Teresa Mumbi Update!

It was like a dream, dreamt years ago and awaited for the accomplishment. Though it had been a long journey sometimes it seemed as if it would never come to pass.

It wasn’t until late last year when Kayli came up with the idea of R.E.A.D. financing my education. I was delighted that I wished September could come with days but I had to wait. From the time onwards I looked forward for the time to join school. I didn’t know what course to take I had three ideas but at long last I settled on nursing. I did the application in late April and fortunately I was qualified to take the course at Nairobi Women’s Hospital Medical Training College at Ongata-Rongai branch.

Later I was called for an interview and I qualified. That gave me now the chance to be among the September intake students at the institution. On the 19th of Spetember, 2012, I joined the school and now am among the twenty KRCHN students. It feels great to be among scholars with whom most of the objectives that you have extends times together. To be sincere, any medical course given is not simple because it is not just dealing with objects but one will be dealing with people’s lives. So one has to go into details of what it entails and also think critically while dealing with different hospital issues.

One of the great things that have changed in me is that my thinkng and handling of issues has drastically changed. Being in a school that is based in a hospital environment I have come across people who really need help and not just help but a help that comes with passion. You find some patients who are not requiring just medication but also they need emotional support of which I have been desiring to engage to. I can write a lot about what I can see my future being opposed to the time I have no hope about my future and as time progresses I will be in a position to outline it better.

For now, I want to take an opportunity to appreciate each and every individual who has taken part in financing my education. R.E.A.D. supporters, I wouldn’t have enough words to appreciate you and the idea that you brought to give all of us the light to see our future and not go back to where we came from. At least every one of us has hope that we will help others to see their future brighter than they can see it now.

R.E.A.D. scholar, Samuel Theuri’s education update!

Congratulations to Samuel Theuri for making the Vice Chancellor's honor roll for his consistently high GPA! Check out a blog update from Samuel! :

My name is Samuel, a beneficiary of Resources for Education Advancement and Development(READ) .I feel very happy and privileged for being one of the beneficiaries as now I’m pursuing my highly coveted degree at Kenya Methodist University. I’m pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer information systems.I used to be a street boy in Nairobi before my aunt took me to By grace disabled and orphans center where I studied my O-levels.  My mother digs a rural farm and survives on the scanty produce and nothing is left. I commenced selling water to people using a wheelbarrow. It was strenuous. I was at the same time teaching students at By Grace.cLooking back at the time I used to live with my unmerciful grandmother and  being chased from school due to unpaid fee being the order of the day,uncountable beatings without any fault committed coupled with hunger, I was ready to delve into any action that could see me become successful.

As such, I was studying my secondary school very hard so as to obtain a scholarship but I unfortunately missed the mark by one point.I felt  at cross-roads not knowing what was in the offing for me.Thoughts of a doomed future were Cris-crossing my mind.It was at this juncture that Kayli,who is the President of the READ organization set  foot in By Grace and offered to sponsor my degree because I had passed.Believe it or not I was besides myself,and though she promised she was to take me to school,I only believed it when she paid the first semester fee. You can therefore figure out how excited a person I’m today.To speak the truth,my grade point average(GPA) is standing at 3.81.  As regards myself,first class honors degree is not an option but a must given the circumstances  under which I’ve obtained this great chance! I have to alter my life anyway.

Currently I’m doing Advanced programming using java,Database Management Systems,Discrete Maths and Operating Systems.They are very fascinating as each and every passing day I’m learning something new.I’m enjoying my studies so much especially since they are more of practical than theory,always figuring out how to develop computer software.Apart from studies I’m a member of drama,swimming  and football clubs.These clubs are so empowering as participating in them has enabled me to make so many friends. I feel at ease as I’m at a position  to inquire virtually anything from a myriad of sources as these friends come from diverse faculties doing different courses.

I think being a university student is my greatest moment in which I have learned so much within a short time. By the time I’ll be finalizing my degree, not a very long time from now,I’ll have undergone a metamorphoses I’ve never imagined both academically and socially.I’m looking forward to becoming a system analyst.This is a very demanding position but I’m ready to roll my sleeves for it because I never imagined I will ever find myself leave alone inside a class but within the vicinity of a university.In the upcoming semester I’ll be doing Artificial intelligence,Digital electronics,Electricity and Magnetism,Internet application programming and Operations Research. I’m really enjoying my studies.!

