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HBEF Beneficiary Monitoring

HBEF Beneficiary Monitoring and Support Visit (BMSV)is an interactive session carried out by the HBEF officers to monitor the progress of the beneficiaries in the respective regions at the end of every school term.

Watch the video for more

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 May 2019 13:40

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A CLEAR VISION PROPELLED ME TO SUCCESS

                      "If you are good at something, give back to the society and the society will certainly give back to you" Elvis Muiruri karanja '2015 to 2018'

        

SOLDERING ON WITH CONFIDENCE; PAST THE PAIN OF CHILDHOOD

Frustrated and tormented from the scars of violence, which I also have in my body, yet i decided to try my best

ANTHONY MURIITHI WANJIRA (HBEF 2012-2015) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

When were you in the H B E F program?

2012 to 2015.      

How did you get in the program?

I was awarded the scholarship after having scored well in the primary certificate, where I scored 369 out of 500 marks in Turkana County.

Please give us a brief about yourself, your family, your upbringing and schooling.

I was born in a family of three headed by a single mother, my little sister (both deceased) in Kaptembwa area in Nakuru. I started my schooling from Uhuru primary near Kiamunyi. Things were okay since my mum used to go clean houses as a day house help at Milimani area. Things changed when the post-election violence started which took away the life of our mother and damaged our lives. I was then in class six. I had to seek my aunt’s help in raising my little sister as I tried to find a way out, since I loved education. Frustrated and tormented from the scars of violence, which I also have in my body, yet i decided to try my best. I was able to secure a job as a house boy in Rongai area through a friend who had known my mother. That was at the end of 2009. In the following year of 2010.I decided to enroll for the K C P E as a private candidate as I worked in the house for a salary of 2000 shillings. I did the exam and scored 345/500. This according to me was a failure since I was targeting above 350/500 because a good Samaritan had promised to get me a scholarship chance with the Wings to fly program.

Now having not met my mark, I really felt low and lost especially as I was watching the program of the Wings to Fly, concerning those who had been selected. I also realized that students from hardship areas had some advantage over their marks.

Without hesitation I took all the savings I had(6000k) and decided to go to Turkana County and try it there. The reasons as to why I chose the county was because, when I read the published results from the newspaper, students selected from other hardship counties like Wajir, Mandara, Marsabit all had Islamic names and that scared me a little.

I took off to Lodwar on Thursday, from Nairobi. Going to Lodwar was not because I knew someone from there, I knew no one and no one had also advised me to go there. It was probably the choice I made because I wanted to make it in life.

Armed with a few clothes and my birth certificate, I arrived in Lodwar in the morning of Friday because the buses normally travel at night. After alighting from the bus, I met with the children running to school. I decided to follow one the pupils to the school gate which would later turn out to be my school—Lodwar Mixed Primary school.

After getting the location of the school, I returned back to town where I booked a lodging for 200 shillings a night. Later on, during the day, the same Friday, I went to the school and approached the headmaster Mr. TIMOTHY KIKETE WABUYA. He is the person who has made me be where I am today. In his office he asked me if I had done K C P E before, which I denied since I thought he won’t accept repeaters. He then told me to go home and come to school on Monday with books and uniform. And that’s how I came to attend the school. When i told him my story, he accommodated me at his home unconditionally.

I once again sat for the KCSE exam and scored 369/500. The teachers from the school gave me the forms of HILDE BACK EDUCATION FUND which funded my four years in secondary school at Lodwar High school. They even took care of my transport and medical treatment.

In secondary school, I didn’t pass well enough to secure straight university admission since I was affected by the death of my small sister. While in form three third term, she drowned in the river after being mistreated by my aunt. That really affected my grades and I scored a mean grade of C+ 48 points in K C S E 2015.

Now with no hope of furthering my academics, I resulted again in doing odd jobs in town. In everything I did since I had a desire to go back to school, I decided to be saving some amount of money. In September 2018, I applied for a Bachelor of Law degree program as a private student. I am currently in my second semester first year. Currently I am doing taxi business during the day and go to class on evening, since my classes begins at 5;30pm to 8;30pm.THANK YOU.

