Wildlife Works sponsors a scholarship program called the Kelimu Trust, a fund that aims to uplift education standards for underprivileged students in Kenya. As the school term closes, many beneficiaries of these scholarships spend their vacation time volunteering at the Wildlife Works greenhouse as a means of giving back to the community and of showing their gratitude.
We interviewed 17-year-old Emmanuel Mulewa, a 12th grader at Ribe Boys High School in northern Kenya. Emmanuel applied to the Kelimu Trust after completing 8th grade when he lacked the money necessary to pay for secondary school. Due to his impressive academic performance (among other various aspects of the application process), he was chosen as a recipient, and as a result, was able to continue his education.
Emmanuel and other beneficiaries of the Kelimu Trust have devoted three days a week to volunteering at our greenhouse during their school holidays. He tells us that he chose to volunteer both out of appreciation, and as a means of distancing himself from the negative influences of his peers, which he fears could jeopardize his future goals.
The volunteers work half days, between 8:30am and 12:30 pm. Their daily routine typically involves filling sand soil mixed with manure into small polythene bags, sweeping the greenhouse, and during the rainy season, digging trenches to prevent flooding of the jojoba trees. These trees are planted by Wildlife Works and are currently being studied by a team led by botanist Dr. James Inoti to ascertain their sex and help attain the trees’ oil.
At the end of each school holiday, Wildlife works gives each student-volunteer seven trees to plant at home. Despite the water shortage at his home area in Maungu, Emmanuel has managed to plant fifteen trees and is looking forward to planting more.
Among other hobbies, Emmanuel is particularly passionate about farming, and is a member of the Young Farmers Club at his school. The club has planted various crops on the school property and kept livestock such as cows, sheep and goats. His favorite aspect of the club is treating the cattle when they are unwell. He explained to us the telltale signs that an animal is sick, one example being a tinted color in the cows’ milk that differs from the normal white color. In situations like these, Emmanuel and his peers use various textbooks as guidelines for how to treat the sick animals step-by-step and bring them back to good health.
We enjoy working with bright young students like Emmanuel who represent the future generation of Kenya and who share our passion for protecting local wildlife. He leaves us with the following quote: “Always do your best and never expect perfection.”
To learn more about the Kelimu Trust or to become a contributor, visit their website at: http://kelimutrust.org.