Stanley Gachia popularly known as ‘Stano’ at the Thika main stage is the epitome of resilience and a perfect example of educated graduates earning a living in the informal sector.
Stano graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce (B.Com Accounting option) from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).
Today, he is a ‘Kamagira’ – slang for a person who fills 14-seater matatus at the main stage. He has done this since 2019.
Stano recounts that after his graduation in 2014, he could not secure a job. He sent job applications in their hundreds but he was not lucky.
In 2018, he married the love of his life and one year later, she fell ill and he did not have enough money to take her to the hospital.
A friend of his asked him if he would work as a tout for one day and he accepted; this is what changed his fortunes.
“I was pushed by circumstances,” he says. “You have a house to pay, you have a young wife you must provide.
Four months later, he had done so well as a tout but he ran into headwinds with the police because he had not complied with NTSA regulations.
“It’s risky. I asked myself if I get arrested who will take care of my young wife? So I decided to get to the stage,” he said during an interview with Thika Town Today.
As a ‘Kamagira’ Stano has learnt how to be courteous and kind. He speaks to passengers respectfully to make a difference.
He says that it bothers him at times that he trained as an accountant but did not secure a job in his area of specialization.
However, Stano has not given up.
“In my mind, I always wanted to be a lecturer and I have not given up yet. In future, I will do my masters. Here, I just want to feed my family, save a little bit and start my business but I respect this job because it feeds my family and has done many things for me,” he notes.
Stano makes between Ksh500 – Ksh1,000. He opines that a change in Kenya’s educational curriculum will go a long way in addressing unemployment which is now a national disaster.
He urged graduates to step out and get their hands on anything that brings them money without looking at their education level.