In summary, what could you say were the greatest benefits you derived during the 4 years you were under H B E F program?

The gift of education unconditionally from Hilde Back family.

Is there a way that the lessons learnt during the 4 years under H B E F are of value in your current studies or life?

Very much and it’s my hope that one day I will fund a student through HBEF

What are your goals and where do you see yourself in the next 5/10 years?

I want to graduate with a degree in law and sit with founder Chris Mburu since I was told he is also a lawyer.

Is there a way you are doing your own ‘small act’?

Not yet.

Any final thought?

Thanks H B E F, thank you a lot. I am proud to have been a beneficiary.

 

INTERVIEW WITH MERCY WAIRIMU WANGARI

        Please give us a brief about yourself, your family, your upbringing and schooling.

My name is Mercy Wairimu .I am 17 years old and born in a family of seven have two brothers and two sisters. I am the first born in our family .I have been brought up by both parents who have struggled in various jobs to earn a living. I attended my primary school at St Dominic Buchana Primary and later joined Nakuru Girls.

When and how did you get in the HBEF Scholarship program?

I got to the H B E F Scholarship program on February 2015.When I was joining high school at Nakuru Girls high school. I got to know about HBEF through my primary school head teacher, Mr. Nyamu, who told us about it and brought to us a form to fill in.

In summary, what could you say were the greatest benefits you derived during the 4 years you were under HBEF Program?

I have benefited from HBEF so much because they have paid my fees for the four years in high school. The organization also has taught me many skills that I have been using while studying in school and also at home.

You performed very well in your KCSE, what can you attribute your success to?

My success was attributed by one of the skills that I learnt through Hilde Back and that are concentration. It helped me so much to get maximum knowledge from the teacher while  teaching  and then I would  go back to books  to only get what  the teacher  missed or maybe what I may not have heard during the session. It was also attributed by the motivation to make a better life.

Did you hold any Leadership responsibility at your former school? If yes, how did this contribute to your own development and success in your performance?

I did not have any leadership responsibility in school.

Did you encounter any personal challenges during your secondary schooling? If yes, what were they and how did you deal with them?

At school, I faced the problem of social classes; that is wanting to be like others who have everything but once the idea propped up, I would tell my mind to read and I will have mine letter. I also had a problem with my health that even had me admitted to hospital one week before the exams.

What are you currently involved in?

Currently am not involved in such productive activities but I stay at home and help my parents with household chores.

Which University and course have you been admitted to?

For now, the KUCCPS placement service has offered me one of my choices but they have not put it clearly which one.

What are your goals and where do you see yourself in the next 5 /10 years?

My goal is to become one of the best female civil engineers in our Country Kenya. Help my parents to improve their standards of living and help children from poor families in their education and live a happy life.

Any final thoughts.

I would like to thank Hilde Back for been in support of me for four years and also pass my regards to my sponsor, Mrs. Joette Ray Chambers.

Thank You Very  Much Mercy and Wishing You The Best.( March 2019)

Click here for video interview http://www.hildebackeducationfund.com/multimedia/videogallery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MY HBEF EXPERIENCE

NAME: NYAMUSI MERCYLINE

Please give us a brief about yourself, your family, your upbringing and schooling.

I am a humble girl brought up from a humble family and had a chance to school from primary to secondary

though with financial challenges but thereafter I found assistance from HBEF program and was enabled to achieve

my goals.

When and how did you get in the HBEF Scholarship program?

I joined the HBEF family in 2015 .This was after my father leaning and getting to know about the program from friends.

An interview was conducted and an application form was given .Thereafter I was selected as one of the beneficiary.

In summary, what could you say were the greatest benefits you derived during the 4 years you were under HBEF Program?

I got to learn different life skills and more so I was enabled to study without financial challenges.

You performed very well in your KCSE, what can you attribute your success to?

Working smart and having positive attitude .Doing discussion and consulting from teachers is also important.

Did you hold any Leadership responsibility at your former school? If yes, how did this contribute to your own development and success in your performance?

Yes. This made me to have self confidence,being responsible and also having interpersonal skills.

What are you currently involved in ?

Teaching and attending some computer practices.

Which University and course have you been admitted to?

