Festus: From IHF sponsored child to Director in Kenya

by Ushmi, Co-Director, IHF Chiang Rai

It’s amazing to see the truth in the fact that it’s the little things in life that make you the happiest. Living in Kenya, I have been fortunate to spend a week with the IHF family in Nakuru. I’ve been here for 2 full days now and have already learnt a lot about the Pokot  tribe’s way of life and the difference IHF has made for each child.

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It’s the holidays so most of the children have gone back home to see their families. For the few that have had to stay back at the centre it is primarily because of the current unrest in the Pokot region.

I have had chats with most of the children here but one particularly striking conversation was with a young man, Festus Kapedo, who was on centre guard duty. Festus is one of the senior members of the IHF family. He was one of the first from Pokot to be enrolled into the IHF Nakuru center. He has been with IHF for almost 10 years.

Pokot is a region rich in history, culture and tradition yet it is one of the most impoverished regions in Kenya. It has geothermal energy that can be used to generate electricity for almost all of East Africa. The people of Pokot however, are to date very dedicated to their nomadic lives- herding cattle, camels, goats and sheep. With such limited economic activity, livelihoods in this region remain disconcerting. Although there are a few schools around, the quality of education is questionable, for instance. Health centers may be miles away and difficult to access.

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Festus was fortunate to have completed his full education with the support of sponsorships managed by IHF. He even successfully completed an IT course at college after high school. Then, he came back to help out at the Nakuru center. His work varies between director and security management for the center. The opportunities he received because of IHF has made him want to be there for the other children and show them the importance of education. He is dedicated to providing advice and acting as a mentor for them.

Festus aims to become a member of the Pokot Member of County Assembly (MCA) and work towards the development of the region- improving it’s conditions and providing a better standard of living for his people. To achieve his goals he is hoping to undergo further studies in conflict and disaster management.

A pass it on philosophy amongst the most modest hearts!

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