July 23, 2015

Collecting #UpForSchool signatures in Kenya - on buses, at schools and in villages

Samwell Ojijo

Global Youth Ambassador from Kenya

I began my journey as a Global Youth Ambassador full of confidence, ready to make a difference for millions of children out of school.

As a young African, I acknowledge the struggles of every African child who is perceived to be unable to make it normally through formal education. When I received the A World at School booklet, it was an amazing opportunity for me to make a difference and make the world know there are millions of human beings out of school and they must do something to reverse this policy mess.

I had hope of a better tomorrow and was very much aware of the challenges ahead in collecting signatures for the #UpForSchool Petition.

Every single news item about poverty in my country on social media or mainstream media catalysed me to be heard and made me yearn to make a difference.

From school to school, village to village, market place to market, on the roadside and with friends and family, the journey began - exhausting all my networks to get signatures.

To me at this point every signature meant the world. This is the time I visited most of my friends, I attended most of the parties, invited or not, it was an opportunity of a lifetime.

This is the period I used public transport most - not because I fancy the congestion in them but because at this period the more people in the bus the more the signatures I could collect.

I think I practised my marketing skills during my signature collection and should include in my Curriculum Vitae that I am a self-proclaimed marketer with A World at School, if it would make more children join schools.

I broke my phone call records and revived my almost extinct friends in my phone book. The challenges of people refusing to write back, authorities throwing you out of their premises and still begging them to sign, having to balance work and signature collection, meeting groups at night and turning weekends and holidays into official working days.

All these are nothing as compared to millions of humans dying because they do not have food to put in their mouth, water to quench their thirst, a roof to cover the heavy rain and scorching sun, a family to turn to during disaster, clothes to cover their nakedness, a school to attend and even a teacher to teach them the basics of ABCD.

I cannot stop working for education no matter what! Because even if I wanted to I can’t! The surest way to break this bondage of human-created poverty is hidden within the classroom.

I shall not be moved until the policymakers heed my voice, however faint, and give a chance for every child to get this priceless pearl - education. #ubuntu.

You can follow Samwel on Twitter. 

We are a global children’s charity committed to giving the most vulnerable children and young people a brighter future in their world.

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