You’ve opened our stories scrapbook where you can meet some of the inspirational people we’ve worked with along the way. No two people are the same, so neither are two scrapbook pages...
Samuel - his work & his wonderful moments.
"When I see a child on the street I see a lot of potential. I see what they can be."
“Meet Samuel. An inspiring young man who’s transforming the lives of street youths in Eldoret.”
I come from a big family.
I grew up as the last born of 11 children. I was born in a slum. So life was difficult. But I had big, big dreams.
Going through primary school I always used to be the number one or two, so people used to tell me I’d become a doctor. But then one day as I was explaining a maths sum before the whole class the teacher told me; “You are going to become a great teacher.” I wasn’t happy about that! But then… I became a teacher!
I loved teaching. Knowing that you’re changing minds and you’re creating the next generation of Kenyans. And I was really passionate about that.
I especially loved teaching literature in high school, when you have opportunity to discuss issues like religion and politics.
How I began working with street youths.
I was teaching my cousin who was a former street boy. We are the same age. But I am his teacher in high school. When I said I wanted to work with street children and could he help, he said no. But he told me you can still work with them, but you have to come up with a way. They are not an easy group of people. My lightbulb moment didn’t come then; it came when I was on the street playing soccer with the street youths.
I wanted to know how to approach them and I realised the ball has a magic in it. You place a ball in a group of people and they begin kicking it. And they become friends. And so I used that idea. I went to the streets with a ball.
With the ball they were laughing and calling each other names. I got to know their names much easier. It was at that moment I decided I needed to do much more than playing soccer with them.
My work isn’t my job it’s my life.
When I see a child on the street I see a lot of potential. I see what they can be. I see them in school uniform. I see them doing business.
Working with street youths actually gives me a lot of pride in the work that I do. I know who they were then. And I know who they are now. The change in how they talk, how they interact with people and the way they perceive issues of life. They are no longer about today; they are about tomorrow.
We expected that Tumaini would grow fast into this big organisation. The reality is that humanitarian work is not easy. You work with people who to some degree have lost hope in their life.
So, first of all you have to give them hope. And Tumaini for me was just giving people hope. And then once you give them hope you have to then change their outlook their perception of life. After that you then have to train them in a business or a school. It takes a lot of time.
I always tell people that Tumaini is a lesson to my children and my family. And I would want them to still believe in humanity and realise that by working for people, for society, there are bigger rewards.
Although we come from different tribes in Kenya. We are one tribe. We are Kenyan. And that’s very important to me. So loving each other and not seeing any difference in each other is very, very key to me.
I could have followed a different path.
At one point a young lawyer passed by. He’s an ambassador of youths in East Africa, and he was actually very impressed with what I do. He asked me to join them. Well that would mean I’d travel a lot. And that’s exciting. You don’t even have to travel by car; you’d fly. And I’ve never taken a flight.
But then I kept on wondering. What legacy will I leave? You might be helping making policy, but you’re not the guy who’s doing it. You disappear into the politics of East Africa.
I didn’t want to be the technician behind; I wanted to be the guy in front, doing something on the ground. I decided that I will not make an impact. So I decided to do what I do here.
My wonderful moments.
I love going to new places. So most of the time I will take my motorcycle to somewhere quiet and just view the landscape.
I’m privileged to be married to a very beautiful woman who grows more beautiful every day and have two kids, Ryan and Timothy. They are very close to my heart.
We love going out as a family. I like to see my sons out there playing, and then after we get French fries and some soda, and we go back home happy. Then maybe later on I watch a movie with my wife.
Also I like stargazing. So at night with my son, we just go out there and watch the stars.
So those are my wonderful moments.Read Silvino's Story Next »
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