Wilson Kamau’s Update!

A new semester has started for R.E.A.D.'s university scholars! Over the course of the month we'll be sharing essays from each of the students on their educational experience thus far at school.

MY EXPERIENCE AS A STUDENT IN THE UNIVERSITY:

My name is Wilson Kamau (Willy). I joined college in March 2011. I am almost 2 years old now as a student. I am an engineering student at the Kenya Polytechnic University College, a constituent college of the University of Nairobi. I pursue Aeronautical  And Aviation Engineering.

Being in college is one of the greatest thing that ever happened to me. It never had occurred to me at any instance in my life that I would gain access to higher education. This was a dream that had completely vanished. I always wanted to become an engineer but without funds I knew I was gonna end up in misery, probably still in the streets begging for money as a means of livelihood or maybe I would have joined some street gangs. To me, this opportunity is a dream come true.

In school I am working hard. I do it with a lot of confidence owing to this golden opportunity. I also experience a normal life just like those who have had parents to love them, take them to school and guarantee their support. I have developed a positive attitude owing to the confidence that results. Every day is a bright day for me as this attitude keeps me going on.

Engineering is a pretty challenging course but I am also having a good time and have always had a good time. This is made possible by the fact that I get access to almost all the study resources that are necessary for my course. Such necessities include: writing materials, text books for reference and more complex ones as enabling a serene and conducive environment.

Most of my school work involves practical classes such as airframes and circuit board designs, programming and so much more. Research and project work also calls for a lot of concentration as well as commitment. This would be very difficult if I were to do it manually. I am glad that a portable computer (laptop) was availed to me by R.E.A.D. and hence, has made my work much convenient. It has immensely aided my studies. From school, I also get the technological exposure which is a backbone for engineering. Through the exposure, am able to acquire skills that are relevant and applicable to the engineering field. Academic tours, industrial seminars and inter-college project challenges all create a good ground in my career.

I am happy that I get to fully participate in all the required activities in school. Ever since I joined college there’s never been a day that I missed classes due to lack of tuition fee or any day that I suffered as a result of lack of basic needs. The major drawbacks are lecturers’ strike which are not a common case.

 

I am very grateful to the R.E.A.D  for making my study and stay at the college such a wonderful experience.

Carolyne’s Girls Speech

We're in the process of transcribing some incredible stories, poems, songs, and essays from the Girls Club journals. They should be up on the site within the week but in the meantime I'd like to share Carolyne's (class 5) empowering and adorable speech:

A SPEECH TO HOW A GIRL CAN LIVE A POSITIVE LIFE

Point 1

A positive life means a life that you are living good without any trouble.

Point 2

If you want to live a positive life you have to read more books and listen to what you are being told so that you can achieve your dreams and achieve your goals.

Point 3

To live a positive life you must have self control and you have to be confident.

Point 4

If you need to have a positive life you must know how to associate with other people so that you have have a positive life together with other people.

Point 5

You are supposed to be couragious and you have to know that you can do anything even though some boys normally take advantage of girls.

Point 6

And you have to work hard and work smart in your studies so that you may not become house wives.

Point 7

You may help any girl whom you are finding that have any problem or any trouble with her studying and with her work.

Point 8

You have to know that you are so special and girls are the most respected people in the whole world

Point 9

You have to be clean always because cleaniless is next to God.

Point 10

You have to be kind and you have to be faithful. And when you see that any girl is suffering please don’t leave her to suffer.

Celebrating Susan

Yesterday, on Mother’s Day, I spent the evening with Susan, the most incredible woman I have ever known, and her children. Susan and I became friends a few years ago under some traumatic circumstances.

On that visit to Nairobi I found a young boy in the darkest situation you could ever imagine. Suffering from severe mental illness, his aunt left him tied up by the ankles and locked in a hut by himself for months. He was being abused on every level and it was clear that if left there he would not survive. Obviously I knew I needed to get him out of this situation, but Kenya is tricky when it comes to these issues and I was unsure of what the best steps were to save him. That’s when Susan came to the rescue.

