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Poverty pushes A-plain boy to eke out a living as a Jua Kali artisan



He was to study medicine but since he could not raise the fees, he hopes he will get a place in aviation

As he steps into the dusty Jua kali garage to start his day, 22- year-old Moses Odour is like many of the artisans streaming into the open premises that specialises inpanel beating and spray painting.

Clad in a tattered grey dust coat splattered with paint and grease, a grey t-shirt, beige trousers and a pair of plastic sandals, Mr Oduor looks disturbed and in deep thought when the Sunday Nation team visits.

He is carrying a black bag. This is not an ordinary tool bag. The bag carries his hopes as it contains vital academic documents that put him in a class of his own.

The bag contains documents that separates him from the ordinary artisans at this dusty Jua Kali garage at Kabazi trading centre in Subukia constituency, Nakuru County.

The soft-spoken Oduor who hails from Anduro village in Alego Usonga constituency in Siaya County, is not your ordinary school dropout trying to eke out a living as a Jua Jali artisan.

It is when he opens his bag and displays his certificates with his oily hands that one is left speechless by his sterling performance in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination.

Mr Oduor wrote his KCSE exams at Sawagongo High School in Siaya County in 2015 and scored a mean grade of A plain with an impressive 81 points. He was among the 18 students at Sawagongo High School out of 257 who scored A plain that year.

He scored straight As in mathematics, biology, physics, chemistry, history and government and geography. He also managed an A minus in Kiswahili while in English, he scored B plus.

His bag also contains his school leaving certificate, two death certificates of his parents, his birth certificate and an introduction letter from assistant chief Joseph Aloo of Nyandiwa sub-location confirming that he is indeed an orphan who desperately needs help.

“Many people who are shocked when they see my sterling results wonder where my parents are. When I tell them I am an orphan they still don’t believe it, that is why I carry the death certificates to painfully prove my status,” explains Oduor.

“I was shocked that such brilliant brains are rotting in a Jua Kali garage. The government should not allow such a bright boy to suffer,” said Mr Joseph Mwangi Waithaka, a former MCA who learnt of his plight when he took his vehicle for repairs at the garage.

Mr Oduor says his father died in 2007 while he was in Standard Four while his mother died two years later. He was raised by his maternal grandmother Monica


He adds: “Many who come to this garage sympathise with me and photocopy the documents and take my telephone contacts with a promise of helping me realise my dreams of pursuing aviation course but unfortunately that has not changed since I came to this garage in June last year.”

He ekes out a living earning between Sh50 and Sh200 per day scrubbing vehicles that need a fresh coat of paint as his dreams remain unfulfilled.

“I was admitted to Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology to study medicine and surgery but my poor grandmother was unable to raise tuition fees and other overhead costs as her chang’aa brewing business was a daily hide and seek affair with police officers who raided her homestead,” he said.

As his hopes of joining university diminished by the day, he rekindled his childhood memories of pursuing aviation and this saw him write dozen applications to various aviation schools in Kenya and abroad, foundations such as Jomo Kenyatta Foundation and Kalonzo Musyoka Foundation among others but ended up receiving regrets.

“The foundations I wrote to said they don’t sponsor post-secondary schools students.”

However, this has not dampened his hopes and spirit of one day doing becoming a pilot.

”I love aviation. While growing up I admired Captain Luke Oyugi who was our neighbour. I felt happy when he landed a helicopter in the village and I vowed that when I grow up, I would like to be like him. He was my role model,” he recalls.

Captain Oyugi died on June 10, 2012 in a helicopter crash together with six government officials who included then Internal Security Minister George Saitoti and Assistant Minister Orwa Ojode.

His disturbing experience and continuous languishing in abject poverty and a hand to mouth job is daily trapping him into more poverty and he fears depression is slowly setting in.

“It pains me when I know my colleagues who cleared KCSE in 2015 are now doing their final year at the university yet I have no hope,” he explains as he wipes a tear with his greasy dusty coat.

