Which is more powerful: a man’s circumstances or his desire to make the most of them?
Simon’s story argues for the latter.
A charming young man from self-described “humble beginnings,” Simon grew up in Korogocho, Kenya, one of Africa’s largest slums. Having spent the first 22 years of his life there, he admits,
“The hardest part of growing up in a slum area is lack of enough finances. That is the most difficult thing that I have ever experienced.”
His financial situation prevented him from getting a formal college education, but with help from World Vision, Simon received a scholarship to study Information Technology – a good opportunity for a young man to seek opportunities at making a life in a wealthier area.
However, Simon’s desire was not to get out of the slums and save himself. He wanted to use his education to create opportunities for more people in his community of Korogocho; to use what he’d been given to educate and empower others.
That’s what he did.
Simon founded Upendo Kenya Initiative, a program that has now equipped over 600 adults with skills in computer technology and basic literacy.
He’s become a role model in the community for young boys, which is an understandable honour for a man who believes that “each and every one of us, as long as you are born a human being, you have a great potential.”
Simon is just one example of how youth can engage their communities in positive ways – regardless of the circumstances – if they are empowered in the right ways and encouraged to dream.
Whether you come from great privilege or your beginnings were humble, be encouraged by Simon’s story that your circumstances are not more powerful than your desire to make a difference. Be encouraged that (in Simon’s own words),
“You can do it. You can be exceptional.”
Video by Maxwell Moser.
Written by Meredith Hastings.