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          Living The 4Cs: Zeitz Foundation Scholarships Have Come of Age

          Sebastian Lekurtut

             He saw airplanes and got fascinated. The moment he realised that it is actual people flying them, he knew he wanted to become a pilot in future. The countdown is on. “When I joined primary school, it was to fulfill my dream but some students in my school and community members would tease me about my age, I was 11 years old when I joined Class 1,” says Sebastian Lekurtut, a 16 year old lad from Sukutan village, north of Segera.“Now, I thank God that through the Zeitz Foundation Bursary Scheme, other children from my village will learn to never lose hope, work hard and become even more determined notwithstanding the challenges they face.”

             A decade ago the Kenya government announced the start of universal free primary education. Although millions of children did get to school, a large number of children still drop out due to societal challenges like poverty, migration, inter- ethnic clashes, drought and other climate-related challenges. Today, undoubtedly, more people have realized that education still remains a fundamental solution to break the cycle of poverty and entrenched negative cultural practices. It is this desire to break from this cycle of poverty that Sebastian had but could not fulfill. It was almost an impossible task for his family. “There was no-one to look after our livestock and my poor mother could not afford to put me through school,” says Sebastian.

             It was until 2011, after his brother got a job with Zeitz Foundation as a community wildlife scout that his dreams started taking shape. John, his elder sibling, could now afford to pay his fees. And he did not disappoint when he finally landed in school. He convinced his teachers to admit him even though he had not attended pre-school. The thirst he had for education and determination shocked his teachers, family and friends. In his first ever exam, he came top 5 of the class. In his second exam scored 469 marks ascending to first position in 2011 end of term examinations. In one year He was promoted from Class1 to class 3. In 2013, he only attended class 5 for one term before proceeding to class 6. He topped the class and led all the way until he sat for his final primary school exam at Matigari Primary School where he scored 395 marks out of 500.

             All this was not easy, “as a pastoralist you will never get time to study, so whenever I took goats to graze, I always carried my books to read and at night read with the aid of a torch,” he says. That mark was good enough for him to be admitted to Maranda High School, one of the top schools in the Kenya. Thanks to the Zeitz Foundation and generous support from friends of the Foundation, Sebastian will be on his way to achieving his dream of being a pilot. He joined to Maranda High School, one of the top schools in the Country and going by his past performance, we won’t be surprised if in a number of years Captain Sebastian Lekurtut welcomes us to a Dream liner!

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