The Story of Janeth Jepleting: Raised By Alcoholic Father, Got Pregnant At 13 but Now Has a US Scholarship

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It has been a journey of pain and anguish for Janet Jepleting, but all that never deterred her quest for education.

The 30-year-old woman from Kilibwoni village in Emgwen Constituency, Nandi County, was born out of wedlock and ended up being raised by an alcoholic father who was violent most of the time – subjecting her to a miserable life.

Jepleting was exposed to gender-based violence at an early age – including domestic violence she saw her mother be subjected to.

At the age of nine, her grandmother took over the parental role, who unfortunately died two years later – forcing the young girl to move from one relative to another.

30-year-old Janet Jepleting.

Things went from bad to worse when she got pregnant just after sitting for her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (K.C.P.E) examinations. At that time, she was barely 13 years old.

This forced her to take a break from education and take up parental roles.

And in a quest to survive, and put food on the table for her child, the young Jepleting ended up working as a house girl for two years.

Passionate to continue with her studies despite the prevailing situation, she kept saving some cash for her studies as she remained hopeful that one day, things would be better and she would join her colleagues in school.

Jepleting was lucky to join Mosop Stephen Kositany Girls High School in Nandi County with the help of the National Government Constituency Development Funds (NG-CDF) in Emgwen Constituency.

Past photo of Janet Jepleting while at secondary school.

She had financial instability but was determined to work as a cleaner at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) just to help her raise her school fees.

Determined to pursue her education, Janeth Jepleting approached her boss with but one request – a loan of Ksh15,000 to cater for her school fees at Mosop Stephen Kositany Girls.

This amount of money could, however, not be enough because of the huge fee arrears she had accumulated.

Stephen Kositany, the principal of Mosop Kositany Girls High School was worried about how I was going to raise the fees but I explained that I would get funds from Elijah Lagat, the then Member of Parliament of Emgwen constituency who would later provide her with a bursary to clear her fee arrears,” she said.

After her form four examination, Jepleting applied for a diploma course in Law at The Nairobi Institute of Business Studies in Nairobi County but later transferred to the Catholic University of Eastern Africa to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Unfortunately, she deferred her studies for one year because of financial constraints.

After a student fellowship at All Saints Cathedral one evening, she says she met a well-wisher Valentine Gitoho, to whom she narrated her life, and luckily, she was an angel among men.

To my disbelief, Gitoho wrote me a Ksh200,000 Cheque to cater for my education. I was also privileged to get a sponsorship from All Saints Cathedral. At least for once, in my life I had experienced  God’s favors in a great way,” narrated Jepleting.

Janet Jepleting during her graduation.

After graduating in 2018, she made several applications to universities in the United Kingdom (UK) and she was fortunate to get admitted to the University of Sussex, for further studies, but it was self-sponsored making it expensive for her to join.

In 2021, she again made applications to a number of universities in the United States of America, and this time, she got admitted to Pepperdine University in California to pursue a Master’s degree in Public Policing.

She got a scholarship of 13,000 dollars per year but later wrote a scholarship enhancement letter narrating her financial situation.

Her plea was considered and she received an increment of scholarship from 18,000 US dollars to 27,000 dollars per year and just like that, her educational journey had received an immense boost.

All through this situation, Janeth Jepleting remained adamant that her past life could not determine her educational Journey – a journey that has been an educational pitfall for many young girls who in many Kenyan communities in the rural set up are forced into early marriages, face domestic violence and in some communities female genital mutilation that completely shatters the dreams of many of them.

And although the future looks bright for Jepleting – having secured her Visa to Pepperdine University, she is still looking up to well-wishers to support her and raise over  Ksh600,000  to cater for her travel allowances and other educational costs.

The scholarship is not covering full tuition fees and my friends and I are trying to do fundraising. Currently, we have only raised Ksh500, 000 and still, we are in need of one million shillings,” she notes.

Janet Jepleting with her mother during her graduation in 2018.

The Journey has not been easy. I thank God  I have had well-wishers coming through. I hope and pray for some more support to finish this final leg of my educational quest. It’s a journey close to my heart as it inspires young girls in my Kilibwoni village, Nandi county, and beyond who may have shared a bitter past with me, and in the words of Lupita Nyong’o ‘every little dream is valid’,” Janeth Jepleting adds.

And as she prepares for her journey overseas, she is happy her son Allan Kipkoech who is now fifteen years old, has recently joined Meteitei High School in Tinderet Constituency in Nandi County.

Jepleting says Allan has been a pillar of strength in all her struggles.

She is encouraging those who feel like giving up to keep pushing for their dreams and should use the challenges they face in life as a source of strength because, in life, nothing comes easy, eventually there will be victory.

I have political ambitions and after completing my Master’s degree in Pepperdine University, I am passionate about joining the Kenya National Intelligence Service (NIS) for my career and also start a foundation to help young women and girls in my society in a bid to empower more girls to live up to their dreams,” she reveals.

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