James Ndungu is a university graduate who is no longer interested in looking for jobs after a prospective male employer asked for sexual favours in exchange for a job.
Now a fruit hawker in Umoja estate, he narrates his story to the Nairobian:
Briefly introduce yourself.
I am currently 35 years and I hail from Murang’a County. I schooled at Kagira Primary School where I scored 432 out of 500 marks. I secured a sponsored slot in Starehe Boys Centre where I managed B+ in KCSE.
Tell us about your upbringing.
I did KCPE in 2003. Joined form 1 in 2004 and did KCSE in 2007. I was to join university in 2009 but I couldn’t move to another level due to financial strain. I joined in 2016 after saving some money doing several manual jobs ranging from mjengo, watchman, and hotel as a waiter.
Were you not sponsored to university level?
Actually, the sponsorship I received was for four years. My sponsor was Canada Child Care International. After Form 4 they had to transfer it to a needy child in Form One. But a Germany sponsorship could take me through to university level.
How long did it take you to join university and where did you get the money from?
Like I said earlier, I joined university seven years after completing high school. This is after saving some money doing several manual jobs ranging from mjengo, watchman, and hotel as a waiter. Apart from saving a little money from doing manual jobs, I also went to HELB and made friendship with officials at Anniversary Towers. I got a maximum HELB offer, including sponsorship of 10,000 annually non-refundable.
I could go for mjengo daytime and get Sh400. I also could make and sell samosas where I was working as a watchman and get at least Sh200 from sales. My watchman salary was Sh6,500.
You say you have never secured a job since you graduated?
Yes, I have never secured any white-collar job ever since I graduated in 2020. Everywhere you go to apply you are expected to part with money and the job is not guaranteed. The worst thing to have happened to me was when a prospective employer demanded sexual favours before giving me a job.
This made you give up job hunting?
Absolutely, there is no way I could imagine sleeping with a fellow man let alone doing it under any circumstance. I resorted to hawking fruits in order to survive.
How has this experience affected you psychologically?
As we speak, I am depressed and this has taken a toll on me. I have been through hell. Society is expecting much from me yet I have nothing.
What is your appeal to well-wishers and prospective employers?
I am appealing to any Kenyan of good will to connect me with any job opportunity. I am hardworking and a fast learner. I am not choosy when it comes to jobs. I am a responsible guy. I will highly appreciate any opportunity offered. I am at my wit’s end and I don’t mind any kind of job as long as it will bring in some income. I want to be able to help others in society.