16-year-old Harrison* is the first born of five. Much of his childhood was spent on the Kenyan coast in Mombasa until his father died. His mother sought the help of their grandfather who lives in Kibera and now the five children live in Kibera with their grandad while their mother returned to Mombasa.
When our social workers visited their one-roomed home they found two beds covered in clothes as make-shift mattresses. There was little else in the room – no furniture, no cooking stove. The grandfather would buy food from small cafes and kiosks in the slum as they had nowhere to cook at home.
Harrison lives in a home with next to nothing but when he steps into the Fountains of Hope School, he becomes Prime Minister Harrison. He is a prefect for his Standard Six class and this role comes with the title ‘Prime Minister’. There are several student leadership roles in the school such as President – the equivalent of head boy. There are also governors, heads of departments, dining hall prefect and time keepers. Leaders are elected through student elections and the campaigns for votes can be very competitive!
Giving these roles to kids like Harrison develops their leadership skills and sense of responsibility. It is also a great source of pride as students showing good character are rewarded for their hard work and kindness to others.
Our hope is that Harrison and his fellow students learn that it does not matter where they come from, they can be leaders, they can be presidents and prime ministers. They can go as far as their passion and determination will take them.
*Please note we change the names of our students to protect their identity