Last week, Safaricom Foundation launched the fourth phase of Ndoto Zetu at the Thika based Salvation Army Joytown School for physically challenged children. Ndoto Zetu is a foundation project in which communities share their dreams with Safaricom and the most deserving are selected for actualization with donations. Since its inception in 2019, Ndoto Zetu has impacted close to 3 million Kenyans and this year, the Safaricom Foundation aims to reach a further 2 million with projects worth 100 million shillings.
Joytown has already been a beneficiary of Ndoto Zetu in the past, with the foundation having donated the first ever physiotherapy equipment, a school bus, and a fully kitted bakery. This time round, the school got 20 laptops and 8 projectors. This is a Ksh.1.5 Million donation towards the school’s wish to expand their computer lab. Along with these, all the girls received sanitary packs and all students received a school bag and a geometry set.
It is here at the launch that by sheer coincidence I met Macharia Njoroge again, having met him just a few days earlier at the M-Pesa Foundation Academy. Macharia is an alumni of Joytown school and he states with no doubt that all the successes that he has had in his young life stemmed from there. He has quite a bit of them, examples being a sterling education record through both Joytown and M-Pesa academy and joining Nottingham University in the UK to study music. In his short stay there, he has already been awarded top music student at the university.
Macharia is a perfect example of the magic that happens when we take care of our own. He is more than grateful to Safaricom Foundation for the Ndoto Zetu initiative and for having chosen his former school. As much as he agrees that there is need for integration, he also feels that special schools are the best environment for the extra needs of the kids with disabilities. This makes them self reliant in line with Joytown’s moto – najimudu. Ndoto Zetu’s donations mean a lot to him even as an alumni and he believe they are huge morale boost for those still studying there.
Looking at his humble past and the fact that he has always lived with a disability, the young man would never have dreamed of actualizing his music dreams let alone in such a short time.
For Macharia, being back is Joytown as part of Ndoto Zetu is surreal. This is the school that shaped his character and made him self reliant. It is here that in a boarding school environment, his struggle with long commute to school came to an end and he was able to put all his energy into studies. Being a special school, he was under the care of teachers who understand their students and treat them individually, each according to their disability.
A visibly excited Macharia has aways vowed to come and give back to the school and here he was as a music teacher volunteer.
His story cannot be told without a mention of Teacher Mumbi – a special educationist who spotted him on a wheelchair back in Nakuru and wondered how he gets to school. This was immediately after amputationof his one leg due to a birth defect he had lived with all his life. By the time Ms. Mumbi saw him, he was a volunteer piano player in church.
She advised Macharia to apply to join Joytown and after his primary education, and is the same one who got him M-Pesa Foundation application forms, helped him fill them, and accompanied him and his mum to the admission after a successful application. She is very proud of the boy whom she describes as happy, hardworking and focused. She has no doubt that he is going far and has told the mother as much.
If you have community dreams and aspirations that you would like considered, fill the application here. Or visit any Safaricom Retail Shop and fill in an application form for a chance to have their community dream realized. Successful participants will be contacted by Safaricom Foundation through 0722 000 000.