Tobias receives a gift
During my most recent visit to Kenya in August, I was able to meet Tobias. My task was to deliver a graduation gift from a family back here in Indiana. I was astounded by his story. Leonard, our in country director and I encouraged him to come and visit our Boys Empowerment Senior Retreat to be held the following week. What he shared during that retreat was even more motivating and inspiring, not only to the boys of the Umoja Project but to me. Read Tobias' story below and see why he makes the Umoja Project proud!
Tobias lost his mother in 1996 when he was just five years old, and then his dad in 2001. He was taken in by what he calls different "Wellwishers" who helped him get through school. What he does not say is that he "lost" a number of those guardians, too.
He went to Mbaka Oroma Primary School and then proceeded to Kuoyo Mixed Secondary School. Umoja was just starting back then, and we were not yet supporting him in secondary school. A couple weeks after he started Form 1, Tobias was sent home for not having his school fees. He came back just two weeks before exams began and took the exams with his classmates. He placed 5th in his class.
He shared his story at the BET UP retreat during the session on grief. He told his younger "siblings" that he borrowed books and notes from his friends that were in school and studied on his own. We was taken up by the Umoja Project during Form 2. He was a prefect, the school captain, and head of the student Umoja group.
After secondary school, Tobias went on to Jaramondi Odinga Odinga University and earned a Bachelor degree in business administration and finance. He worked during university at Airtel, and it was his work during that time that enabled him to get his first position at Agrovet Cooperative Bank after graduating. He serves as a sales executive giving loans, providing credit management, and onboarding new customers. Tobias hopes to move up soon when there is an opening for the next level position. He is making sure that he is doing everything he can to earn that promotion by smashing the goals that the company sets for him, consistently placing in the top 10 employees nationally for the company.
In the meantime, he is running an M-Pesa kiosk and an egg business. He is saving to buy land of his own and build a house.
Tobias says, "I want the people back in Indiana to know that I am grateful for the support. The Umoja Project helped me in ways that I can not fully express. It is my hope that the Umoja Project can rise to new levels. I am ready to help on this side to make it possible."
Leonard says, "Tobias will always strive for perfection whatever you give him to do."
Thank you for supporting the Umoja Project! It is your support that makes success like Tobias come true!
Tobias and Leonard