Education  Kenya Project #53004

Sponsor and Support Kenyan Students

by Kenya Keys
Play Video
Sponsor and Support Kenyan Students
Sponsor and Support Kenyan Students
Sponsor and Support Kenyan Students

Project Report | Oct 31, 2022
There Would Be No Khalid

By Rinda Hayes | Co-founder, Development Director


Earlier this year, Kenya Keys founder Rinda interviewed one of our college students, Khalid, on her trip to Kenya. This is her moving account of that interview.

Khalid walks in, his thin frame, his smile lighting up my dreary places. We hug, despite protocols, so happy to see each other. The college he attends is near to where we are today.

As he starts to talk, I suddenly know why I am here. I know beyond all doubt. I could turn around, reverse my whole journey, and know it was all worth it, just to hear these words spill from him. Just one of our students. One whose trajectory in life was changed by Kenya Keys.

“Ah, Mama,” he says, “things are good. My grandmother had the growth removed from her body. I’m doing well in school. I have a big idea.” Khalid never knew who his father was. His mother died of TB when he was nine. “I remember caring for her,” he says. “She was so sick. My grandmother and I were together from then on. My grandmother struggled and struggled to give me life, but it was never easy.”

We knew this about him, that he was one of our students whose background had been even more challenging than others. Compelled by the desire to seek out the most vulnerable among the boys, he’d help start the SOB club (Save our Brothers), which had made us smile each time we referred to the club title. Somehow, Khalid had been born with an innate sense that he could best survive his own hardships by helping others.

“We have to be a light,” he says. “We must always, always be a light.”

I smile at how earnest he is. “So, what is your idea, Khalid?” I ask.

“My idea is kijana kitambue.” He grabs a pen and writes the Swahili phrase out for me. Kijana kitambue. “It means, you must know yourself!” He repeats it. “You must KNOW yourself. In my life, I come through worse. I cross through very worse. You must ask yourself, what have I come through? It makes me better. I look forward. I determine my future. I MUST BE my future.” 

He tells me how he and his grandmother dreamed he could go to school but knew it would be impossible. “She never in her life had even 500 shillings [$5 USD]. But we pray. We say God, God is with us. We find a way. Then I hear of Kenya Keys. I apply. I get the news; I am to be a student of Kenya Keys! My grandmother says, ‘It is a miracle! It is a miracle!’ ‘I will be a light,’ I say. Kijana kitambue. I will be a light! I am very keen that I will never be a burden. I will be a light!”

“My grandmother is Christian, I am Muslim. Before my mother died, she was Muslim. She gave me a Muslim name. But my grandmother and I say it does not matter. She goes to church. I go to mosque. It leads us all to the same place – a moral life.” His hands gesture upward, showing me the highways in the sky. “You know, Mama Rinda, it is like we are all in different cars, but we are driving to the same destination, where God waits.”  

“Khalid, where do you think you would be without Kenya Keys?”

He pauses. Stares at me.

“Without Kenya Keys, there would be no Khalid! There would BE NO KHALID,” he emphasizes.

We look at each other, our eyes pooling with tears. How often do I repeat the tagline of Kenya Keys – unlocking potential? The frequency of its use can make me numb to its meaning. But Khalid embodies that phrase. The fact that poverty can erase a person; leave them a hollow core of what they might have been. But education, the bright opportunity of education, can allow them to be what they were created to be.

I am glad there is a Khalid. Kijana kitambue and flourish.

Thank you for supporting Kenya Keys, Khalid, and students like him. It is an honor and a joy for us to do this work, and we are so grateful to have you with us. Watch for good news about our Giving Tuesday fundraiser coming up, and we wish you the wisdom and joy of  Kijana kitambue.

Stephen, Rinda, Khalid, and Brent
Stephen, Rinda, Khalid, and Brent
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

About Project Reports

Project reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you can recieve an email when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports without donating.

Sign up for updates

Organization Information

Kenya Keys

Location: Lake Oswego, OR - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Christy Russell
Lake Oswego , OR United States
$59,469 raised of $80,000 goal
153 donations
$20,531 to go
Donate Now

Pay Bill: 891300
Account: GG53004

Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

Kenya Keys has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Get incredible stories, promotions, and matching offers in your inbox

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.