Kwambai is a trainee in Chepkanga and Ingu is a student in Paris. Like the young women portrayed in our last report, these 2 young men stand out in their own communities.
Both have reached out, over and beyond, and have touched each other's lives.
Kwambai K. is a 17 year old from Uasin-Gishu County, Rift Valley Province in Kenya and has the ambition of becoming an electrical engineer. " I chose Electrical because it was my goal to be an electrical engineer since I was very young".
He pays for his school fees by working on installations thanks to side jobs he gets with his cousin. He has 3 brothers and 4 sisters and is the last of 8 children.
Ingu K. is 17 years old and comes from Seoul, South Korea. His father's job took the family to the United States when Ingu was 3 years old. He moved back to Seoul when he was 7 years old and then to Paris 2 years ago where he attends an International School. His one and only brother is a university student in the US and Ingu hopes to follow soon too. "I would like to have a job as an economist in an investment bank rather than a financial analyst since I do not like excessive stress".
Kwambai speaks 3 languages: his mother tongue, then English, the language of instruction in Kenya and Swahili, the common language of East Africa. He found out about the Sergoek Youth Polytechnic training center through an advertisement that caught his eye. It takes him one hour to walk to school or 45 mn by vehicle, he says.
Ingu also speaks 3 languages: Korean, English and now French. He feels he has "had the great opportunity to be the leader of the Rafiki Club at school ....with 12 other clubmates, I organize events to raise money so that we can show our support towards the Chepkanga students".
Kwambai aims "to get a good job as well as advance himself in his studies". He studies until late at night by the light of kerosene lamps. Keep in mind that there is no electricity in his family's mud house.
Kwambai is the wonderful student from Chepkanga who announced in church a few months ago that he was volunteering to redo the wiring in the church! Everyone was impressed by this young man and will remember him for their next job.
Ingu is a very enthusiastic and dynamic leader who says he has learned about Kenya and Africa thanks to being in France and in the Rafiki Club. He feels his world has gotten larger and is happy to be an active member of his community with a social outlook. He "wishes our Kenyan friends nothing but happiness".
We applaud these two young men for their initiatives and open heart. Both have taken the responsibility that comes with the privilege of an education: both are giving to the community, either at large or locally. We are proud of them. Aren't you?
Risper goes to school in Chepkanga, Kenya and Paloma goes to school in Paris, France.
Our two students dream of a bright future yet lead diametrically different lives. Their backgrounds and struggles, their ambitions and dreams have pushed them, mysteriously, to help each. They will most likely never meet but through RAFIKI YA MAISHA, the energy and commitment of these two young women helps the other to achieve their goals.
Risper K., 26 years old is an electrical student, in fact the only female electrical student at the Sergoek Training center in Chepkanga. "I chose Electrical because it was my goal to be an Electrical engineering since I was young".
Paloma N., is a 16 year old high school student following an intensive English and History curriculum in the International Baccalaureat program at the International Bilingual school in Paris." I’m not sure what I want to do after college, I’m very interested in social relations and media and I’m passionate about history".
Risper is the second of a family of 8 children (4 girls, 4 boys) from Iten Elgeyo Marakwet County in the Rift Valley province of Kenya. Her parents are farmers and struggle to pay for her education.
Paloma is the second girl of a family of 3 girls and was born in Paris. Her mother is American and originally from Mexico, her father was born in Morocco and raised in France. She is a dual national, French and American.
"I feel to have a bright future since I am working hard so that I can pass my national examination." says Risper
"I love History and English a lot. I take these two subjects as a higher level and hope to continue with them when I go to university".
Paloma explains that her program demands that each student fulfills a certain amount of Community-Action-Service hours to get his/her diploma. This is how she chose to volunteer in the RAFIKI CLUB. "I very much enjoy volunteering in general and I think everyone should try and do something to help others even if it isn’t demanded or graded. I enjoy knowing that by trying my best to organize events and fund raisings in school here it will help construct schools and build the future of young girls my age who aren’t able to have a life like mine."
Risper writes: "I would like to thank you and your fellow colleagues in RAFIKI YA MAISHA.... and the students for joining the hands together to ensure that Sergoek is developing. We really appreciate your support and I do believe that you will do the same to the needy people". She would love the students "to visit us once more so we share together."
Risper's needs are encouraged by Paloma's efforts and she herself benefits from helping Risper. We trust that a new permanent school building in Chepkanga will nurture more sharing together and enrich the lives of many more girls.
