Board member Ken Kobe
The school was also privileged to receive one of the board members of School of Hope Foundation, Mr. Ken Kobe and his daughter Ellen. While here, the visitors had a chance to visit the old school in the heart of Kibera slums. This visit served to tell the story of St. Aloysius, its humble beginnings, and the kind of extremely vulnerable and needy students served by the school.
Ken and Ellen were also able to visit one of the current students in the heart of the slums, viewing first-hand what our students go through on a daily basis in their quest to their destiny. Accompanied by the school social worker and our student guide, we were able to find our way and we were warmly received by an ailing mother of four. The smile on her face upon receiving us contrasted with her deplorable living conditions. Her message during the visit was very simple – her son should work hard so that he could have a better and dignified life full of opportunities and prosperity. The poor widow was very grateful to St. Al’s and by extension School of Hope for living true to its mission – being a beacon of hope. The visit was characterized by mixed feelings of compassion and hope especially for the ailing widow and belief that dawn will bring with new prospects for the sixteen-year old boy who dreams of becoming an engineer. St. Aloysius is always there as a bridge to help make this dream become a reality!
Ken and Ellen also visited the proposed dormitory site for the school. Plans are underway to bring students closer to the school and away from all distractions in the slums. Construction work had begun on site but was halted due to technicalities with the construction permits and the authorities. It is however, hoped that work will resume shortly once all is cleared. The visitors were able to appreciate the need for a permanent residence for our students.
In addition to meetings with the school leadership and administration to receive updates on the progress of the school, the visitors also met and had a talk with the entire student body. Ken particularly recounted his experience having worked as a teacher in Kenya as a Peace Corp member and how the landscape had changed and keeps on changing. He also encouraged the students to work hard towards their goals and assured them of the support from School of Hope Foundation in realizing their cherished dreams. To crown the visit, Ellen who is a journalist with CNN in New York, had a very interactive session with students from the journalism club. Students were able to enquire about what motivated her to become a journalist, how journalism in Kenya compares to US, and some of the challenges she faces in her work. Through her sharing of her experiences, students were able gain insight into what it means to become a journalist. Ken and Ellen thanked the leaders of the school for their very warm welcome and all agreed that the visit was of great mutual benefit.