Awaiting admission

What are your goals and where do you see yourself in the next 5 /10 years?

Being a successful person.

Any final thoughts.

I really appreciate the foundation fully for the support given to me in order to achieve my goals of being successful.

Thank You Very Much Mercyline and Wishing You The Best.

 

 

 

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 May 2019 11:55

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Welcoming 85 new boys and girls in the HBEF Family!!!

After the release of the 2018 Kenya Certificate of Primary Examination in November 2018, HBEF initiated the 2019 Scholarship Beneficiary Recruitment and Selection Exercise. Those shortlisted after submitting their application through our Scholarship Application Form, together with their guardians went through interviews conducted with the assistance of local education officials and leaders in the respective counties. This is geared towards ensuring that only those that meet our selection criteria are selected.

The outcome was the award of 4 year scholarship to 85 bright needy children drawn from 12 counties in Kenya. We are confident that each of these boys and girls has great potential and the secondary schools they have been admitted to presents them with the opportunity to access quality education to enable them pursue their dreams in life.

Through our Beneficiary Monitoring and Support Visits conducted during the school holidays in April, August and December, we shall have an opportunity to closely monitor their progress. We look forward to an exciting 4 year journey with them.

Our beneficiary intake each year is guided by the number of sponsorship we have received. A big thank you to all our sponsors who have willingly partnered with us to support these children. May God abundantly bless you.

To see the list of our 2019 Beneficiaries and their schools, please click here. http://www.hildebackeducationfund.com/beneficiaries/current-beneficiaries

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 March 2019 12:31

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Spreading the word in France

HBEF Founder Chris in France joined by HBEF Post Beneficiaries John Meshack of Ecole Centrale de Nantes  University and Edward Karumba who recently joined Science Po University for a run in promoting Education is a Human Right Campaign. Both students are doing very well in France.

 

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 07 February 2019 08:30

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"a small act Jamii" is here!!

Wednesday 3rd October 2018 was a great day at HBEF. It was Ms Hilde Back’s 96th Birthday! In commemorating the day;   ‘a small act Jamii’ ; a community of HBEF stakeholders coming together to support the work of HBEF, was launched. HBEF Founder Chris was in Sweden to celebrate with Ms Hilde while HBEF Board Members, Staff, Post Beneficiaries and friends joined together in making ‘a small act Jamii’ a reality. Below are the photos for the event. To read more on ‘a small act Jamii’ click here; http://www.hildebackeducationfund.com/asmallactjamii

    

  

  

 

                                 

                              

                           

Last Updated on Thursday, 04 October 2018 12:00

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Aspiring to Give Back to Her Community

I am Purity Mutisya, I joined the Hilde Back Education Fund Scholarship program from 2014-2017.

I was introduced to the program by the area Member of County Assembly because I had performed well.

I did my KCPE in 2013, joined high school in 2014 to 2017 attaining a grade that granted me a university pass. I leave with both my parents; I will be joining Kenyatta University to undertake Nursing, However; they are financially unstable to cater for my university studies. So am still waiting for financial assistance to begin my further studies.

My greatest benefits from the 4 years with the HBEF program are the motivational talks and the POA skills that helped me a lot. The lessons taught during the program highly motivated me to attain my Grade and I still apply them out here.

My goal is to be a nurse, serve and give back to my community in health care and also internationally in my career. I will be a dedicated & devoted health care advisor to the entire community and society at large.

My own ’small act’ is that am currently volunteering in my former school as a teacher for young children.

Thank you very much HBEF. Wishing you all the best.

Last Updated on Thursday, 04 October 2018 10:54

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UWC Waterford Kamhlaba doors open for Alphonce.....

Alphonse John Ochola, one of our 2017 KCSE best performers with our Executive Director when he visited our office. Alphonse will be joining the United World Colleges (UWC) early next year and we at HBEF are so happy for his achievements so far and we wish him well in his education journey.

Please give us a brief about yourself, your family, your upbringing and schooling.

