From Humble Beginnings: A Student Perspective

A blog post by Ishmael Ngei, EFAC Scholar

Ishmael joined the EFAC family in 2011 and was selected as an EFAC scholar for his ambition, hard working nature, and strong academic performance. Born in Kitui district in Eastern Kenya and the fifth born of eight children, Ismael's parents struggled to provide basic needs to their large family. When his primary school teacher brought him the EFAC application, a world of possibility opened for this young man who had not previously considered continuing in school.

Innovative, entrepreneurial and still deeply engaged with his home community, Ishmael is a student at Taita Taveta Univeristy College where he studying for a Bachelor of Business and Information Technology. In the post below, Ishmael shares his perspective on his EFAC experience in high school and the leadership skills he has developed as an EFAC scholar.

My name is Ishmael Ngei from Katulani village, Kitui County. I schooled at Rongai Agricultural & Technical Secondary School through EFAC sponsorship. I am currently studying for a Bachelor of Business and Information Technology at Taita Taveta University. I am delighted to share my high school and community service experience as an EFAC scholar. 

I strived to balance my academics, leadership and participation in co–curricular activities. I joined the school teams and played midfield in basketball and table tennis. I joined the wildlife club and we planted and took care of many trees in the school compound. We enjoyed privileges including visiting National parks and game reserves including Lake Nakuru National park. As a student leader, I acted as a student government advisor and Christian union Prayer coordinator and later on I was elected as the school president. I coordinated the student government to deal with discipline issues and as a result there were few disciplinary cases. Academically, I was on the list of top 20 best performing students in the class and I was also able to serve in a variety of leadership positions, which helped me to learn and practice virtues of honesty, hardwork, service to others, management and record keeping. Outside of school, I attended Kenya Student Christian Fellowship annual camps and EFAC workshops throughout my four years in high school. These opportunities allowed me to acquire self-confidence and gain a sense of empowerment.

During my final year of secondary school, I was awarded Kshs 4,000 from the school administration. With this money, I went home after doing my KCSE and bought a goat; reared it and later sold it in order to pay school fees for my sister, Janet. Kitui County is quite dry and people in the region experiences water challenges. The pupils fetch clean water from a water vendor and I had countless thoughts on how the water challenge could be settled in my neighborhood community.  With this in mind, I composed a poem entitled "Water the Confusion” and I taught it to the students at the local school who later recited it in front of the Governor of Kitui County during his visit to Katulani. He was moved and he promised that the county government will dig a bore hole which will serve as a source of water to the school and the community. Once this project is completed, it will be a lifelong legacy. 

I remain grateful to my sponsor through EFAC and mentors. My experience in community service was quite challenging but educative.  At home, I assisted in carrying out duties like fetching water, cultivating in the garden and grazing.  I also did a voluntary work as a teacher and patron in Nzukini Primary school from January to September, 2015. I taught English and Mathematics to primary school students. This gave me an opportunity to influence the pupils to speak national languages at the school.  As a result, the pupils improved significantly English and Mathematics during end of term examinations.