The fixation on pursuing white-collar jobs has lost its significance for Risper Kerubo, a First Class graduate from Kenyatta University. After graduating with a degree in Health Sciences in 2015, Kerubo’s enthusiasm for job hunting waned despite her numerous attempts.
Confronting the reality of unemployment, Kerubo decided to explore alternative means of survival. Inspired by her kinsmen’s success in selling bananas and avocados from the countryside in Nairobi, she decided to venture into the same business in 2016.
Armed with knowledge of the trade, Kerubo established a shop in Nairobi’s Imara Daima estate, and her decision has proven fruitful. She now sells up to two 90kg sacks of bananas and nearly five crates of avocados daily, yielding a net profit of Sh1,000 after deducting all costs, including transport, capital, and her worker’s salary of Sh500 per day.
Although she quickly became profitable, Kerubo initially struggled to come to terms with the fact that her academic excellence had led her to become a fruit vendor. She felt a disconnect between her academic achievements and her current occupation.
Kerubo’s story is not unique, as thousands of graduates in Kenya find themselves trapped in poverty, unable to secure jobs or raise capital for business ventures like hers. Another First Class graduate, Ms. Ruth Rono from Baringo, faced similar challenges until she received a state job at the Energy Regulatory Commission, thanks to the support of well-wishers who offered her numerous employment opportunities.
The situation highlights the prevailing issue of unemployment in Kenya, with highly educated individuals struggling to find suitable job opportunities that align with their academic qualifications and aspirations. As more graduates face this challenge, Kerubo’s story stands as a testament to the resilience and resourcefulness of individuals who forge their own paths to success outside of traditional white-collar jobs.