I live with my mother, two older sisters and a young sibling who is in primary school. My father died when I was twelve. At seventeen, I have molded into a positive young man who hopes to find it in him to be able to impact his society. From when I first joined school, I have excelled academically and latter this has spurred wholesome growth in me. From my family and experiences growing up, I have adopted virtues such as kindness and compassion and purposed to project that out onto the world. School has been the defining factor for me. There, I have learnt to engage different kinds of people at varying levels and to be focused and determined on what I want to achieve.

Most of all, I have wanted to think of myself as a good boy.

When and how did you get in the HBEF Scholarship program?

When I sat the KCPE exams in 2013, I was sure I would score high marks and gain admission into a top secondary school. This brought with it the realization that a lot of money would be needed to see me through high school. Luckily, I had a good relationship with my school`s head teacher and he had advised most of us top students to seek scholarship opportunities as soon as the results would be released. One day he called me to school and showed me the HBEF booklet/questionnaire. We promptly filled it and on the day of interview at Migori County Education Offices, my mother and I made our plea. Luckily, it all ended well.

In summary, what could you say were the greatest benefits you derived during the 4 years you were under HBEF Program?

The fees at prestigious institutions that offer quality education are often a discouragement to ambitious young people who happen to hail from financially disadvantaged families. I have been most fortunate to survive this disheartening bit of reality and I feel obliged to express my sincerest gratitude to the organization.

I had a solid basis from where I could spring and envision myself whichever way I wanted to go. I was able to savor a world of unending possibilities. Such grounding is important for anyone that wants to achieve something immensely positive.

Did you hold any Leadership responsibility at your former school? If Yes, how did this contribute to your own development and success in your performance?

Yes. In my second year, I vied for and was elected as class representative by my colleagues. Through that, I learnt to be responsible and not only for myself. I also had to foster strong interpersonal relations with everyone I worked with, from classmates to the administration.

My biggest take- way remains that the greater welfare of the entre fraternity is always more important that the individual. Also, until one is willing to leave their comfort zone, they will not be able to discover some of their innate abilities.

Handling fellow teenagers can be tough call, but only until you find ways to get them to respect you.

In third form, I captained the Houses Football team during inter-house competitions. This was largely because I was one of only a handful of house members who played in school team where I had worked my way into the starting eleven. Belief and drive was low in the house`s team due to performances in recent years. It`s a long story but with the help of two or three other individuals, we marshalled our house`s team to the final of that year`s last such competition, an unprecedented achievement through the four years I spent in the school. Every time I remember this, I remind myself, ``You have only to believe, and then go about it’’

Tell us about the scholarship opportunity at Waterford Kamhlaba including how you got to learn about it.

In December of last year, Moses, who works with HBEF was, the one who would usually attend my County’s BMSV sent my mother a text message with a link to UWC website.

What I learnt there (and later reinforced when the interviews for scholarships were held) instantly left me impressed> United World Colleges is way more than about schooling. It is about harnessing the power of education, bringing people together to advance peace and for the betterment for our world. Diversity is embraced and the education transcends. This is evident in the foundational structure of the organization`s schools. School populations are multinational, an array of out-of-class programmes carried out that enables the students to experience the world in all its spheres, and emphasis is put on the relation between the school and the community in which it resides, and finally several rare disciplines are offered to allow wholesome growth.

It should be life-changing experience and only for the better I can hope.

What are your goals and where do you see yourself in the next 5 /10 years?

What I want to achieve is inevitably entwined with something I believe in; That we all havr great potential and should always seek to tap from it.

I envision a world where youth growing up feel free and compelled to invest their talents whichever way they want to for the good of society. This would require a shift in general perception and societal structures. Hopefully, I will be able to contribute my bit to such a cause.

In the next five years, I intend to have become a professional footballer, published a book, completed my first degree and advance in computer programming

Any final thoughts.

It all starts with a small act. Then you watch out for the ripples.

Thank you everyone

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 September 2018 10:30

Hits: 1274

January - June 2018 Newsletter

The latest newsletter is now on the website ready to download; it serves to inform on what HBEF has been up to the last 6 months. Enjoy the read:January - June 2018 Newsletter

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 July 2018 11:40

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Taking Every Opportunity with both hands

 

Read about Joseph Wainaina Waitugi; HBEF Leading Student in 2017 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education.

