An Athlete’s Focus: Seline’s Journey from Jump Roper to Straight-A Student June 4, 2015 by Carolina For Kibera
By: Jeffrey Okoro, Education Program Officer
When first meeting Seline Anyango, CFK scholarship recipient, it is obvious that she is very diligent and serious about her studies. But there is certainly more to Seline, including a sharp wit, an athlete’s focus, and plenty of confidence.
Seline, who was born and grew up in Kibera’s Gatwekera village, took her first step on the path to earning a CFK scholarship by joining the Sports Association—specifically the jump rope team, The CFK Sprinters, of which she’s still an active member. She learned about the team while she was in elementary school. After watching impromptu street performances (what the CFK Sprinters call “Road Shows”), she decided to try out for the team at the age of 12 when she was in 7th grade. Jumping with the team helped her learn vital lessons about teamwork and friendship, but also opened the door to many youth-led workshops on self-esteem, life skills, and the importance of staying in school.
This last topic hit home for Seline, who at the time was having trouble paying school fees. While her family supported her decision to keep studying, the financial strain of sending multiple children to school proved to be too much. She was told she would have to wait until her older siblings graduated. So, Seline set out in search of opportunities. She was referred to CFK’s Education Program by a friend on the team. Shortly thereafter, she decided to apply. At the end of the cycle, she received great news—she was being awarded a 3-year scholarship from CFK!
I managed to meet Seline at CFK’s office right before she embarked on the journey back to Machakos, a town in Kenya’s Eastern Province about an hour and a half away from Nairobi, where she attends St. Valentine High School. Now 16 years old, she is currently in 11th grade and in the third year of her scholarship. Dressed in her blue blouse, red tie and dark blue dress, she could be easily mistaken for an officer from the Kenya Ministry of Health, as they dress very similarly. Perhaps this is intentional, since Seline intends to go into medicine. “I want to be a nurse,” she says, warmly, “because I admire the care they provide others.” With a smile, she adds, “Plus, it’s nice that they are always smartly dressed.”
What makes the highly confident 16-year-old outstanding is her ability to be both a top performer at school, maintaining an A- average in her studies, while also staying committed to the CFK Sprinters. Unlike many teenagers who would pick celebrities as their role models, Seline describes her jump rope coach, David, as a positive and determined mentor. “The lessons I’ve learned from jump rope and my coaches like self-discipline, consistency, and hard work have helped me in my studies—and my life,” she says, proudly. When asked about the secret to her success, she cleverly taps her plastic watch, meaning the skill of time management.
Seline has big dreams. She wants to graduate from high school with top marks and start working to become a nurse. She wants to help take care of her family. She also shares some more casual but no less ambitious dreams, including a desire to travel to Switzerland to eat as much chocolate as possible. With her determination, wit, and ambition, she’ll surely make all her dreams a reality.