What is the definition of success?

At a recent dinner conversation, the question was raise about how EFAC students define success. What better way to find out than ask. Our recent graduates have a Facebook group page on which I posted the question, how do you define success?

"It is less about how much you earn than how you use the little you earn to help others."
"Looking back and having no regrets."
"Success is defined by how much you give, not by how much you have."

Of the 16 responses, many talked about reaching one's goals. Every single one talked about helping someone else. I find these responses remarkable coming from kids who grew up with less than we can imagine, in many case less than $1 per day.

The other thing I find encouraging about their responses is that their definition of success is achievable. If they wanted to work for Goldman and live in a big house on the hill, they would probably be disappointed. But many will reach success as they define it. When they do, they and Kenya will be better off. Who need one more investment banker anyhow?

Samuel Amwai: Planting a Seed in a Desperate Heart

Samuel Amwai’s father died when he was only 2 years old. After moving around with his mom in Nairobi, he ran away from home in search of a better life. He was just 7 years old when he started living on the streets.

“Life in the streets of Nairobi was not good at all, going for days with no food, sleeping in sacks, wearing rags and drug abuse was my new lifestyle,” said Samuel. “The worst part of it was that the police kept chasing us away from the streets, harassing and brutally beating us if they caught any of us, before taking us to juvenile cells. I hated snatching women handbags to make a living. I hated doing this but ironically I could not avoid it.”

Samuel wanted a better life, but he was stuck. He couldn’t go home and he didn’t know how to make an honest living. With limited education and a runaway at 7, he had limited options for a brighter future.

One day Samuel’s luck changed by a chance encounter with a social worker from a children’s home. “I met up with a guy who was a social worker in a children's home. After a chat with him, he was good and kind enough to rescue me from the streets,” said Samuel. After four months on the street, Samuel was happy to to call Nyumba Ya Tumaini children’s home his home. Nyumba Ya Tumaini has remained Samuel’s home for the last ten years.

We met Samuel, when he was just finishing 8th grade. He had been living at Nyumba Ya Tumaini children’s home when he applied to EFAC. Through our program Samuel attended secondary school at the Rongai Boys School for four years, was a leader among his peers, and attended EFAC’s annual workshops.

We are proud of all of his accomplishments, he graduated secondary school in 2014 with a mean grade of A-. This allows him to enter university this year with many choices of programs. He’s also busy with extracurricular activities such as volunteering as a teacher at his former primary school and farming.  Our programs at EFAC are designed to help boys and girls like Samuel find success through education.

EFAC gives students like Samuel a new outlook on life. We are proud to support his education, but more importantly his dreams. “My dream is to help the needy in the society and start up a children’s home for the street boys because they have great potential in them and if given a chance they can be great people! When I was desperate and hopeless in life Nyumba Ya Tumaini and EFAC came into my life and planted a seed in a desperate heart. They are the reason why I don't regret what I went through in past for they have granted me an opportunity to design and shape my future!” said Samuel.