar. It was like the first light of daybreak after a dark, stormy night. Dawn was here! The proverbial joy that comes in the morning was finally mine and I basked in all its splendor! Inspire Spaces has been a game changer in my life. Beyond facilitating my secondary and
tertiary education, they have molded me holistically, embedding in me key leadership skills
such as responsibility, confidence, and compassion.
The August and December camps they organized were particularly pivotal as they showed me the importance of giving back to our communities, and the inherent power in contributing to the lives of others. During these camps we would go to schools in Kibwezi, Emali, and Rongai and assist in renovating schools through painting classes and building desks for the students to create a more conducive learning environment. Through these exercises, I was moved and avowed to always look for ways to give back to my community and invest in the lives of others just like Inspire Spaces had invested in me.
I finally completed my secondary education in 2018 and secured a chance to study at one of the
best universities in Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT). I joined JKUAT in 2019 to pursue a degree in Corporate Communication and Management, currently in my third year. The light at the end of the tunnel is finally within grasp and I now know that my dreams are valid. Inspire Spaces has also given me an attachment opportunity 2 to put into practice what I have learned in the past three years at university. I am ecstatic to be working for the organization, a
full circle moment because I am finally able to give back to the organization that has given me
God has been good to me, and I have seen this goodness shine in a special way through Inspire
Spaces. I am immensely grateful for everyone I have met on this journey, and my only prayer is
that I can one day be able to bless others the way Inspire Spaces has and continues to bless my life. Fred Ndavi, and the entire Inspire Spaces team, are truly the gift that keeps on giving.