December 22, 2022

CNN Crowns Black Founder Nelly Cheboi As The Hero Of The Year

If you don’t know Nelly Cheboi yet, now is the time to start doing your research. 

Nelly Cheboi, the founder of Kenyan recycling company, TechLit Africa, has been named CNN’s Hero Of The Year for her revolutionary work across Africa. 

Who is Nelly Cheboi?

Nelly Cheboi, who grew up in a poor rural village in Kenya, redistributes recycled technology to rebuild computer labs in African schools. 

At a very young age, Cheboi was exposed to the struggles of poverty. Yet, despite having no computer access, Cheboi landed a scholarship to study computer science in Illinois. 

Nelly Cheboi at TechLit Africa

“I grew up in poverty watching my mom struggle just to put us through school, and often we’ll go to bed hungry,” Cheboi told POCIT

After completing her course, Cheboi returned to Kenya to give back to the children in her community. At that moment, TechLit Africa was born. Based in the heart of Kenya, the initiative teaches young children the necessary skills to secure remote or location jobs. 

“I came up with this idea to build a school, and the idea for this school was mainly focused as being a source of income for the family. The kids would go to this school and pay about $10 a month, and that money is enough to keep the school running, pay for the teachers, pay for food by stationaries, whatever was left leftover could support my family.” 

According to CNN, the Forbes 30 Under 30 tech founder “upcycles old computers to open new worlds for young Kenyans,” which led her to be selected as this year’s CNN Hero.

Cheboi will receive a $10,000 grant to help her expand her work to more African schools. The grant will also allow her to recruit more students and hire local teachers to help distribute wealth within her community. 

Cheboi shared her excitement after hearing the news in a recent LinkedIn post

CNN’s Hero Of The Year List 

CNN’s annual Top 10 Heroes list highlights the impactful work ten men and women are doing to change the world. Each honouree is given a $10,000 prize to go towards their work. 

CNN viewers can also select one hero from the list to receive an additional $10,000 cash prize. Additionally, each person selected will receive organizational support from The Elevate Prize Foundation – an organization designed to help amplify the work of impact leaders to drive active change together. 

They will also be allowed to participate in the foundation’s annual Make Good Famous Summit in Miami. 

Kumba Kpakima

Kumba Kpakima is a reporter at POCIT. A documentary about the knife crime epidemic in the UK got her a nomination for the UK's #30toWatch Young Journalists of the Year.