My Favorite Kenyan

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I know, I shouldn’t say who my favorite is, but if you knew Festus, you would agree. Festus Muendo is the Head Teacher at New Hope Academy, the primary school that NHI supports in Kibera. Festus is not only a great educator, he cares deeply about people, and he loves to laugh. If you know me, you know the laughter part is probably what draws me to him.
Festus is the local NHI leader that I work with the most. He works tirelessly and is always striving to better himself as a leader and better the school and NHI projects for the good of the people. I thought I’d let him tell you about himself and his leadership through a short interview I conducted with him last week.
Q: How long have you worked for NHI and what position did you start in?
I have worked at the school for 10 years. At that time, it was called Bible Baptist. I was hired as the class 3 teacher when Pastor Simon learned I had taught Sunday School. The school was smaller then, I only had 23 students in my class. The facilities were poor, classrooms were very much squeezed. We had buildings made of mud walls and there was no playground – just a path to move from one class to another. Teachers were not trained.
Q: Why did you become a teacher?
I had the passion for the kids.
 
Q: Who has been the most influential leader in your life and why?
Personally, my mother has had the greatest influence in my life. She taught me how to fear God and gave me a spiritual foundation. 
Professionally, Sandy and Karen Baird and their family have influenced my leadership by giving order and structure to our projects and teaching me how to better support our projects, staff and students. Also, Chris Gitonga has influenced my leadership in operations and making things better. Chris is always striving for improvement of our facilities and projects. Lauren has influenced my management style at the school. And, Pastor Simon has been a big influence on spiritual matters in my life.
 
Q: How do you define leadership?
To me, leadership is being able to convince people who are not willing to follow you, to follow you. If no one is following you, you are not a leader. It is also being a servant to many. 
Q: What are your hopes and dreams for New Hope Academy?
My dream for NHA is to see 100% of our students pass the KCPE and go onto high school. I would like for New Hope Academy to expand one day and provide high school for our students. Ultimately, I hope these students will return to serve Kibera in the future and become examples of leadership to their community. My big dream is for 2000 students from New Hope Academy to get scholarships and complete college.
Q: Anything else you want to tell my blog readers?
Thank you to our NHI sponsors and all those who support New Hope financially and on the ground. I would love to see more people come help us here in Kenya like Lauren. We are very happy and grateful for the support we receive. Your ministry is real and you are touching lives in Kibera and through that, many people are being blessed.
Festus and his teaching staff at New Hope Academy

Festus and his teaching staff at New Hope Academy

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