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18 February Feb 2022 1223 18 February 2022

In Kenya, a principal becomes an example for students

World Day of Social Justice: how Distance Support can help overcome the barrier of poverty

Social justice is promoted when specific actions help to remove those barriers that a person faces in the path to reach their full potential: gender, age, socio-economic status, culture.

Musa Kosgei was born into a very poor family in Barpello, in one of the poorest areas of Kenya, arid and periodically affected by bloody tribal conflicts. His father dies when Musa is still a small child, leaving his mother alone with six children to raise.

Unfortunately, the difficulties do not end there: while he is attending second grade, the family loses everything in a fire just as a severe drought hits Barpello.
As a result, Musa finds himself forced to drop out of school to care for the family's livestock.
Many adults in his community discourage him further: despite his desire to learn and the ability he demonstrated in his studies, they believe the boy simply must accept the reality of his condition.
"Why should you waste time studying hard when your mother won't be able to pay for your high school fees?" they tell him over and over again.

Musa Kosgei today

After some time, the particularly vulnerable condition of the family is reported to AVSI Kenya by the Sisters of the Incarnate Word: Musa is thus included in the Distance Support project and is able to start going to school again.
He has a few years of catching up to do, but he does his best and manages to complete his studies, managing to even become the best student in the whole county.

He didn't stop there: today Musa is the principal of Barpello High School and is an example of strength and hope for the kids who are continuing their education.

He tells them about his childhood and the many challenges he had to face, trying to convey to them the confidence in pursuing their dreams and improving their life through study, not resigning themselves to a situation of poverty and occasional work.

The obstacles that many students face are still there: from poverty, that prevents many children from attending school and forces them to work to survive, to the difficulties faced by young girls who are subjected to genital mutilation and forced into early marriages.
Musa collaborates with AVSI in carrying out awareness actions, obtaining encouraging results: cases of genital mutilation, for example, have almost completely disappeared among the girls attending Barpello High School.

Distance Support in Barpello

Today the Distance Support project involves about one hundred children in the Barpello area, also thanks to Musa and the school.
In this way, AVSI is able to offer an education to the most vulnerable children, protecting them at the same time from the threat and risks of child labor, which they would surely face if they could not go to school.

Musa and the AVSI Kenya team

February 20 marks the World Day of Social Justice, which this year focuses specifically on the importance of formal employment - an accomplishment Musa achieved by being given the opportunity to study.
A goal he continues to pass on to his students.

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