November 7, 2012A much awaited event took place: the 1st stone for the permanent structure on the new plot was put in the ground.The French diplomat from the French Embassy in Nairobi was our guest of honor. Mr. Julien Marx was greeted by all the members of the community:The principal of Rift Valley Vocational Technical Training Institute (RVTTI), the regional director of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, the District Officer from Mininistry of Youth Affairs and Sports, the District Officer from the District Commissioner's Office, the regional director from the Ministry of Works, the Bishop's Development director, father Okoth and his manager for Polytechnics in the region, the architect, the headmasters & headmistresses of area schools, the Board members of Rafiki Ya Maisha in Kenya, the Board Of Governors of the Polytechnic, members of the Eldoret business community, several area counselors and chiefs, women's groups, swarms of school children, middle school students, our Polytechnic teachers, students and former students, friends and many elders.A call from the Minister for Higher Education Science and Technology, held back in Zambia that day, made our day complete. The actual school welcomed the guests with a tour of the improved facilities. Test books arrived, a cupboard and school desks were built, the catering students learn with pots/pans/plates/cutlery and the hairdressing students now have dummies with hair on them to practice hair plaiting. After songs by the younger children, the guests moved to the new site, 3 miles by road. The two hundred guests from all walks of life were delighted.Pictures speak louder than words. They capture perfectly the ceremonial and official nature of this defining moment.Construction on the permanent buiding should start in the very near future. Stay tuned.It was a truly wonderful day and you helped us make it perfect. Thank you!
Shonali Banerjee and Aliza Appelbaum are In-The-Field Representatives for GlobalGiving. They are visiting projects in Morocco, Spain and France. Here is their most recent "postcard" from France:
From what Aliza and I heard from Claire, we are confident that she and Rafiki Ya Maisha have all of the right wheels in motion. We could see her obvious frustrations with the slow rate of progress when dealing with Kenyan bureaucracy, but that she and Elizabeth remain confident and upbeat while progressing forward with the school. Although we (sadly!) coulnd't be in Kenya to visit the project itself, Claire paints a wonderful picture of the rural Kenyan site, the students benefitting from the school and how a community that previously had little to no educational infrastructure now has created numerous schools and educated hundreds of students in just a few short years. We were very impressed with Rafiki Ya Maisha and look forward to hearing many more success stories from Claire in the near future.
The 100 student mark
Yes! We are proud to announce that 104 students are currently enrolled at the Sergoek Youth Polytechnic, up from 22 in September when the school opened.
55 one-year students just finished a 1 month internship, or 'attachment' in Kenyan terminology, with various companies/businesses in Eldoret town during their spring break. This work experience will enhance future employment possibilities and introduce the students to the realities of the working world.
Inter-Polytechnic soccer champions
The inter-polytechnic soccer tournament pitted our students from Sergoek Polytechnic against 7 other polytechnic teams. Our boys' team came back with the trophy for the pride and joy of all. The students feel strengthened and bonded by this feat and the community is ever more convinced that their youth can make them all look great.
Architects first site visit
On April 19, 2012 our two architects travelled from Nairobi to Chepkanga for their 1st site visit to the school plot. Rafiki Ya Maisha representatives, community leaders and the school manager met to discuss the future layout of the school buildings with the architects. Already designed and planned, the Brick-making workshop will be the first building to be erected.
Let's listen to Joyce, age 26
Joyce K. was recently orphaned when both of her parents died in the last 3 years. Without resources, Joyce left Marakwet County (130 miles from Chepkanga) to come and live with her aunt in a neighboring village."My aunt decided to take me to Sergoek Youth Polytechnic in Chepkanga to enroll me in the Hair Dressing course. I joined the college this year with many difficulties. My aunt depends on farming only and this makes it difficult for her to give me daily transport to and from school. "
Safely settled in her new home, Joyce's story illustrates the lack of ressources available for young peole in a subsistance level economy. Travelling 15 kms back and forth daily to get her training, she is a case in point for our project. We need a school with boarding facilities.
How does Joyce manage? "I have decided to be working on somebody's farm during the weekends so as to be paid and the money I will be using for daily transportation."
What is Joyce's dream? "I am learning harder so that I will be able to open my own business after the course. I hope to be independent in the future."
How will she realize this dream? She feels enormously encouraged by you. She writes: "Thanks to our Sponsors for the free machines they are providing us with, making our learning so easy and also lowering our fees payment."
Do you think you can help Joyce reach her goal?
There are other girls and boys like Joyce courageously trying to move beyond their fate. You can help them by supporting RAFIKI YA MAISHA and this rural educational opportunity. You and her can make Africa different. Right?
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