1.      Please give us a brief about yourself, your family, your upbringing and schooling.

My name is Joseph Waitugi Wainaina. I am the last born in a family of five children. I was born in Limuru and attended Rongai primary school here in Limuru. I scored 386 marks in my KCPE and joined Moi High School Mbiruri in 2014. I completed in the year 2017 scoring an A- grade of 80 points in the KCSE.

2.      When and how did you get in the HBEF Scholarship program?

I had applied for a scholarship with the Equity Bank but I was not successful. Luckily, I got someone in the Equity Program who called my Dad so that I could apply for the HBEF scholarship. I attended an interview in Githunguri and it came out successful. That is how I became a HBEF beneficiary.

3.      In summary, what could you say were the greatest benefits you derived during the 4 years you were under HBEF Program?

It was the great opportunity to go to a good high school and continuously learn without going home for fees and the hope and motivation to achieve my dreams.

4.      You emerged the leading student out of 112 HBEF students who sat for KCSE in 2017, what can you attribute your success to. 

Most of all is about hard work, discipline and smart work. Motivation from teachers and HBEF made me succeed. 

5.      Did you hold any Leadership responsibility at your former school? If yes,how did this contribute to your own development and success in your performance?

In 2016, I was elected as the school captain. This made me to be a responsible person and trying to be the best example, made me to work even harder.

6.      Tell us about your admission in the Equity Foundation Leadership Program

I was admitted in the Equity Leadership Program in January 2018. I was the top student in Embu County

 

7.      Which University and course have you been admitted to?

I have been admitted to the University of Nairobi for a course in Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery

8.      What are your goals and where do you see yourself in the next 5 /10 years?

I want to see myself as a successful doctor owning my own hospital. I want to see myself as a role model to young people and also a mentor.

My goal is also to one day help a needy child go to school.

9.      Any final thoughts.

I would want to thank the HBEF for the scholarship given. Lots of gratefulness from my parents because where I am today is because of that small act from HBEF.

A word of encouragement to other HBEF beneficiaries is that this is a golden opportunity, exploit it and make sure that HBEF will never regret having you. Remember to have a vision. A vision without implementation is just a hallucination.

Thank you HBEF, God Bless.

Kindly click here for the video interview; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xn_8FHjNKKs&t=283s

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 June 2018 10:11

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The Sky is the Limit Edward !!!

 

Edward Karumba, one of HBEF leading students in the 2017 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education was recently awarded a scholarship by Master Card Foundation to study at Sciences Po University in France. At HBEF we celebrate with Edward and wish him all the best as he proceeds on with his education journey.

  1. 1)Please give us a brief about yourself, your family, your upbringing and schooling.

My name is Edward Karumba, I’m 17 years old and I was born in Kinangop, Nyandarua County. My family consists of five children raised by both parents. My father who is a driver and my mother who is a casual laborer. My brother recently graduated from college (Diploma in community development). My three younger siblings are in elementary school. I have been raised in a Christian humble background. One thing that echoes in any family setting is, how education is the only key to bring change in the community, and this is something I hold onto dearly. I studied in Kanyungi Primary School, scored 393/500 marks proceeded to Kenyatta High School through a God sent scholarship opportunity and managed to get an A- and at this point I humbly wait to enroll for my University studies at Science Po University in France.

  1. 2)When and how did you get in the HBEF scholarship program?

After completing my primary education, I got a letter of admission to Kenyatta High School. Unfortunately, there stood a barrier, a challenge in paying the school fees. It was a very troubling time since no aid was forthcoming and time was running out, it actually brought me down to some depression moments. However, sometime back through my head teacher we got to know about HBEF, with faith I got the papers and applied for the scholarship and eagerly anticipated for a positive reply. Fortunately I was granted a scholarship to continue studying and things have never been the same ever since I joined HBEF.

  1. 3)In summary, what were the greatest benefits you derived from HBEF program under the period of 4 years now.

Primarily, I’d say that financing my high school education was the major benefit and I always had it in mind that I should work hard to show that I was worthy to receive the scholarship. Thanks to the monitoring programmers held thrice a year this was made possible. I got many skills not just to cope with education but life at large. I would want to extend my sincere gratitude to Madam Sarah who constantly encouraged me and the rest of the team to continuously work smart. I also learnt of the important role HBEF was playing in so many young peoples lives and vowed to do the same in future; to help bright challenged students financially.

