Moses was born and still lives in Kibera. When we first met, Moses had been working for several years to fund his college course. He would work for a while to earn enough money to pay a term’s fees, then study until the money ran out, at which point he had to go back to work. He had just been told that he needed to pay the outstanding balance on his university fees or he would lose the credits he’d painstakingly built up. Despite his clear skills and the hours of work he had put in, Moses now faced not completing his studies. He needed a break.
Thankfully, through the Red Rubber Ball Foundation, we were able to find a sponsor who offered him a scholarship to complete his studies. This was not just about the money. The faith that his sponsor Linda showed in him, that what he was doing really mattered, was a massive boost to his confidence. Someone who’d never met him, in a country far away, believed that his education was worthwhile.
Moses achieved his diploma and went on to complete a degree in Community Development. Studying at a private university alongside students with the privilege of a wealthy background, Moses became the Chair of the Student Council at Daystar University. Over 500 people gathered to celebrate his graduation, testament to his efforts, popularity, and impact in his community.
Throughout his studies, Moses worked on countless projects with Tatua in the Kibera slums and is now involved with many, many other groups and initiatives. So many that walking with him in the streets takes forever, because he is constantly stopped by people wishing to speak with him or give him their good wishes.
Moses is having quite an impact in his community, and this is some achievement for a kid from the Kibera slums. When I pointed this out to him, Moses simply replied, “Kibera is where I’m from, it’s not who I am”.
That phrase has stuck with me and is one I’ve repeated often. It would have been understandable if Moses had seen his circumstances as a reason or excuse to give up on the ambitions he had. After all, what chance did a kid from the slums have? Many others give up on their dreams because of where they find themselves. But not Moses. He is from Kibera. But he is also a bright, articulate, kind, ambitious young man, working hard for himself, his family and his community, to fulfil his hopes for the future.
This extract is taken from ‘Lessons for the Slums’ – you can buy a copy in paperback or on Kindle here.