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Cheboi '16 in the running for CNN Hero of the Year

Nelly Cheboi '16 is in the running for CNN Hero of the Year for her work with TechLit Africa, a nonprofit that redistributes recycled computers in schools in rural Kenya.

She is one of 10 nominees for the honor. Audience online voting for CNN Hero of the Year is underway and runs through Dec. 6.

Each of the nominees will receive a $10,000 prize. The 2022 CNN Hero of the Year will receive an additional $100,000 for their cause.

The CNN Hero of the Year will be revealed live during “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute,” hosted by Anderson Cooper and Kelly Ripa, starting at 8 p.m. ET Dec. 11.

Another nominee with ties to the Quad Cities, Chad Pregracke, was the CNN Hero of the Year in 2013. He distributed his top prize among the other nine nominees.

nelly cheboi and students

About Nelly Cheboi

Cheboi grew up in poverty in Mogotio, Kenya. She excelled in her studies and was able to attend Augustana on a full scholarship.

As a junior, in 2015, she took the funds she earned from working campus jobs and built a school, Zawadi, in Kenya. The school is now four stories, serving about 300 students on the first floor. It is also the headquarters for TechLit Africa, with room for a literacy center and vocational classes for the community of Mogotio.

In 2016, Cheboi graduated with a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics and computer science, and in 2021, she earned Augustana’s Richard A. Swanson Humanitarian Award. 

In addition to running TechLit Africa, Cheboi is a software engineer at Fuzzy, a California-based company focused on pet health care. She was honored as a social impact leader in Forbes magazine’s annual “30 Under 30” list for 2022.

Nelly Cheboi '16 and Tyler Cinnamon

Nelly Cheboi '16 and Tyler Cinnamon co-founded TechLit Africa in 2018 to redistribute recycled technology and build school computer labs in her home country of Kenya and beyond.


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