Vision Impaired Scholarship Student Thrives Against All Odds
Since 2005, Wildlife Works’ Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project has awarded over $260,000 in scholarship money to more than 3,200 top performing students in our project area.
One student’s perseverance exemplifies how dedicated our beneficiaries are to meeting their goals.
Martin was born in 1981 to Emmanuel Mwarigha and Fridah Mshai. His family lives in a small village called Itinyi Village in Voi Sub-county, Taita Taveta County.
In his teenage years, he developed an illness that diminished his eyesight. But the toughest time in his life came when his father died in 2008. Martin was 27 at the time. “I was thrown into health-threatening stress. I felt that I had lost someone very important in my life and would never smile again.” Martin explained.
Martin with the students from Mwatate children orphanage showing them how they write and read at the school.
Already falling in and out of school due to shortage of funds, Martin had to completely drop out of school after his father passed. Feeling desperate, Martin searched far and wide for financial assistance for his education.
“In 2011, I met Mr. Robert Dodson, VP of African Ops, who offered to sponsor me.” Martin was ecstatic!
Martin enrolled in Machakos Technical Institute for the Blind to learn wallet and shoe making. It was a six months training course where he performed very well and was awarded a certificate of completion.
Seeing Martin’s enthused motivation for further education, Mr. Dodson encouraged him to attend Thika High School for the Blind (THSB) in 2012. Martin set a new aspiration, “Seeing the work of Wildlife Works’ community managers, I decided to put more efforts in order to achieving the same goal.”
Martin talking to community about his life and how wildlife works through Rob has transformed him.
But after just two weeks at THSB, Martin had to undergo eye surgery and the six-week recovery period set him back. He ended his first year with a very low score for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE). “I thought this was the end of my education but God had a good plan for me,” he said.
Martin’s mother, who could not bare to see her son’s dreams crushed, convinced a nearby teacher to tutor her son so he can catch up.
Martin and her Mother sitting on the chair with the rest of community dept posing for a photo before going back to school.
Martin is now in secondary school and waiting for his final exam results, which he felt he aced! He is inspired by community development work because he wants to advocate the best for society through giving back, and hopes to land a job soon.
“I still remember some friends I schooled with at Likoni School for the Blind (LSB)who now have secured jobs. My best friend, Mr. Philip Mwaguya, is a teacher at LSB and Venant Mwabara is a mathematics teacher at Nguraru primary School, Wundanyi.” Martin explains.
Martin at resource center at Maungu talking to some youths on climate change.
During school holidays, Martin has the opportunity to intern at Wildlife Works and join the community department on their weekly update meetings with the community on REDD+ projects. This fieldwork with professionals is giving him the experience to develop this career path.
“And finally, when I finish my education and become financially stable, I would like to look for a beautiful, loving, caring and educated lady to tie a not with!” Martin exclaims!