Kenyan student wins top TAFE award in Australia
A pathology student who worked as a midwife in Kenya has been named TAFE NSW International Student of the Year.
Immanuel Njenga Njoroge will complete a diploma of laboratory technology at the institute’s Granville college this semester.
Despite a three-week late start he has excelled at the course, which includes microbiology units and will allow him to assist in disease diagnosis and research.
He said he was humbled to receive the award at the Sydney Opera House last week.
“I was quite encouraged even to realise that there is a kind of environment where people who are deserving are rewarded according to merits,” he said.
“Though I know there were other people who were deserving, maybe this was my time.”
Mr Njoroge, who lives in Mt Druitt, said he would like to further his academic qualifications in midwifery next.
He helped mothers — including a HIV negative teen whose partner turned out to be HIV positive — deliver healthy babies for many years before deciding to move to Australia 20 months ago to sharpen his skills.
‘‘Here you have facilities but back in Kenya, particularly in the rural kind of setting, you can come across very challenging situations whereby you have to improvise some of the devices which you are supposed to use to rescue mothers,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s also good sometimes to be brave because if you panic you will not be in a situation to help the person.’’
Mr Njoroge said the devolved system of government introduced in Kenya after the 2011 elections was helping to better resource the country’s medical facilities, but he hopes to stay longer in Australia.
‘‘I’d like to sharpen my skills and I think this is one of the best environments because in Australia they have very good systems when it comes to the health sector and education-wise,’’ he said.
‘‘I was pumped with a lot of information [in Kenya] but we have the challenge of lack of facilities.’’
Mr Njoroge commended his TAFE lecturers and lab assistants, family, and friends within the Blacktown-based Victory Life Christian Church and Partakers Sanctuary Church communities.
‘‘I’m very grateful to them,’’ he said.
‘‘I’m very proud of the support my parents have given to me despite the minimum resources they had. They made sure they educated us, which I think is the best way of empowerment.’’