Loyal to His Purpose:
a Student's Journey
Two years after completing grade 8, Isaac Opar remained at home caring for his four siblings and ailing parents. The impoverished family could not send their eldest son to high school; school fees were beyond their means.
In late 2005, a former teacher came to see Isaac, telling him of a new scholarship program opening to local students. The teacher invited Isaac to live with his family so that he could return to school and retake his grade 8 examinations, and thus improve his chances of winning one of the nine scholarships offered that year.
Isaac's efforts were rewarded. He scored first out of 600 candidates who sat for the zone's primary level exams - and joined our first group of KSHP sponsored students in January 2006.
As a freshman, Isaac ranked first in his class of 143 boys at Oriwo Boys, a leading boarding school an hour's drive from Kendu Bay. His mother succumbed to HIV/AIDS during his second year of high school. His father's health continued to decline and soon he too died, leaving Isaac head of the family during his third year of high school.
At age seventeen, Isaac had to choose between staying in school - or returning home to care for his younger brother and three sisters. His siblings urged him to return to school. With a broken heart, Isaac saw his siblings scattered among distant relatives. His sister ultimately conceived, dropped out of school and got married.
Back at school, Isaac weathered on and in December 2009 he graduated from Oriwo Boys High School 5th in his class of 124 students. Following graduation, Isaac volunteered at his brother's primary school, teaching Mathematics, English and Geography. Outside school hours, he worked helping his guardian, a street shoe shiner.
Last September, a letter from Kenya's Joint Admission Board invited Isaac to join Nairobi University School of Law - Isaac's first choice of career. He had not one shilling in his pocket; no bus fare; no clothes but the t-shirt on his back. He was given one week to accept the opening or lose his chance for law studies.
KHSP friends and supporters rallied, and within the week, funding was cobbled together to fund Isaac's first year of tuition, room and board. In wild celebration, he was hoisted on the shoulders of the 8th grade students he tutored and the next day boarded a bus to Nairobi.
Alone and clutching a bag with his worldly belongings, the boy from Lake Victoria had but one goal: to find Nairobi University Law School campus and claim his spot in the freshman class.
Adjustment to campus life was harsh. His worn clothes were out of place. To cut food costs, he skipped meals. To keep warm at night, he slept in his clothes.
He plugged on, immersing himself in contract law and civil jurisdiction. By February, Isaac had found his niche. A small project stipend allowed Isaac to upgrade his clothing. He was eating three meals most days and had moved to a pension closer to campus that allowed him to study at the library late into the night.
Still, he plans to remain in Nairobi this month during a two-week school break to conserve bus fare and occasionally skip lunches so he can send pocket money to his siblings back in Kendu Bay.
Isaac is loyal to his purpose. As head of his family, he will forego every personal comfort to secure the well being of his siblings and to acquire an education that will support his loved ones in the future.
I wish we could say he is out of the woods. Isaac's tuition, room & board is funded for one year only. His second year is not secure. KSHP has no reserve funds from which to draw.
If we who read this story share it with a friend, in one week we could again collect the resources to fuel Isaac's journey into his second year of law school. I invite us to consider the blessings.
Add your support to the Isaac Opar University Support Fund
To forward to a friend, see link below. Thank you!