By Regina Mburu, Unbound communications liaison for Africa
When Josphat was a young boy, he would go to bed hungry. He would often dream about becoming a teacher when he grew up, but since his mother didn’t even have enough money for food, paying school fees was out of the question.
But somewhere in the back of his mind, Josphat never gave up on his dreams.
“As a young boy I had big dreams,” said Josphat, a 24-year-old sponsored youth and scholarship student. “I dreamt of being a teacher. I admired the way teachers carried themselves. The knowledge they imparted stood out to me.”
Josphat was raised by a widowed mother of seven children in Meru, Kenya, and life wasn’t easy for him and his siblings. Having a meal on the table was a privilege they didn’t often have.
When Josphat’s father passed away, his mother did all she could to provide for her children. The income she earned as a peasant farmer, though, wasn’t enough to support their daily needs.
For young Josphat, his dream of being a teacher seemed out of reach.
“I still kept my hope alive,” he said. “I did not know how to get to where I wanted, but this small voice in my head kept telling me to move forward.”
When he was 12 years old, Josphat was sponsored through Unbound, and his life took a drastic turn for the better.
Josphat and his siblings started eating regular meals because of his nutritional benefits, and Josphat’s school fees and supplies were paid for through his sponsorship.
“I no longer had to worry about being [turned] away from school,” Josphat said. “My performance improved greatly.”
Josphat’s family also benefitted from his sponsorship because his sponsor was able to contribute additional funds to help them purchase a well-constructed home.
“The house we were living in was run-down,” Josphat said. “The roof was leaking and the walls were not firm. It would get very cold at night because of the gaping holes in the wall.”
With a safe place to live,the family felt their dignity and well-being had been restored.
Josphat did well pursuing his dream. He earned his teacher’s certification and is continuing his studies in education. He works at a private school overseeing activities and guiding teachers on what’s expected of them.
“Many years ago, I dreamt of being a teacher,” Josphat said. “Now I am a head teacher. My dream came true and even went beyond my expectations.
“It is the finishing line at the end of a race that is important. It does not matter what lies behind you, you can achieve your dreams if you put your heart and mind into it.”
World Teachers’ Day is Oct. 5, and this year’s slogan is “Empowering teachers, building sustainable societies.”