A rural Kenyan teacher who gives 80 percent of his monthly income to poor communities, just won a $1 million global prize, proving that the blessings you bestow usually come right back to you.
Peter Tabichi, a Franciscan brother who teaches math and physics, was honored with the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize on Sunday in Dubai, United Arab Erimates.
The Varkey Foundation definitely chose well. Tabichi teaches at a Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in Pwani Village, making use of only one computer, poor internet connection and a staggering student-teacher ratio of 58:1. Still, he visits internet cafes when he can to make sure he gets the proper content for his students, and then uses them offline. Students walk just over four miles along roads that are often impassable in the raining season to learn, the Varkey Foundation noted in Tabichi’s profile.
He and four of his colleagues also go the extra mile to ensure that low-achieving students get one-on-one tutoring outside of class and over the weekends, visiting students’ home and meeting with their families to help identify the challenges they have and face them together.
According to the profile, most of Tabichi’s students, 95 percent of them, come from poor families. Almost a third of these students are orphans or only have one parent. And many go without food when at home. Drug abuse, teenage pregnancies, dropping out of school, young marriages, and suicide are also issues that his students face.
Still, Tabichi soldiered on, working with his amazing students, who he mentored through the Kenya Science and Engineering Fair in 2018, in which they came in first. Currently, the Mathematical Science team is qualified to participate in the INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair in 2019 in Arizona, which they are prepping for.
Under the guidance of Tabichi and his colleagues, Keriko’s enrollment has doubled to 400 in over three years, and more of his students are moving on to college after they finish their education with him.
“Everyday in Africa we turn a new page and a new chapter. Today is another day,” Tabichi told the foundation, according to CNN. “This prize does not recognize me but recognizes this great continent’s young people.”