A 29-year-old Kenyan software engineer has been feted as the 2022 CNN Hero of the year for her efforts in helping thousands of students in several rural parts of the country to have access to up-cycled computers through her non-profit organization, TechLit Africa.
The award comes with a $100,000 (KES 12.3 million) prize awarded to each person in the top 10 of the CNN Hero of the Year list.
In her acceptance speech, Ms Cheboi, who grew up in the rural town of Mogotio, Baringo County, said she understood what it meant to live as a poor person and how hard work, persistence and determination could take anyone places.
“I know the pain of poverty. I never forgot what it was like with my stomach churning because of hunger at night,” she said.
Nelly Cheboi was a top performer in school, which saw her receive a full scholarship to Augustana College in Illinois in 2012, where she developed an interest in computer science.
“When I discovered computer science, I just fell in love with it. I knew that this is something that I wanted to do as my career, and also bring it to my community,” she told CNN.
She would later embark on a career in the software industry where she learned that companies that upgraded their technology infrastructure would dispose their old computers. She started collecting these old computers as donations and send them back to Kenya.
As after she began working in the software industry that she learnt how computers were being thrown away by companies that upgraded their technology infrastructure.
President Ruto Pays Tribute To Nelly Cheboi – Mashujaa Day
President William Ruto paid glowing tribute to Nelly Cheboi, during the Mashujaa day celebrations, after she was named the CNN Hero of The Year for her work in creating computer labs for Kenyan schoolchildren.
“We congratulate the 29-year-old Nelly Cheboi the founder of TechLit Africa who this morning was declared the CNN hero of the year for her work in creating computer labs for Kenyan children to access opportunities in the digital world,” he said.