  1. 4)Did you hold any leadership responsibility at your former school? If yes, how did this contribute to your own development and success in your performance?

During my high school days, I was an academic representative for my class thought the four years. Having a responsibility to speak for a group of peoples’ needs (academic) was a major milestone for me. I learnt to always be vocal about minor things that contribute to fulfill long term goals. Actually something dubbed “action focus” at one of the monitoring forums. The ability to concentrate on small actions to achieve the major goals.

  1. 5)Tell us about the scholarship opportunity at Science Po University including how you got to learn about it.

After receiving my form four results, I was very happy to have scored fine grades, but that joy momentarily lived. Again the financing of my University education was a problem. I’m a living testimony to God’s miracle because I received a call from HBEF informing me about a possible highly competitive scholarship by Master card foundation (MCF) at Science Po University. At first I was nervous to apply for it is only given to five candidates from sub Saharan Africa would qualify. Yet again, God worked a miracle and I was granted the scholarship through a series of long applications and interviews. At this point I want to greatly thank my mother, because she always believed in me. The scholarship is offered by MCF to help needy students to learn a special program at Science Po (a leadership program comprised in a bachelor of arts) in order to come back and integrate change in the community. It is a fully fledged scholarship which I intend to make the most out of it. After the Bachelor of Arts, I intend to major a masters in Economics or Law.

  1. 6)What are your goals and where do you see yourself in the next 5/10 years from now?

I wish to make the most out of my studies on campus. I tend to major in either Economics or Law. Thereafter, school I want to possibly start a program that gives back to society. This should be aimed at mentoring bright needy children. To uphold and make the motto “Education is a basic human right” not just a dream but a reality. I’m passionate about the possibilities of poverty education through careful economic plan, proper representation of the citizen and intolerance to a major vice in Kenya “corruption”. I hope that in the looming near future I should be taking strides to achieve the above.

  1. 7)Any final thoughts.

I sincerely, want to thank the Hilde Back Education Fund, all the above would surely be impossible without their kind help. May God Bless this organization abundantly. I would also like to send a message to my fellow brothers and sisters currently in High School saying that, “the sky is the limit, by working smart in school, all doors will stand a jar before you”. Always at all times make sure you stand worthy to HBEF scholarship. THANK YOU HBEF.

 

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 November 2018 11:42

Hits: 1655

Young to young: An exemplary American youth changing the lives of kenyan children

By: Niamh McDonnell

 Success

As a Kenyan charitable organization, Hilde Back Education Fund has allowed for connections throughout the world.  Creating these educational opportunities in Kenya has helped to form global networks between sponsors and recipients.  Sam Finkel, a high school senior from Rockville, Maryland, is one of HBEF’s most inspirational donors. He’s been sponsoring two students through their secondary education from the time he was 12 years old. As the son of a physician, and court appointed special advocate (CASA) for children, Sam has grown up with the same values based in educational work: empowering kids in every way one can.  Last week, Sam sat down to chat with us about how he first began to get involved with HBEF and the impact it’s left on him. The work that he’s put into sponsoring HBEF students has helped to create two more leaders of the future; the fact that he himself is a student makes that work even more meaningful. Sam exemplifies the change one can bring about in the world, even from a young age. He’s a shining example of what we can expect from the generations of the future.  It’s never too early to be making a difference in the world, big or small. Having accomplished so much already, it’s clear that Sam aims to make a big impact on the world; we’re excited to see where the future takes him, because we know it’s going to be bright.

HBEF:  You’re a senior in high school, but you’ve been a Hilde Back donor for quite some time.  Tell us a bit about how you first discovered HBEF, and what inspired you to donate your money for students in Kenya?

