Boni and James at Crows Nest Rotary

Excerpt from The Rotary Bulletin dated 25 May 2017

LAST MONDAY’s (May 22nd) Meeting. 
Our guest speakers today were from Kenya, representing the organisation ‘So They Can.’   Boniface Mouti and James Ole Mpilei are visiting Sydney to interface with the Crows Nest based ‘So They Can’ staff,  represented by our member Claire, to discover first hand what support is available for their educational programs in Africa and to get a feeling for Australia.
Our Club is presently planning a project to jointly support ‘So They Can’ and the Rotary Club of Nakuru, Rift Valley to financially assist approximately 400 children and 40 staff to attend the Aberdare Ranges Primary School in Nakuru, Kenya.
But today Boni and James gave us an account of their story growing up in rural Kenya .
Boni is now 43 and was the 10th of 11 children from a subsistence farming family struggling in rural Kenya.  With such a large family Boni, at a young age, was sent off to Nakuru to be looked after by one of his older brothers.  He was fortunate to be sponsored by an Irish lady to attend St Marys catholic school for his 8 years of primary schooling.  He subsequently attended a Seminary and completed his High School curriculum as well as his religious studies.  He chose to become a teacher, rather than a priest.
He has continued with his education and holds an MA in International Relations, Post Graduate Diploma in Education, BA in Development Studies, Bachelors Degree in Philosophy, and Diploma in Philosophy and Religious Studies.   He is currently a PhD student at Kenyatta University.
Boni now  has over 15 years working in various Child Rights based organizations in both Kenya and Tanzania and is a board member in a number of them.   Boni has published widely in Child Rights areas; with topics such as,  ‘The Bitter Fruits of Drug abuse’,  and ‘The State of Street Children in our Society.
 Boni joined ‘So they Can’ Kenya in 2013.   His goal for projects in Kenya is to make a lasting difference to increase access to quality education for children in Kenya, particularly for marginalised and needy communities, so to trigger a social, political, and economic take off for his country.
He is eternally grateful of the support he received to get his initial education and looks on his life as a testimony of people helping others.  Boni has a wife and 3 children and is the Country Manager for ‘So They Can’ Kenya.
James Ole Mpilei  is the Community Education Manager at ‘So They Can’ and is from the Maasai community which comprises quite large semi nomadic tribes in  Kenya and Tanzania.  The Maasai are very conservative in their culture and their wealth is measured in the number of animals they own.   They are also a polygamous society.  James is one of 29 children in his family – his father has 5 wives.
James explained that he was ‘the sacrificial lamb’ in his family and was given away to go to school.  However he did very well at primary and secondary school and then went on to Teachers College where he excelled, and topped the country.  He then went to college in the UK progressing to become a lecturer.
James joined ‘So they Can’ which he considers to be the bridge between his past and his future where he is making an impact for posterity.  James is married with one wife and 4 children,  2 boys and 2 girls who are also excelling  in their education.
Boni and James gave us a fascinating insight into their upbringing and their approach to education which they are using to benefit the next generation of children at the Aberdare Ranges Primary, a school set up and run by So They Can in the Rift Valley, Kenya.
 Boni and James were introduced by Ross and thanked by Howard.
As an added note,our ongoing project with “So They Can” in Kenya comes back to funding by the relevant Clubs in Kenya and the District involved.Boni will make this a priority when he returns to Kenya,so in turn our Global Grant can progress.