Meet Sammy Njuguna Smith, born 27th May 1994. Sammy has a story.
Sammy is Kenyan. He holds a 2015 KSCE qualification from secondary school (high school). This is unique because Sammy was a street boy, though he did not start life out that way. His education is unique because by age 8, Sammy had a business and some savings, but did not go to school. It is unique because while running his self-survival business, he disliked school and church because he could not understand them since he had not been taken to school.
Fast forward 12 years and we see Sammy studying for his final exams, and helping an international team of child protection specialists put a paedophile in prison. That suspect, Simon Harris, was convicted in a UK courtroom in December of 2014 and sentenced to prison in February of 2015.
Sammy lives in the small Rift Valley town of Gilgil, in the East African country of Kenya. His early years were spent in Nakuru, a slightly larger town about 40 km from Gilgil. It is in this area of the Rift Valley that Kenya experienced the worst of its post-election inter-tribal violence after the 2007 elections. Many children were left without whole families, and many families were left without homes or possessions. Kenya has worked hard to help remedy the damage.
Sammy met Cynthia in the summer of 2013, when she traveled to Gilgil with the team of UK specialists investigating the allegations against Simon Harris. Sammy wanted to be a lawyer for children like Cynthia and her staff from The Cradle-The Children Foundation in the big city of Nairobi. He told her things about how street boys think and what matters to them. He eventually began to tell her about his own life and she encouraged him to write it all down.
This clean cut young man sporting a crisp white shirt, and warm and engaging smile is a street boy. He discovered a love for education during his survival business years and spent his daily efforts finding ways to earn enough money for school fees and food. Sometimes he had to rely on the benevolence of towns people and teachers when the days became too difficult.
But what Sammy has never done is give up. And he has incredibly pertinent, present-day lessons to offer, whether you are from a developed country or a developing country. Sammy hopes his story inspires other young people to push through to a better life, as he does daily in his pursuit to find his way to college and university.
He has written his story and you can begin to read it here.