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

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