Even performing additional odd jobs like washing cars at the garage, many are a time when he sleeps on empty stomach.


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SPONSORED: “Mahiga Homes” wins 2 coveted Real Estate Awards [VIDEO]



The Leading Real Estate Developer Mahiga homes Ltd won two major coveted awards in The Real Estate Excellence Awards, namely:

1. Best in off plan Residential Sales
2. Best low cost low rise Residential Developer.
This comes in the wake of being recognized internationally by being awarded The Leading Real Estate Brand 2019 by UK based ranking company Global Brand Awards.
This makes Mahiga homes Ltd the best company with the most Awards totaling to 7 since it started operations 2 years ago.

The previous awards are:
KPRA Awards
1. The Rockie of the Year 2018
2. Affordable Housing Initiative


Real Estate Excellence Awards 2018
1. Most Promising Residential Developer 2018
2. Best Low Cost Residential Developer 2018

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SPONSORED: Optiven Foundation feted for transforming lives across Kenya



Optiven Foundation has been feted for it’s role in transforming the society. This was at The Voice Awards held at the Louis Leakey auditorium in Parklands Nairobi on 16th August 2019. The event which was the first to be held in Kenya by it’s owners based in Netherlands, attracted a number of dignitaries and was officially addressed by the Deputy President Dr. William Ruto.

The award to Optiven Foundation was received by the Optiven Group General Manager, Mary Wacukah who is also a trustee of the Optiven Foundation. Speaking shortly after receiving the award Mrs. Wacukah “this award is a true reflection of what the foundation stands for which is to make a difference in the lives of the community.

” She commended all those who support the endeavors of the foundation which she noted has been a great input towards ensuring that the community we live in is a better place saying, “The Optiven Foundation is supported by Optiven Limited and well wishers who come together to ensure that our brothers and sisters live in dignity and their lives are transformed.

Truly when giving you do not just do it for the other person, but it also teaches us to be grateful for what we have.” While appreciated the trustees and philanthropists, she added that the foundation is wholly supported by Optiven Limited where 5% of all profits from real estate are used to cater for the myriad needs of the Optiven Foundation.


Mrs. Wacuka was accompanied at the event by the Chairman of Optiven Foundation, Mr. George Wachiuri, Ms. Jerusha Abasalom – the Diaspora Manager, top associates of Optiven Limited and who are also philanthropists in their own right Mr. James Mugo and Mr. John Owiro and Ms. Joyce Njambi, the team leader for the Optiven Foundation among others.

Ambassador Pastor Elvis Iruh, the founder of The Voice Magazine in the Netherlands and who partners with Moving Minds Africa to bring the award to Kenya congratulated the team from Optiven Foundation saying their impact in society cannot be underestimated. Ambassador Iruh further noted that the team from Optiven had been receipient of another award which was bestowed to the Chairman Mr. George Wachiuri in 2019 at the Le Koning Hotel at the Hague in the Netherlands in 2018.

He added that both Mr. Wachiuri and the Optiven Foundation had been leaving print marks in the lives of people across the world with the work they are doing in transforming lives through philanthropy. He singled out the efforts to renovate and rehabilitate children living at the Soweto Children’s Home in Kayole where the Optiven Foundation has built classrooms and dormitories as well as provided the daily needs for the children who are fully dependent on the foundation.

voice awards2

ABOVE: Partners visiting with the Optiven Foundation ahead of The Voice Awards ceremony at the Louis Leakey Auditorium on 16/8/2019

The Optiven Foundation works with the less fortunate in society in order to make their lives better.  Since it’s inception, the foundation has worked in the areas of environment, health and education among others. With key partnerships with different counties, the foundation has been involved with various cleanups including in Kajiado County and Nairobi County.

