Kelvin Kariuki is a soft spoken, deeply thoughtful young man focused on the future. He is an ‘A’ student whichever way you look at him. The PA-MOJA full bursary student sat his national examinations in 2013 and emerged second at Thome Boys with an ‘A’ (80 out of 84 points). The Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examination is administered nationally at the end of secondary education with very high stakes attached as the measure for university entry. Thome Boys, categorized as a district school, emerged at the top nationally.
For Kelvin, this is no mean feat for a boy who four years ago was on the verge of dropping out of school before PA-MOJA came in and turned that desperation into the present victory through a bursary award that catered to the rest of his secondary education.
Kelvin leans forward and explains, “I dedicate my victory to all the people who believed in me, my parents, my friends, teachers and most importantly to my sponsors who gave me my life back at a time I was beaming hopeless. My parents sold the only cow and 2 calves we had so that I could join Form One (Grade 9) but in spite of getting a place, the fees were high and I knew the end of my schooling had come. I knew there would be no money for second term fees. It was at that precise moment of despair that PA-MOJA came in and took me through to the success that I now celebrate.”
The first born in a family of three, Kelvin dreams of a career in Mechatronics Engineering after he joins university later this year. “It did not come easy, there were too many challenges. I had to transfer from the comparatively well-established St. Augustine Secondary School to a then start-up Thome Boys. There was only a two classroom block and only two teachers handling 6 subjects. For two terms we did not have teachers for History and English.” In his eyes, this memory evokes deep emotions. “Even teachers could not withstand the hardships and kept moving out, but our determination lived on.”
The 2009 drought that ravaged through Laikipia left his family in dire need of not just the school fees that he so badly needed but he also needed to focus on finding food for his family. “The rains didn’t come, the land cracked from heat and vegetation and everything dried up. It was bad for all of us but where there is a will there is a way.”
Kelvin’s determination and clear focus on his studies is clear when he describes his dissatisfaction with his performance when he was in class 7. In spite of being the top student in his class, he felt he was not good enough and prompted his parents for a transfer to Kijabe Primary School. Here he met the reality of others better than him which unleashed in him the desire to work even harder.
Kelvin has been taken back at his former school as a peer teacher to work alongside trained teachers in shaping the future of those after him. “My joy is to work and help future examination candidates perform better than I did. I want to give back whatever I am able for the success of others in honor of the assistance that I received from PA-MOJA.” He is also keen to mentor other students and has been invited by the Ol Pejeta Conservancy as a speaker during this year’s Bursary Students Mentorship Program day.
The mentorship program on April 23 will bring together 37 PA-MOJA sponsored students for a day of activities to enrich their overall educational and learning experience while introducing them to the conservation programs at Ol Pejeta. In relation to poaching, Kelvin says that it hurts him that poachers are so unfeeling and irrational considering that Ol Pejeta Conservancy is working hard to conserve wildlife and the proceeds of which, in collaboration with its partners, help take needy students to school.
As Kelvin takes a new role to guide other students as well as the pursuit of his own dreams, it’s not surprising what amazing stories of inspiration, transformation and hope can be written from kind gestures and dedicated goodwill.
Story and photo by
Moses Muthoki and Emily Lerosion.