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Robert's story

"I was born in Tharaka, an Eastern region of Kenya, which is a vastly dry and stony area. I am the eldest of six children.

At the age of seven years, I, my mother, and my five siblings were chased away by my father so that he could marry a second wife who was an educated wife compared to my mother who never went to school. We moved far away and settled in a grass-thatched mud-walled hut, which later was swept away by floods. Other inadequate accommodation followed. I dropped out of school for two years to help my stressed mother whose two little babies were malnourished, weak and unable to walk. I earned small sums by loading sand from the river bed into lorries, weaving baskets and selling them on market day at ksh 20 (£0.12). We could go for three days or more without a meal.

Mom had created in us the culture of praying in the morning, before any meal, and before we sleep. She took us to Sunday school every Sunday.

At that time Primary education in Kenya was not free. So when I returned to school I was dependent on my father’s support and at best that was intermittent. When he stopped paying I took on poorly paid jobs to raise some money but I missed much schooling. Three times I fainted in school assemblies due to hunger, but the teachers were so kind that they could give me something to eat.

It was in 2003 that, via a newly established children’s project in Tharaka, Karibuni Children heard of my situation and agreed to pay my school fees and buy new school uniforms and shoes. It was my first time to wear a shoe. I did well in my exams and qualified to join Kaaga Boy’s high school in 2004, where I served as Christian Union chairman and the school captain. In March 2008 Karibuni Children supported me to pursue a Computer certificate course at Kenya Institute of Management and subsequently I joined Meru University of Science and Technology where Karibuni Children paid my university fees and upkeep to support me to achieve my dream. I served as Christian Union chairman and Vice President of the University Student Association. I also founded the Rotaract Club of the University which was a humanitarian club to support needy students and conservation of the environment.

In July 2013, I graduated with second-class honours in the upper division.

Looking back, my life turned around after I was rescued by Karibuni Children who sponsored me for education and upkeep after struggling for many years without any help.

I now serve as vice chairman of a children’s programme based in Meru, Kenya which is supported by Karibuni Children. I am also a Board Member of Kamatungu Primary/boarding school in Tharaka where I started my education."

To learn more about the Tharaka and Meru projects, click here. To donate, please click here.


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