CNN Award Winner Nelly Cheboi Reveals Raila Paid Her Air Ticket to US

CNN Award Winner Nelly Cheboi Reveals Raila Paid Her Air Ticket to US
CNN Award Winner Nelly Cheboi Reveals Raila Paid Her Air Ticket to US

Azimio leader Raila Odinga sponsored Nelly Cheboi’s air travel to the United States a couple of years back, it now emerges.

The 29-year-old won the CNN Hero of the Year Award to become the winner of the coveted Elevate Prize.

After completing her secondary education at the Thika-based Mary Hill Girls High School, the Kenyan philanthropist secured a scholarship to undertake her tertiary education at the Augustana College in the US.

Her stumbling block was however getting a passport, visa, and air ticket to secure her place at the institution.

With the admission date fast approaching, Cheboi decided to seek help, including from her native area MP who helped her get a passport.

She would however not be out of the woods even with the passport as she needed a visa and air ticket.

Cheboi continued seeking help until she caught the attention of Raila who offset the needed monies.

She said Raila handed her KSh 300,000 which she used as the air ticket and also catering for other expenses.

“I would tell people that I’m Nelly, I got a KCSE mean grade of A from Mary Hill. I got a scholarship in the US and I don’t have a passport. My area MP then heard about it and organised for me to get the passport. It came after two days.

“Now I needed a visa and air ticket. So I went back. I’m Nelly, I got a scholarship in the US, and I should be reporting in two weeks. I have a passport but no air ticket. I kept saying this until I met Raila. He gave me KSh 300,000,” Cheboi said.

Cheboi went ahead to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics.

The philanthropist quit her software job to create tech labs for Kenyan schoolkids.

CNN veteran journalist Anderson Cooper announced Cheboi as the winner in an event held at the American Museum of Natural History.

She trounced 10 other nominees to clinch the top award.

Cheboi was in the company of her family members when she received the award.

Apart from the Sh74 million Elevate Prize, she secured Sh1.2 million cash reward and Sh12.3 million grant to expand her work.

Speaking after receiving the award, Cheboi said:

“Every year, people are graduating into the corporate world without ever using a computer. This forces them to go back to the village with their education,” she stated.

“I want to get to 100 schools which translates to 40,000 school-going children. We need to rewrite what it means to grow up in rural Africa because people can work glamorous jobs and still work in your community.”

Cheboi is a software engineer who turned out to be a philanthropist.

She has been using her hard-earned income to purchase computers for Kenyan schools.

She runs an organisation dubbed TechLit Africa. She also sources computers from abroad for use in local schools.



CNN Award Winner Nelly Cheboi Reveals Raila Paid Her Air Ticket to US

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