Phyllis Gikanga hawks cothes at Kikuyu Market. IMAGE/ COURTESY

They say education is the key to success, but to one Phyllis Gikanga, it seems to be the padlock barring her from what she has dreamed of doing all her life.

Ms Gikanga graduated with a bachelors degree in IT from USIU and later did a masters degree in Applied IT from the Nazarene University.

In 2015, she got a job at a local bank as a system administrator, but her joy was short lived as she lost her job in November 2017, a month before her husband followed suit.

Hard times followed for the couple, who had to provide for their three children between the age of 3 and 14.

With combined savings from their jobs, the couple decided to start a business that could see the family through. The idea of importing and selling second-hand clothes from China struck.

They started planning and identified a Kenyan lady living in China who would be shipping the clothes for them. However, tragedy befell the couple as the lady decided to con them and go missing in action after they had sent the money for the first shipment.

Having lost all their savings amounting to more than Ksh100,000, they had to recollect and start afresh.

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“Around January life became more difficult and we had a daughter who was going to form one and we needed money,” she says.

This was the time she forgot about her two degrees and started hawking second-hand clothes, to fend for her family.

Phyllis Gikanga during her heydays

However, the money she got was not enough as she would only hawk between 4pm and 8pm, for fear of being victimised by the county askaris.

In February, she got a job as a house-help, but her husband could not allow her. Her husband was doing casual jobs, mostly getting part time jobs as a driver.

Apart from hawking, Ms Gikanga has been doing other menial jobs like washing and plaiting and baking to increase her income.

Ms Gikanga, who spoke exclusively to Kahawa Tungu says that she has qualifications in Oracle, Linux, system administration and database management.

She is also good at Sign Language and French.

To advance her academic achievements, the lady has written a computer course book for secondary schools, but is yet to get approvals from the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development or find a publisher.

She is also writing a French book, but could not disclose the details.

Ms Gikanga has been applying for jobs without success. In the few interviews she has been invited to, prospective employers have been terming her as overqualified while others say that they cannot afford her, in relation to the salary she got with her previous employer.

Recently, she attended an interview and is hoping to get the job, after she was invited for the second round of interview.

She is calling on people of goodwill who can offer her a job and save her from the monster that is joblessness.

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