Some are born with silver spoons in their mouth, getting a good starting platform for what they intend doing in life. Some, like Raphael Obonyo, were born with no spoon, not even a wooden one but still made the best of what opportunities come their way.
The story of Obonyo, a Kenyan, is a story of adversity and eventual triumph. it is a story of what a never-say-die attitude can achieve even in the face of evidence to the contrary. Raphael Obonyo’s story is inspiring and herein is an excerpt of his tale.
Obonyo grew up in Korogocho, a slum in Nairobi, defined by the abject poverty the residents live in. He is the fourth child in a family of nine. Seeing how bad things were in his neighbourhood, he vowed get an education so he could have a better life.
With the decision made, he took his studies seriously. He was helped in this journey by a teacher of his whose son he befriended. The teacher, seeing his drive and knowing his parents could not afford it, bought books for both him and his son.
In addition, he let Obonyo study at his home during the weekends, giving him access to light which was unavailable in his home. His academic excellence saw people rally around to his pay his fees when he gained admission into Dagoretti High School after ending primary school as one of the top students in Kenya.
“In school I faced hardships. Frequently I was sent home for nonpayment of school fees. During visiting days, I watched with envy as fellow students were visited by relatives clutching big shopping bags filled with food and goodies.
During holidays I would walk the 10 km from Korogocho to McMillan Memorial Library in the city and back, to study. Despite all these hurdles, I performed well and was admitted to the University of Nairobi,” he said.
Things staretd really looking up when he received a scholarship from the International Fellowships Program through the Ford Foundation to take a master’s in public policy at Duke University in the United States.
From there, he was in 2012 picked as one of the young men and women to serve on the United Nations Habitat’s Youth Advisory Board (YAB). This role has taken that poor child from Kenya to many countries of the world. Not only that, he is now a board member of international bodies such as the Global Diplomatic Forum and the World Bank’s Global Coordination Board on Youth and Anti-Corruption.
Source: Nigerian Voices