It all began when I was 16 years old and had just moved to West Des Moines, Iowa from Kenya. At Valley High School I couldn’t believe what I experienced, the American public schools was incomparable to the public schools in Kenya; and what stood out the most was the never-ending educational opportunities that were readily available to American students. I often was left wondering why such opportunities weren’t presented to Kenyan students.
It wasn’t long before one of the teachers approached me with an opportunity to participate in the Iowa High School Speech Association. I reluctantly accepted without knowing what I was getting myself into as I had no idea what I would discuss in my eight minute oratory speech. Fortunately I realized this was the opportunity to speak about Kenya and how quality education could solve many problems that cripple the nation.
In my opinion, quality education is what sets America and Kenya apart. Quality education is teaching a mother to better take care of her young one, teaching a student basic math and reading skills, teaching a local farmer how to make his land more productive, teaching community members how to avoid common diseases. There is room for quality education in all levels and in all areas of Africa.
After completing my speech competition, a friend asked what I was doing to help problems Africa. and I looked at him, puzzled. After realizing I could help be a part of the solution, friends and I started a high school club and called it Hope 4 Africa. Our goal was simple: To help improve the quality of education in Africa. We organized fundraisers such as bake sales, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, and an overnight event to all raise money for books, supplies, and student sponsorships.
A few weeks later I found myself in elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, colleges, churches sharing my story and passion to help Africa. What started as a small high school club became a non-profit organization with clubs around the nation.
Hopeful Africa (the organization’s new name) is all about young people helping young people. I believe that my generation can, and should, be responsible in making an impact on the lives of other young people. Their stories aren’t always shared online, their faces are not always seen, and their voices aren’t heard, but the youth of America can help to share their stories, know their faces, and listen to their voices.
I hope you will consider joining Hopeful Africa in the great journey of bringing hope and prosperity to the people of Africa.