Nelly Cheboi, who in 2019 quit a lucrative software engineering job in Chicago to create computer labs for Kenyan schoolchildren, is the 2022 CNN Hero of the Year.
Online voters selected her from among this year’s Top 10 CNN Heroes.
Cheboi’s nonprofit, TechLit Africa, has provided thousands of students across rural Kenya with access to donated, upcycled computers — and the chance at a brighter future.
Cheboi accepted the award with her mother, who she said: “worked really hard to educate us.” At the beginning of her acceptance speech, Cheboi and her mother sang a song onstage that she explained had a special meaning when she was growing up.
As CNN Hero of the Year, Cheboi will receive $100,000 to expand her work. She and the other top 10 CNN Heroes honored at Sunday’s gala all receive a $10,000 cash award and, for the first time, additional grants, organizational training and support from The Elevate Prize Foundation through a new collaboration with CNN Heroes. Nelly will also be named an Elevate Prize winner, which comes with a $300,000 grant and additional support worth $200,000 for her nonprofit.