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Paying it Forward through Education

Humphrey Luora is paying it forward thanks to Carolina for Kibera.

Humphrey Luora is paying it forward thanks to Carolina for Kibera.

Humphrey Luora grew up in the Kibera slums outside of Nairobi, Kenya. Something his father often repeated when he was growing up, has informed his life. That was: “No education, no life.”

Shortly after completing primary school, Humphrey learned about Carolina for Kibera–an Aid for Africa member charity based in Kibera that fights abject poverty and helps prevent violence through community-based development. Humphrey volunteered for Carolina for Kibera’s Caught Offside Initiative, a program in which mentors help young local athletes tackle the hurdles of education and life.

Through sports programs, young women’s empowerment and community development, Carolina for Kibera promotes youth leadership and ethnic and gender cooperation. It works to improve basic healthcare, sanitation and education. It saves lives, prevents ethnic and religious violence and creates opportunities in a place that outsiders view as hopeless.

Run through the local sports association, Caught Offside provides an outlet for discussion otherwise not available to many young people living in Kibera. Topics they discuss include accurate reproductive health information, drug abuse and the importance of education.

While working as a Carolina for Kibera volunteer, Humphrey attended high school. Because he was unable to regularly pay the Kenyan high school fees, he was never sure if he would be kicked out of class or sent home. This kept him from focusing fully on school. When Carolina for Kibera launched its Education Program in 2010, Humphrey applied for and won a high school scholarship. Once he had a full scholarship, everything changed.

Humphrey graduated from high school with top marks and is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in computer science at Egerton University in Western Kenya. Growing up, Humphrey was always eager to learn more about computers, but he never had the opportunity to practice. He hopes to offer free computer tutorials to those who are struggling in circumstances similar to his when he was younger.

With Humphrey’s passion for education, and his eagerness to give back to his community, he will no doubt encourage and inspire others in Kibera to seek an education. “Life is what you make it,” he advises. “You should always be a go-getter, because that’s the only way to achieve your goals.”

Carolina for Kibera believes solutions to poverty are best realized when those affected by poverty drive change. Thanks to his father’s wisdom and his own determination, Humphrey is one of those change agents.

To learn more about the work of Carolina for Kibera, click here.

Adapted from a Carolina for Kibera blog “The Will to Learn” by Nick Johnson