Networking Entrepreneur Inspires Others in Kibera Slums

Stephen Orioki is helping youth in his community recognize the opportunities available in networking technology.

A Pathway to Opportunity

In 2007, Hital Muraj, Cisco Networking Academy regional manager for East Africa, undertook a bold effort to create an ICT skills training center in Kibera, the second largest slum in Africa, and one of nearly 200 slums surrounding Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.

Muraj envisioned a self-supported educational center that would enable students to enroll in the Cisco IT Essentials course for free, or at a very low cost, and sought donated computers to create a student computer lab. As a result of her efforts and the support she received, an academy was opened at Raila Educational Centre and 80 students registered for Networking Academy courses during the first week of operation.

Graduate Uses Skills to Make a Difference

Stephen Ondieki Orioki is a graduate of the academy at Raila Educational Centre in Kibera. Orioki completed the IT Essentials course and free business training offered at the academy, which provides guidance in several areas including job seeking, entrepreneurship, and customer service.

Orioki used his career and technical skills to open a computer repair shop. He started running the business out of his home, with a computer he purchased with borrowed funds.

A Regional IT Ambassador

Orioki successfully expanded his business into three computer centers with 30 computers and four employees. He invites youth involved in deviant activities such as drugs and gambling to play computer games at the centers and learn about technology. "It's a place for them to socialize and think more positively," he explains. "Most of them can relate to me because I grew up in the neighborhood. They see me overcoming the same challenges they face and they're motivated to try to make some changes themselves.” More than 400 students have completed courses at the centers, with an average of 30 students attending each class.

In recognition of his accomplishments, Orioki was invited to attend a Nobel Peace Prize Award ceremony in Oslo, Norway. “Stephen’s achievements inspired the selection team in the United States,” says Muraj, “and they chose him to represent the entire African region at the awards.”

 

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