This is a story of a hero of the mind, James Musyoka, who comes from Wamunyu village. There is a saying that if you want to hide something from a Kenyan, hide it in books! It highlights a general lack of interest in reading books! Well, the saying could be a stereo type, but we can’t deny that there is some truth in it. But that statement is not true for the small village of Wamunyu, in Machakos County, because there, we have a village that reads! Against all odds, James has transformed this seemingly ordinary village into a community that embraces reading, providing its residents with intellectual fitness and exposure to the wider world. James’s impact over the past 22 years in Wamunyu has been nothing short of life-changing.
James believes that change begins from the mind and in his quest to see a brighter and better world for Kenyan people, coupled with the love for his community and the desire to connect the children of Kenya to the rest of the world, he birthed an organization called Kenya Connect, which has been changing the lives and the livelihoods of thousands of people across generations in Wamunyu village since 2002. James, who have had many opportunities to perhaps go enjoy living in a modern city with a lot of facilities and convenience, has chosen to live in the village with his family and make a significant contribution in transforming his village one life at a time, through education related programs.
It has been a long journey, with a lot of challenges in between, but for the last 22 years, James has kept the vision of making a difference in the lives of people of Wamunyu village alive by empowering their mind. He has been able to build a formidable team that work with him and make the dream work. He also has managed to create networks of partners and well-wishers that have bought into his vision and supported the life changing work of Kenya Connect.
From creating reading clubs in schools; to creating reading challenge where students read 25 books in 3 months; to empowering women and mothers through economic empowerment activities as well as creating reading, writing and storytelling programs which has improved communication between parents and children; to having Saturday Story Telling sessions for different age groups to empower their public speaking skills, confidence and self-expression; to having a Radio Read Aloud program through a local radio, which comes in very handy since many families in the rural areas have no access to televisions, electricity or internet. to the Community Library, with over 40,000 select books, that is available not just for the Village members of Wamunyu but to the neighbouring villages and many more!
The work that Kenya Connect is doing under the leadership of James Musyoka, is simply incredible! Wamunyu village could be like any other forgotten village somewhere in Kenya, but James has put Wamunyu village on the global map!
This journey has not been easy for Mr James Musyoka. Literacy is an expensive endeavor. He has had to spend a lot of time and sacrificed himself fully for this initiative. There is no question that James, giving 22 of his most energetic and productive age, for the public good at Wamunyu village, means taking a huge risk of foregoing the opportunity to establish a foundation for his future personal financial stability. He has, courageously, taken all that he is, all that he has, all his energy, knowledge and skills, not to build his private business and focus on securing his future and that of his family, but to make sure that Wamunyu village is transformed. That takes absolute unselfishness, courage, consistency, commitment, dedication and integrity.
This initiative has evidently led to the improvement of the literacy levels of the Wamunyu village members. Many of Wamunyu village members are now able to communicate better and connect with each other in ways that they couldn’t do before. The local Schools in Wamunyu village have witnessed and recorded better performance in national examinations. Students that take part in the different programs have shown immense improvement in their learning capabilities in class. Parents can now connect better with their children and students are gaining more confidence and courage to connect well with the world.
We at Bridges of peace Initiatives in partnership with Giraffe Heroes International acknowledge you Mr. James Musyoka. We see you. We acknowledge your efforts, sacrifice and commitment to turn Wamunyu village into a bright, better, beautiful and hopeful village. May your determination, passion and the unquenchable desire to see a difference in the lives of people continue to shine in your heart.
Thank you for sticking your neck out for the public good. James Musyoka, you are a hero, not just in Wamunyu village, but also in Kenya, and the world at large! We honour and celebrate you!
If only, we could get more James Musyoka’s in Kenya!