I called a friend in the U.S. who had contacts in Kenya and she suggested I call Susan. We met up, and within an hour she snapped into action. Police, children’s homes, hospitals, she had all the connections and courage we needed to save this boy.

Susan is HIV positive, and at the time we met her husband was as well. Years back when Susan discovered her diagnosis she decided that as long as she was healthy and living she was going to do all she could to make a difference in this world. She’s started clubs for street boys and other mothers with HIV/AIDS. She has adopted four children (in addition to her two) into her one bedroom home from friends who have passed of AIDS.

Even though she didn’t have the space or the means she took this boy into her home because she knew that with his mental illness and the trauma he suffered it would be near impossible for him to get the attention, love, and care he’d need to recover in a children’s home among hundreds of other kids.

The boy is now her son and she is one incredible mother to him. R.E.A.D. sponsors his school fees but it is Susan who is doing the real work. It’s been a year and half since he joined her family and although he is the sweetest, silliest, goofball you’ve ever met, he still is a tremendous handful that suffers from mental illness and a horrendous past. Susan handles him with such patience and love it awes me.

This winter Susan’s husband passed away from AIDS. She struggles to put food on the table, pay the rent, and provide for her children but she won’t give up. “These children give me all the strength in the world,” she told me. Although it’s been a tragic year, if you met Susan and her children you would never believe what they have endured. Each child has survived their own nightmare but spend an hour with them and you’d be nothing but impressed by their behavior and charmed by their bright personalities. Their house is full of laughter, love, and unity

Her family is so full of love and kindness it makes me believe in greater things and inspires strength, courage, and goodness in me. This Mother’s Day I’d like to celebrate Susan, if I grow up to be half as good as her I’ll be one lucky lady.

 

Kayli

 

 

New Girls Club in Soweto!

Launching the Girls Club (litworld.org) at Good Samaritan yesterday was such a blast. The girls were all so excited to learn, read, write, and participate.

The club is a great way to get girls excited about education and empowered to raise their voices and share their ideas. Lydia, one of the girls from By Grace who has already completed the first cycle of the club, told me, “I love the meetings because they taught me how to love myself.” What is better than that?!

The first lesson is about what it means to be different and how to embrace our uniqueness while recognizing the similarities that unite us. We read The Peace Book by Todd Parr then discussed what peace means to different people.

Initially getting the girls to open up and share their personalities with the group took some coaxing. I have a large nose for anywhere in the world but at Good Samaritan in Nairobi I think it is safe to say that it is the longest. I shared my talent of effortlessly reaching my tongue to the tip my nose to impress the girls and allow them to let down their guards and open up about what qualities they have which are unique. It was amazing getting them to open up and share what they love about themselves and what they struggle with.

It was a great afternoon and I look forward to getting reports from Leandra, the volunteer who will be facilitating the club meetings for the next few months. I passed out journals to the girls for them to write poetry, stories, songs, letters, whatever comes to mind. The journal project has been such a pleasure for the girls at By Grace, I can’t wait to read what the new Girls Club comes up with at Good Sam.

Observing Change!

This morning I went to the Kibera slum to check in on St. Catherine's Children's Home and primary school.

 On my last trip In December we supplied the school of over 200 children with textbooks and library books to begin their new school year. When I arrived all the students were hard at work in their classrooms with their beautiful textbooks open and their full attention given to the teachers. It was so exciting to see them in action.
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Back in Kenya!

I've been back in Nairobi for two days now and there's already been so many exciting developments.

There is no better feeling than reuniting with the kids. They’re all so full of energy, love, and appreciation. It startles and humbles me every time.  A new school term began this week so after having a nice long break the kids are focused and ready to take on their studies.

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New Website!!

Big thank you to Charlie Goldsmith and his beyond skilled web design team at Cassette for creating this beautiful new website!!

I am thrilled to present to you an updated site for R.E.A.D. created and designed by the talented team at Cassette in Australia! Besides the flashy new layout and slick look there’s loads of new information on the kids, our programs, and what we’re all about. Click through, check it out, get involved.

Thank you thank you thank you Charlie and everyone at Cassette! http://cassette.co/