CNN’s Faith Karimi has a one-of-a-kind story to tell. I was lucky to be the first Kenyan journalist to tell her story.
She’s not just your average media personality. Hers is a totally different success story. The Digital Newsdesk Editor, currently contributing to CNN.com was raised in Menengai, Nakuru. Her dad passed away in 1992 while she was still in secondary school. Her struggling family had to depend on her ailing mum for survival.
When a ‘missionary’ came out of the blue to offer her education in the U.S., her mum sold the last she had so that she could make her daughter’s dream come true. Little did she know that it was the biggest test she had to go through.
Faith told Daily Nation in a recent interview that when she set foot in the U.S., her sponsor to be was nowhere to be seen and she had to start life with the $100 dollars she had left to her name. The Nigerian lecturer of Grambling State University where she was supposed to enroll took her in and offered to pay for her first semester at the school. This was not a permanent solution to her devastation.
Her mum’s passing on a few months later came as a big blow. She didn’t make it to her mom’s burial because she didn’t have the money to buy an airplane ticket. Faith would then go on to work in various jobs – including hotels and working for the school’s news publication to support her study and her siblings back home. When she graduated, she was top of the class, earning her a scholarship in Masters in Communications.
After she graduated, she went on to work with various news organizations, including The Press-Enterprise newspaper and The Baltimore Sun in Baltimore, Maryland. This would lead her to getting a job at CNN.
Faith has been a huge inspiration to young people back home. Recently she took part in a taped conversation with high school students from Kitale. She shared her success story and they were left redeemed and keen on aspiring their dreams. Here’s the session in photos:
“Had such a wonderful time talking by speaker phone this week to teacher Emmanuel Ogoma’s high school class in Kitale, Kenya. Most of his students are orphans, and he asked if I could call and encourage them to work hard and hold on to their dreams. They were so inspiring — I loved chatting with them, hearing their stories and answering their questions — especially the aspiring journalists. Emmanuel sent me these photos afterward, and I’m so glad I had the chance to talk to these awesome kids! Look at these faces … Kenya’s future president may be in there!”