Brought up by a single mother, Wangui Mwaniki learnt to be responsible from an early age. Her father had passed on when she was barely an year old and she is the last born and an only girl in a family of three.
Growing up with boys must have prepared well her to survive in a male dominated world. She is strong willed, confident and a go-getter.
First impressions last
Her mother was a prayerful woman and a strong Christian. The family never missed a church service no matter what and this also contributed a lot in what she is doing currently in her life.
“Missing church was never an option and I thank mom for instilling in me this foundation from an early life,” says Wangui.
There used to be a children’s home in her church where orphaned boys were housed. She would always go to visit, help and play with them whenever she had the opportunity. In class six, she remembers sharing with a friend that when she grew up, she would love to work with destitute children.
She was always touched by the donors who used to visit the home once in a while and put a smile on each child’s face.
“These donors would come to visit the boys with gifts. I would always notice how they would bring happiness onto these boys’ faces and I determined that one day, I would also love to be a philanthropist,” says Wangui.
She admits she didn’t really know what she would do but she knew she wanted to do something that would have an impact.
After primary school at Langalanga primary, Wangui joined Langalanga secondary up to Form Three before transferring to Anester School where she did her KCSE. She joined the Germany Institute College immediately after form four to do computer studies. She was to study at German Institute for only two weeks.
Following an advert that had been posted in one of the Dailies for a pharmacy assistant Wangui applied but got the posting. Although the advert had specifically asked for a person with a C+ in KCSE, Wangui used her mock results and her confidence and attitude got her the job barely three weeks after leaving school.
She worked at the chemist for one year before joining the Technical University of Kenya (TUK) to study International Relations and Diplomacy.
Work or Hobby?
For her internship, Wangui worked at the Nakuru County Headquarters in the public relations and IT departments. It was also during her internship that she stated volunteering at Two Feet project in Nakuru. Even after she went back to Nairobi for her studies Wangui would still come back to Nakuru at least once a month to volunteer. She was then a student at Technical University of Kenya (TUK).
Even before she did her final exams, she was offered a job at Two Feet Project where she had been volunteering.
“That was a dream come true. I finally had a job in a field I had always wanted to work in,” says Wangui who is the Girls Program Coordinator & Community Center Manager for Two feet Project in Nakuru.
Wangui is also the Assistant secretary for the Real Nakuru Analysts which is a lobby group registered as a CBO in Nakuru. The lobby group is involved in advocacy and acts as a watch dog for the larger Nakuru County community.
Through the CBO, she was able to do a campaign for voter registration around Nakuru during the Nakuru Youth Week among other events.