Born in remote Turkana County in north-western┬áKenya, Josphat is one of nine children. Facing drought┬áand ongoing tribal conflicts, Josphat’s family moved┬áto Baringo County. When Josphat began class 1, his┬áfather left. As a result, Josphat could not attend school┬áand began working to help his mother feed the family.
Josphat remembers buying milk from farmers and┬ácollecting wood from the forest in order to sell to nearby┬áplantations as well as serving water in restaurants to try┬áto earn money for his family. ┬áWhen his eldest brother became a teacher, Josphat was┬áable to return to school. Despite having missed two┬áterms, Josphat completed class 1 at the top of his class┬áand held his spot through class 8, receiving a score of┬á395 on the KCPE.
He learned about Wings to Fly from his brother’s wife,┬áwho traveled to a neighboring town to get an application.
Josphat applied, and when he was accepted, his mother┬ácelebrated by cooking a chicken. Josphat couldn’t┬áremember the last time the family had eaten chicken.
In January 2012, Josphat joined 2,144 scholars at┬áthe Wings to Fly induction and commissioning. He
remembers: “I met children who had experienced some of the┬ásame challenges; some children had stories that were
even sadder than my own. At the same time, I met┬ápeople who had struggled in life, but had succeeded┬áand become stars. I learned not to be ashamed of my┬ábackground. It gave me hope that even though I had a┬áchallenging past, I could still have a brighter future.”
Josphat enrolled in Lenana School, and over the last four┬áyears he has excelled as a student and leader. Josphat
was voted School Captain, receiving 96% of his school’s┬ávotes. He credits the annual Congresses for teaching him
how to lead. He remembers: “The Leadership Congresses transformed me┬áand my leadership. Before I thought a leader had┬áto be very authoritarian, like a dictator. Now I see┬áleadership as a conversation. I learned that as a leader,
I shouldnÔÇÖt command people, but instead listen to┬áknow their problems and work with them to solve┬áproblems. When I lead, I learned to leave room so that┬áeveryone can chip in to solve a problem.”
In 2014, Josphat wrote his first book, a revision manual┬áfor chemistry, titled Precise et Revisia Manual, and he┬áalso teaches chemistry, mathematics, and physics nightly.┬áSmiling, he says, “The Form 1 and 2 students call me┬áMwalimu,” which means teacher in Swahili. He explains┬áthat he wrote the manual and teaches because ‘I never
felt good seeing my peers suffer in a subject. I felt it was┬ámy duty to make sure everyone is ok.”
Josphat wants to study law at Harvard University. He┬ásays that he loves science, but “my passion to help others
drives me to law. I want to know the law well, so I can┬áfight against injustice. I want to be a person who brings┬áchange to the world.” Josphat recently learned that he┬áhas been accepted into the African Leadership Academy┬áin South Africa, where he will take the next steps toward┬áachieving his dreams.