29 Aug Faces of Children of Hope | James
The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.
While kids in the Northern Hemisphere are heading back to school in September, the Kenyan school year has our kids returning to their third term after their August winter break. Each of the 100 bright souls in our care is bursting with energy and dreams of who they’ll grow up to be. This month, we’re sharing James’ story of dedication to his studies in the pursuit of an engineering career.
A born leader
James, now 14 and in his first year of high school, joined our Children of Hope family at our Kitalale home with his younger brother Zakayo when he was only seven years of age. After the loss of both of their parents, they were left in the care of their elderly grandparents who could not care for them. A natural leader, it wasn’t long before we all valued his courageous, caring and very organized nature.
Every student needs a mentor
Having grown up in the small town of Saboti, James and his brother attended a rural school with just a few students. We’ll never forget taking him to his first day of school in Kitalale. He was so excited and, understandably, nervous as he didn’t know what to expect in a much larger school. Conscientious to the core, James kept asking whether he would manage alright. His fears were calmed when he met teacher and mentor Ruth, who exudes kindness and reassured him that all was going to be fine. True to her words, James adjusted quickly. Not only did he adjust, he thrived. Teacher Ruth taught him for all seven years in Primary School, where she designated him as Class Prefect for all those years! James’ was honored to play this role of mentor to his fellow classmates, and took the responsibility of exhibiting his best qualities to his classmates very seriously.
Friendships fuel resilience
James is patient and kind with the younger kids, who all see him as a big brother and mentor for both his leadership and his soccer skills! He and best friend Terah are our house soccer stars and are often found organizing matches with the younger kids.
When the Aunties and Uncles assign chores, teenagers James and Terah defy the stereotypes and complete them with diligence and delight. They also love hanging out and playing board games, especially draughts (which you might know as checkers). Not only a strong leader and student, James especially enjoys being assigned tasks on the farm like feeding the cows and tending the garden.
A rising star mastering his craft
James excels in Sciences and Social Studies. When he was struggling a little bit with his math, our accountant Amos stepped up as a tutor and James’ grades immediately improved. His strong drive to excel has sometimes led him to put too much pressure on himself. After primary school, each student in Kenya sits for a national exam to help place them in high school, a very big deal for all our kids. Even though James was studious, he scored a mean grade ‘B’ and was not happy as he had hoped for an ‘A’. This experience has taught him to study well in advance and face the exams with confidence. We’ve also encouraged him to give the best he can and accept the results. His teachers have played a huge role in teaching him how to manage when his anxiety gets the best of him, and we’ve seen marked improvements.
Support for all our students
Our Aunties and Uncles provide extra tutoring in the evening for our Primary School kids, the day schoolers, who need assistance with homework or help understanding difficult concepts. For those needing help with more complex subjects like math or language skills, we hire a tutor. School breaks are when the High Schoolers like James come home from boarding school. This provides an extra opportunity for tutors and teachers to provide guidance for those needing extra support with their studies. Roughly 80% of our kids benefit from tutors at some point during their education. In cases where the situation is not improving, we bring in an expert to assess the cause or identify learning disabilities which require a special plan of care.
Whether you’re sending your kids back to school this September or not, we hope James’ story of resilience in his studies has brought a smile to your face. Our sincere and heartfelt thanks to donors like you who support our kids’ education through monthly child sponsorships and their post-secondary studies via our scholarship fund.