In adherence to the UN Millenium Development Goals, the Optiven Foundation has adapted environmentally friendly models on all it’s projects including use of biodigesters to save on water, afforestation to increase forest cover as well as participating in community projects that ensure sustainability. With regard to education, the Foundation launched the Soaring Eagles Program with the key mandate to provide opportunities for education for students who have challenges in paying for their education but are keen on performance.

Over the years, Optiven Foundation has given scholarships to students across the country and in every country. On matters health, the Optiven Foundation has provided support to communities through hosting medical camps, monetary support to cover health matters, civic education on the importance of insurance especially covering medical matters as well as community facilitation to persons living with disability. Through it’s Mobility that Brings Smiles campaign, Optiven Foundation has been able to partner with different associates to provide those living with disability with wheelchairs.

Through partnerships with individuals of good will, the foundation has since donated wheelchairs to deserving cases in Nairobi County, Nyeri County, Machakos County and Kiambu County. As the need for the said wheelchairs is immense the foundation is seeking partners to further spread the mobility that brings smiles through enabling persons living with disability to be able to be mobile.

To Support the Foundation Contact Us

Optiven Group Foundation
Head Office: 
Barclays Plaza, 14th Floor ,Wing A
Tel: +254 20 2484022, +254 718 776033

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US billionaire Jeffrey Epstein ‘signed will two days before killing himself’



Jeffrey Epstein signed a will two days before killing himself in his New York jail cell, US media reports say.

Court papers filed last week in the US Virgin Islands valued Epstein’s estate at more than $577 million (Sh58 billion) but listed no details of beneficiaries, the Associated Press reported.

The will, details of which were first reported by the New York Post, directs Epstein’s assets to be put into trust.

Epstein died while awaiting trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.

The New York medical examiner found that the 66-year-old, whose body was discovered on August 10, died of “suicide by hanging”.

Epstein pleaded not guilty to the charges against him and was being held without bail. He faced up to 45 years in prison if convicted.

The former financier put all of his holdings into a trust called The 1953 Trust, according to a copy of the will published by the New York Post. He signed the document on August 8.

No details of any beneficiaries are included in the document, which lists assets including more than $56 million (Sh5.6 billion) in cash, more than $14 million (Sh1.4 billion) in fixed income investments and more than $18 million (Sh1.8 billion) in “aviation assets, automobiles and boats”.

Epstein’s collection of fine arts, antiques and other valuables is yet to be appraised, the document says.

Some of Epstein’s alleged victims have said they will go after his assets for damages following his death.

Reports about Epstein’s will came as US Attorney General William Barr announced a major leadership shake-up at the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). The acting chief, Hugh Hurwitz, was removed and former BOP director Kathleen Hawk Sawyer named as his replacement.

“Under Dr Hawk Sawyer’s previous tenure at the Bureau, she led the agency with excellence, innovation, and efficiency, receiving numerous awards for her outstanding leadership,” Mr Barr said in a statement.

He also named former agency official Thomas Kane as her deputy.

New York-born Epstein worked as a teacher before moving into finance. Prior to the criminal cases against him, he was best known for his wealth and high-profile connections.

He was often seen socialising with the rich and powerful, including US President Donald Trump, former President Bill Clinton and the UK’s Prince Andrew.

In a 2002 profile in New York Magazine, Mr Trump referred to Epstein as a “terrific guy”. But in comments this year, Mr Trump said that he was “not a fan of Jeffrey Epstein”.

What was Epstein charged with?

Epstein was accused of paying girls under the age of 18 to perform sex acts at his Manhattan and Florida mansions between 2002 and 2005.

He was arrested on July 6 after landing in New Jersey on his private jet. He avoided similar charges in a controversial secret plea deal in 2008, and instead pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

That plea deal was closely scrutinised in recent weeks and, last month, US Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resigned over his role in it.

Prosecutors also accused Epstein of paying large amounts of money to two potential witnesses ahead of his trial, which was scheduled to take place next year.


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