Three Kenyan students who have succeeded in their careers through the help of sponsors share their stories.
Abednego Osindi Birundu
BSC in Forestry from Kochi University, Japan
I hold an MSc in Forestry from Kochi University and a BSc in Environmental Conservation and Natural Resources Management from the University of Nairobi (Kenya). It was a full scholarship courtesy of the Japanese Government. It included a return air ticket.
The scholarship I received was called African Business Education Initiative. I got to know it through my lecturer at the University of Nairobi. Before getting the scholarship, I went through an application process that included a series of both oral and written interviews.
Getting my Master’s degree has been my longtime dream and even if I had not secured this scholarship, I would have explored other opportunities to make my dream come true.
Studying outside Kenya exposed me to various experiences that influence how I carry myself even today. For instance, I am a better and more innovative worker, and I handle relationships better. I think we need to put policies in place to ensure that such scholarship beneficiaries stay in this country. We could do this by creating an enabling environment to guard against brain drain.
I’m currently working in Kenya and doing my best to make an impact in my line of duty and in society.
Shanton Butichi, 21
Student at Cooperative University
I went to Complex Primary School in Mumias where I did my KCPE. Thereafter I joined St Hannah’s Girls High School in Karen. I am currently at The Cooperative University taking a Bachelor’s degree in Community Development.
My mother heard about the Logos Scholarship by Nairobi Chapel while attending church. She enquired more about it and was asked to apply. At the time our family was enduring tough financial times. My mother did not have a job, and my twin brother and I had just completed primary school. We both needed money to proceed to high school.
When the managing director of Minet Kenya, Sammy Muthui, heard my story and the scholarship programme he was touched and decided to sponsor me and seven other students through high school.
My twin brother, Glen, did not get the scholarship that year. However, the following year he was luckier.
Without a sponsor, I doubt I would have managed to go through high school because there was just no money. My dreams had even began fading away.
One of the lessons I learnt through this act is generosity is that God uses other people to bless us, and when we give or help others, we should be humble.
I feel sad because I know that there are so many students who are able and willing to further their education, but they do not know how to go about it or where to get help.
The available scholarship programmes should reach more young people. We should create more awareness so that more people can apply and be helped to finish school.
Currently, I am a volunteer intern at the Turning Point Trust in Kibra. The organisation has a school that offers free education to vulnerable children in Kibra. I teach the young children about the bible, and offer mentorship to older children.
Kelvin Mwirigi, 25
Working at Missions of Hope, Nairobi international, a non-governmental organisation.
I was born and raised by a single mother in Nyambene in Meru County. I attended nursery school in a church. One room in the rooftop church hosted three classes for two years before the owner of the building decided to close both the church and the school.
I joined the nearest public primary school which was about 15 kilometers away. I was privileged to join a boarding high school later, and successfully acquired a university entry grade.
My mother died while I was doing my exams so I wasn’t privileged to join the university because I didn’t have money for school fees. To raise money for registration fees at the university, I sold one of my grandmother’s chickens. Luckily, I got a full scholarship opportunity that catered for my school fees and upkeep.
Throughout the four years of study, I attended many seminars and webinars. That, plus my interactions with other students who had received the scholarship really shaped my entrepreneurial skills.
Currently, I’m employed by Missions of Hope International, a non-governmental organisation which aims to help disadvantaged children and families in Kiamaiko.
I also run an organisation whose aim is to enable poor children attend school. I have employed six young people to help me with that. Additionally, the nearest primary school in my village is 15km away, so I plan to start another school there to serve children from disadvantaged families.