Used computers to build technology labs in remote Kenyan schools.

This organization uses used computers to build technology labs in remote Kenyan schools.


Nelly Cheboi discovered at a young age that her family and other people in rural Kenya who were living in poverty were caught in a cycle that gave little hope. She observed her single mother, who had only finished the fifth grade, labor tirelessly to make sure she and her three sisters could attend school.

“She was working really hard, and I was still going to bed hungry. I was still sent home for tuition. I was still living in a house that was flooding,” said Cheboi. “Looking at the poverty in the household, looking at the community and suffering, it just became so clear that I needed to do something. I never forgot what it was like with my stomach churning because of hunger at night. I know the pain of poverty, and that’s why I feel so passionate about it.

In 2012, Cheboi was awarded a full scholarship to attend Augustana College in Illinois in the US. She frequently did odd jobs while in school to support her family in Kenya. She struggled to type her handwritten papers into a laptop because she had little to no computer knowledge when she first started her studies. She had never felt comfortable using a computer before taking a Java course that was required for her mathematics degree in her junior year. That quickly changed when she learned about computer science; she fell in love with it and became a computer engineer.

In 2018, Cheboi started to accept recycled PCs from the companies she had established relationships with through her line of work. She began modestly, transporting the equipment personally to Kenya in checked baggage and taking care of the taxes and customs. “At one point, I was bringing 44 computers, and I paid more for the luggage than I did for the air ticket,” she said.

She started a nonprofit, TechLit Africa, currently providing 4,000 children with the opportunity for a better future. The organization uses used computers to build technology labs in remote Kenyan schools. The donated hardware is given to partner schools in rural Kenya where students from ages 4 to 12 attend daily classes where they interact with professionals, picking up skills to enhance their education and equip them for good work.

Ten schools are already served by the organization, and Cheboi intends to connect with 100 more by the beginning of next year.

People with specific skills come to teach and inspire the kids (with) music production, video production, coding, and personal branding. It is hoped that after TechLit students graduate they will be able to find employment online with the skills they learn.

“The world is your oyster when you are educated. By bringing the resources, by bringing these skills, we are opening up the world to them.” ~ Nelly Cheboi

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