 

Sam:  “It all started in December 2012; I was 12 years old at the time.  My mom came to my family and said ‘You guys need to see this HBO Documentary.’  It was called A Small Act. [The film focused on] Hilde’s story as a Holocaust survivor, and her sending small amounts of money to a program which she knew was for education. She didn’t really know who she was helping— but that was Chris, who went on to become very successful.  He attended Harvard, and now works for the UN. [Seeing that journey] was the start of it for me. At that time, I was also preparing for my Bar Mitzvah. My synagogue, Temple Emanuel, requires each student to conduct a meaningful service project during their Bar or Bat Mitzvah year.  [I’ve always found] education to be really important, and I wanted to do something that was significant to me. I also wanted to do something that could impact someone close to my age. So when I saw the documentary, and I had my Bar Mitzvah project, it all came together. Last Fall, I had the privilege of meeting Chris and his local family, who live near us in Gaithersburg, Maryland.  He was working in Washington, D.C. at the time and joined myself and my family for the breaking of our fast. When we observe the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur, we fast for 24 hours. Then, we break the fast with a dairy meal. It was a really special meeting, and we had an awesome time. Chris brought me a cool shirt from Kenya too.


HBEF: Chris mentioned that you’ve been sponsoring multiple students? Do you know them or keep in touch with them?

 

Sam: Yes. I started sponsoring one student named Samuel Sila; he was the first student.  I had actually only planned to sponsor one student. I had to raise money, and I did so through making speeches at my school, and fundraising sermons at my synagogue.  I contacted the filmmakers of A Small Act to show it at my synagogue as well.  After viewing the movie at that same event, I skyped with Chris, who was in Ethiopia at the time.  I moderated questions about school in Kenya and the Hilde Back Education Fund. So I had begun with Samuel in mind, but I [ended up] raising over $4000, which allowed me to sponsor John Waweru as well.  Through social media I’m able to contact them on Facebook. Samuel is currently studying at Pwani University-Kilifi, and wants to pursue a degree in Arts Education. John recently finished his final exam of the 4 year secondary school sponsorship.  He did extremely well— only 17% of students scored with an A or A- grade, and he was one of them. He’s now planning on attending Nairobi University for a Bachelor's Degree in Real Estate.   When they were still in High School, I used to get reports and letters from them each month and I would write back. t was really cool to not just be sending this money, but to be keeping in touch with John and Samuel and really seeing their progress.  That was really rewarding for me.

HBEF: You’ve just been accepted to Tulane, which is amazing! Congratulations.  What do you plan on doing in the future? Is it related to non-profit work?

 

Sam: I definitely think so.  I got into the Honors Program at Tulane, but my major is undecided so I’m not exactly sure.  I’m leaning towards a pre-med track, and potentially helping health and medicine in underdeveloped countries such as Kenya.  I definitely plan to stay involved with the Hilde Back Education Fund, and possibly go to Kenya this summer to work with Chris.   


HBEF: What does education mean to you as a sponsor of HBEF who is a student themselves?

 

Sam: As a student I’ve always loved education, specifically teaching.  In class, I really enjoy the feeling of helping kids who maybe don’t understand the material in the moment.  Being able to help them, and see that look on their face when they understand the material is really inspiring to me.  In school I do a lot of education-related activities. As the president of the National Honor Society, I get to interact with students, and talk to underclassmen about their struggles, whether it’s academically or socially. I’ve always been really interested in education, but HBEF really inspired me, and further motivated me to help other kids my age.


HBEF: What has HBEF meant to you over the years; what impact has it had on you as such a young sponsor?

 

Sam: As a student here in the U.S., I think a lot of kids take education for granted; they don’t really think about it.  With Chris, I know his motto is ‘Education is a Human Right,’ and that’s something I really agree with. In Kenya, it’s obviously not guaranteed that kids get an education.  I think Hilde Back Education Fund, has really made me think about how grateful and blessed I am to be able to have an education without having to really worry about it.


HBEF: As someone who has been doing inspirational work from such a young age, what’s your response to those who don’t believe young people can really be taken seriously?

 

Sam: That’s a tough question. I would say that obviously it isn’t true.  Whatever you want to put your mind to, if there’s something you want to accomplish, you’ve got to block out the people who don’t believe in you.  You have to continue your own journey, as Chris did— he was given the chance to do something with his education through Hilde. He was extremely successful, and he was my age.  So it’s a matter of trying to do your own thing and not worry about what others think.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 June 2018 11:59

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