by Jacob Ochieng
At the end of their 3rd year, most university students in Kenya are required to get an internship for at least two months in a recognized firm in their field. This exposes students to the work environment that they can expect, and allows them to apply what they have been learning in class and realize what they still need to learn in their final year.
Seeking an internship can be challenging, as universities don’t help locate one. Some firms even require the interns to pay a fee.
Jacob has been a sponsored student at Ndoto since 2017 when he was in 10th grade. He is currently enrolled at Egerton University studying Communication and Media. He was worried about where to do his internship because he didn’t have a lot of a network.
He knew that it would be easier for him to come back home to Kisumu, as he could live with his grandmother, who had helped raise him as he has been an orphan since childhood. Thinking of Kisumu, his home at Ndoto came to mind. When he was struggling to walk to and from a distant school every day, Ndoto gave Jacob hope by enrolling him in the same school as a boarding student and giving him a greater opportunity to study.
When he applied for an internship, Ndoto didn’t have a communications department, so he was afraid that his application would be denied. He assumed that without someone to mentor him, he might not succeed, although he felt like communication would be a key part of the ministry. What he didn’t realize was that we were simultaneously working to fill that gap ourselves, and we accepted Jacob’s internship application to work alongside our new hire, Samson.
Jacob confidently submitted his application anyways, and God works in his own ways for every person. Since he was hardly a stranger to the staff, he began to greet different people and share his reason for visiting. Before meeting our site director, he was informed that he would be meeting with Sam. “I wondered who was this Sam I would have to sit with,” Jacob recollected. “But when I entered Mercy’s office, the warm welcome was a sign that I was in the right place.”
He learned that Ndoto had recently created a Communications Department, and that because of this, Jacob had the green light to get an internship at Ndoto. He reported to work on May 10th and found his desk already set up with a laptop. He hardly needed much orientation to Ndoto, so he got straight to work reading some of Ndoto’s past articles.
Sam proved a friendly and approachable mentor, and he assigned Jacob an initial task of writing a student story. He researched and wrote an article and submitted it to the US Director, John Seale, for further editing and posting. The positive feedback he got from everyone was motivation enough to keep writing and learn photography skills. “I am confident I can work anywhere now because of the skills and experiences I gained,” Jacob says.
“I can not forget to mention how the entire Ndoto team made my stay enjoyable, and indeed I was home and home is the best,” Jacob wrote. “They did not consider me as an intern, rather I was more of a staff just as they were. This was evident from the way we interacted and communicated, the way I was involved in programs, and the responsibilities I was given.”
Jacob is a talented soccer player, and he was invited to join the competitive Ndoto FC team. Clinton, the director of the Ndoto Sports Academy, recognized Jacob’s leadership skills and made him the captain of the team. Even this contributed to Jacob’s internship experience, as he learned how to handle conflicts and when to celebrate the small victories that come along the way.
“My prayer is to one day give back to Ndoto in plenty, for they have really been family, friends, and investors who have made me who I am today. Saying thank you isn’t enough for me, I will be back and also change lives.”