The road was rough, thorny, un-certain, traumatizing and worse still humiliating. The going was tough with no site nor hope for the future. Thrown out by in-laws with young children and left to the vagaries
of the world.
A jobless widow with orphaned children at the age of 30 where was she to go when those who were supposed to give her love, comfort, consolation and above all shoulders to cry on had turned out to be nothing but heartless tormentors.
Armed with nothing, not a single cent on her body but the clothes on her body and those ones on her children, she was ruthlessly shown the door and even the little they had been able to put together with her husband taken away from her and his children – thrown in the cold where was she to begin without even food to give her children?
Indeed before being thrown out by her sisters and brothers in-laws who ganged up with their mother, the young widow Anne Wanjiku Wado then 30 years old was forced to sign an affidavit to completely disinherit her and children – there was nobody to protect the widow and orphans as God decreed.
However, with a single shilling given to her by the elderly woman neigbour who had given her shelter, she struck on the road to start struggling for herself and children with the journey beginning from Westlands in Nairobi city to get back on her feet again.
This is the story of Mrs. Anne Wanjiku Wado who through hard work, prayer, focus and determination has conquered all odds to become the proud owner of one of a chain of the most successful Academies in the country St. Elizabeth Academies located right from the capital city in Nairobi all the way to the coast and across the country.
In 1991 her husband who was a top banker at the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) passed on after fighting cancer for a long time. But before her husband’s death, Anne had to resign from her newly gotten job to take care of her husband whose life was threatened by the terminal disease.
Indeed very few are ready to sacrifice their jobs to take care of their ailing partners, particularly if that job is just new after the grueling vagaries of hustling through university education and landing any job for that matter in the jobless market that is Kenya.
When the husband died she was only 30 years and Mrs. Wado says: “At such a young age I went through difficult times.” She says that her sister in-laws ganged up and asked her Mother in-law to let her go after swearing an affidavit to disinherit her and her children.
In 1992 Mrs. Wado and her children were thrown onto the streets or dumped on the roads as it were right from the comforts of her own marital home not knowing where to go next and with her children she says it was very painfully traumatizing.
While on the road a neighbour took her together with her children and gave her accommodation. She remembers that one day in the same year of 1992 the old lady who had offered her shelter with her children gave her one shilling because she had only two shillings on her.
Mrs. Wado recalls: “I left for Westlands armed with this single bob that my guardian savior had given me and the rest are details.” Not wanting to delve into details of the painful past of her life and children.
Mrs. Anne Wanjiku Wado was born in Shinga location-Othaya in 1957. She attained Division 1 at Tumutumu Girls High School in 1975 for her ‘O’ level Secondary school education.
After her ‘A’ levels at Kangaroo Girls High School in Embu she joined University of Nairobi where she got her 1st class honours degree in 1980. In 1982 she went the United Kindom (UK) to do Risk Management.
Anne says that she did the Risk management for Tana Delta Irrigation project 1 & 2, Barclays Bank of Kenya, the prestigious Laico Regency hotel, Safari Park and also Serena lodges in Zanzibar.
In 1999 armed with Kshs 4million she started St. Elizabeth Academy. She used Kshs 3.2 to buy 3 acres of land and started both the primary & high school sections. Right now she has about 8 schools spread across the country including Nairobi’s Karen area and Miritini & Bamburi in Coast region.
She boasts of 98 teachers and 52 support staff. St. Elizabeth Academy was among the top in Nairobi County where it got a mini grade 370 up from 320. She says that 20% of her income goes to the orphans and the less privileged.
However, the most important thing is that as education has become her life’s passion, it is paramount that the government must partner with the private sector schools to ensure that the country enjoys high quality education both in private and public educational institutions.
“Indeed it is paramount that the Government works closely with the private sector for the sake of the country’s economic stability, the Director of St. Elizabeth Academy Mrs. Anne Wanjiku Wado has says.
The director also asked the Education Cabinet Secretary Mr. Fred Matiang’i to consider visiting private schools to get firsthand experience of the challenges affecting the private education practitioners.
She says: “As stakeholders in the education sector in this country, this will give us the opportunity to candidly deliberate on the country’s education programmes and their effective execution which would assist the development of the education sector.”
At the same time Mrs. Wado congratulated the President for appointing Mr. Matiang’i to head the education docket saying that having been in the sector for many years she is confident that Matiang’i will steer the education sector to greater heights.
“I therefore appeal to my fellow heads of schools and all the stake holders to give the CS all the necessary support for the sake of the future of our children and the critical role education plays in their lives,” she said.
On the banking sector Wado expressed fears on how the high interest rates had affected the schools especially those in the private sector saying that even as the rates continued going up the fees on the other side remained permanently constant making the running of schools to become very difficult.
She particularly pointed out school buses which she said that most of them were acquired through loans hence the need for Government to intervene to make the commercial financial institution’s interest rates are more affordable.
Mrs. Wado says that besides owning a chain of primary and secondary schools across the Country including Nairobi and Mombasa Counties she has started the Karen Institute of Science & Technology (KIST) set to open its doors to students mid this month.
“I got the urge to start the college due to the many students who were unable to join form one and also universities,” she said adding that the college is set to offer Agriculture and hospitality courses and a seed capital to be given to all the students upon completion to start their own businesses.
The director says that education is extremely important not only to the future of our children, but also the country’s economy since any innovations, inventions and other progressive achievements can only be done with a strong education foundation.