My sponsorship journey
by Nicola Hart, KES Trustee
The meeting with TT sticks in my mind. February 2011 - my first visit to Kenya, and to the new Bahati Division Academy. 11 young and very needy children sponsored by Simon had joined the first primary school intake. One of them was TT's older sister. With her and a small group of other new students, we joined the school home run to visit their homes and families. The BDA minibus, jam-packed, bounced through the tight muddy lanes, squeezed on both sides by dense green.
At the first stop - a small wooden tin-roofed house, mud-packed yard with heavy-leaved trees, chickens underfoot - the children burst out of the minibus with us, others ran to join in. In the deep shade under a large tree, surrounded by children and chickens, a hand slipped into mine: "Are you my sponsor?" This was TT. What could I say? So I became TT's sponsor.
TT and his best friends in 2011
TT was then about 8. He and his older sister were victims of the violence suffered by many families following the 2007 Kenyan general election. They had lost their home in another part of the country and joined the thousands of displaced people. They had no parents and now lived with an aunt in a spartan one-room house provided by the government to displaced families. The aunt had earnings of less than a dollar a day.
Yet like many of our KES sponsored students, TT has met with problems along the way - things go wrong and the path isn't always smooth - for student and sponsor. TT has managed to overcome these difficulties and stick with his education and ambitions. His sister has also hung in there through ups and downs and is now approaching her KCSE (national end of secondary examinations) with a good track record to fortify her confidence.
Meeting TT at his home in 2011
TT is a real character, lively, articulate and funny - but also hardworking and driven. Despite the extreme deprivation of his background and the family's marginalised circumstances, he has excelled throughout his school career. Top of his class throughout primary school, he achieved one of BDA's highest marks in the KCPE (end of primary school national examinations), allowing him to graduate to secondary school with flying colours.
TT outside his home in 2011
Me with TT and his sister in 2015
I have enjoyed keeping in touch with TT and always look forward to catching up with him when we visit Kenya. I've been there to applaud him with pride as he has stepped up time after time at the BDA prize-giving day. He aims to become a doctor and is focusing his efforts especially on mathematics and sciences. He wants to sponsor a needy child himself one day. Whatever he does, I know he will do well. I am proud to be TT's sponsor and to have the chance to enable him to realise his potential.