Meet Becky

“The field of technology is ever evolving. As a Woman with a Disability in this field, I am constantly learning, relearning, and unlearning. Every day I am empowered to be a better IT professional.”  

From an early age, Becky Mwaniki possessed a deep a passion for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). She dreamed of becoming a powerful Kenyan woman capable of creating change for women and girls in the technology field–a dream she is well on her way to making a reality.

Becky was born in the eastern part of Kenya. She was healthy at birth and a typical, active child until age five. It was then Becky’s world changed dramatically when she began experiencing unexplained bouts of extreme fatigue. This exhaustion concerned her parents as did the fact one of Becky’s legs was rapidly becoming shorter than the other.

They knew their child needed urgent medical attention, yet doctors remained perplexed and unable to discover the root cause of her condition. Motivated by love and fearlessly ignoring the stigma attached to her disability, Becky’s parents consulted doctors for six years—and received no answers.

Eventually the family was advised to bring her to Cure International Hospital in Kijabe, a renowned mission hospital which remains one of the best in the region. Becky, now age 12, was growing increasingly weak and losing hope…until she met Dr. Scott Harrison.

“My first surgery took eight hours. All my surgeries were performed by Dr Harrison. He was a good friend to my dad during this process and explained all my treatments. Dr. Scott was truly my guardian angel. I finally started improving and everyone was happy.”

The success of Becky’s surgery meant she now had the strength to resume focus on achieving her dream. She enrolled in Joytown Secondary School, a school for Persons with Disabilities in Thika, Kenya. Thanks to the values of hard work, resilience and excellence instilled by her parents she quickly impressed her teachers and excelled in her studies.

Following graduation from Joytown, Becky joined Zetech University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Business Information Technology.

“Enrolling in Zetech was a dream come true. I would now be able to do the work I had only dreamed of and would finally have the opportunity to make an impact in the world.” Becky shares, her voice conveying the deep emotion behind her words.

Becky was correct, yet there would remain obstacles in her way. Most Kenyans did not believe a woman, let alone a Woman with a Disability, could succeed in the technology field. They had never met Becky Mwaniki.

With her university degree achieved, Becky prepared to enter the next phase of her plan: the job search. This endeavor, challenging for all new graduates, proved to be even more challenging for Becky. She knew it would take patience and convincing to find a company who believed a Woman with a Disability could succeed in the male-dominated field.  Accustomed to navigating challenges—Becky struggled yet retained her optimism.

“When I finally secured a job as a Data Analyst I was so happy and relieved. I quickly gained new skills and was promoted to IT Support. I now work at Next Step Foundation as an IT Manager.”

Becky’s pride in her work and the tenacity it took to achieve it is palpable as she shares her story. Her role at Next Step Foundation empowers her not only to be economically independent, but to financially assist her family as well.

Equally important is the fact Becky has shifted the disability narrative in her community. She is living proof when offered the same educational opportunities as other children a Child with a Disability will thrive and succeed.

“NSF is my haven. It offers me learning opportunities that have made me better and I am optimistic about my future.  I am passionate about the ability and opportunity to impact the lives of Women with Disabilities in technology and Next Step Foundation has made my entire dream a reality!”

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