I will turn Kibera into Runda, says whiz kid
Wycliffe Kyalo, 18, is out to prove a point and change the lives of Kibera residents.
He is from an area nicknamed Kichinjio (slaughter house), not because one is built on it, but for the human blood that is shed due to crime.
Besides the bloodshed, residents have also resigned themselves to poverty and the general believe is that no good can come from the area.
But Mr Kyalo is quickly proving the naysayers wrong. He scored a straight A of 82 points in the 2013 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams.
Not only did he emerge as the best student in Igembe Boys Secondary School but also topped in Igembe South District.
His exemplary performance has not gone unnoticed. He is among other top scorers who have won the Equity Bank Foundation scholarship and could be flying out of the country to study architecture.
“Many people say Kichinjio cannot produce people with a future, but it has brought me up. Just as Lupita Nyong’o said, no matter where you come from, your dream is valid, I am determined to make it,” he said.
The indignity of the poor housing in Kibera has served to keep his dream alive. No Kenyan should have to live under such conditions, he said.
“I hope that one day I can improve Kibera. My plan is to come up with structures that will transform it from a slum to a place where people want to bring up their families,” said Mr Kyalo.
“If my plans fall into place, it could become the next Runda. Being an architect, I know I will make Kibra a place people yearn to be,” he added.
Such optimism and unprecedented performance has earned him some respect among his peers. He is a mentor to hundreds of young people in the neighbourhood. Most of them refer to him as mkubwa (boss).
He is already working at Equity Bank, Kibra branch as he waits for the scholarship process to be completed and hopefully fly out of the country.
Besides the Equity Bank scholarship, he also among 1,000 beneficiaries of a Sh10 million Kibra constituency bursary.
He was once an avid football player but quit after realising that many of his colleagues were involved in crime and took drugs.
“I did not want to die. I wanted to live and build a good future for my family and community. I realised I easily grasped concepts in class and wanted to make good use of it,” said Kyalo.
Hard work and commitment propelled him to excellence in spite of poverty.
Without the support of his family, he said he would not have been able to withstand the peer pressure that led his friends to drop out of school.