Letter of our chairperson

When you grow up in a rural village in Kenya, you don’t know any better. When you need water, you walk to a nearby river, or borehole. When you want to cook, you need firewood, so you walk to the forest to search for this. And when you go to school in the morning, you have to walk for about one hour to the closest primary school in the area. All the kids from your village and the neighboring villages go there. So the classrooms are quickly filled, with more than 70 kids per class.

When you need a hospital, you can often find a health clinic nearby, but it doesn’t have much facilities. Most of the time there are no doctors, only nurses. So when it’s serious, and you can get transport, you will go to a hospital in the big town. But not everyone is able to do that and sometimes the situation is life threatening, so every minute counts.

I lived in Kenya till the age of 20 and I was happy there. According to Western standards, life was hard, but I didn’t know any better. When I came from school, there was no time to study, because I had to assist in housekeeping (collect firewood and water). Fortunately I had a friend, whose father had a good job. She was able to buy text books that my family could not afford. So every afternoon, when school was out, I used to stay close to my friend and study with her. Partly because of this, I got good results and was admitted at a good high school, just like 5 others from my class. However, most of my classmates in primary school never continued their education.

After high school I started running, because I heard that it was possible to get a scholarship for an American University if you were a good student ánd could run. So, that became my goal. My father is a forest guard and his salary of 5000 Ksh (about 60 USD) per month, was enough to get a loan to pay for my high school fees. However, it was by far not enough to pay for university. While I got the scholarship, I also met the Dutch athlete Hugo van den Broek. He persuaded me not to go to America, but instead to follow him to The Netherlands and study physiotherapy there.

After I graduated (in 2004), I quickly improved as a runner and was able to run on a world-class level. Since then I am a professional runner. However, in the future I would like to be a physiotherapist in Kenya – where there is a great lack of physiotherapists – so that I can help the people in Kenya.

I realize that I have been very lucky. Whenever I return to the village where I grew up, I meet most of my age mates there. They have not been able to go to school, and are still stuck in the village life. That life is nice when you grow up and have the freedom to play outside, but it’s not that nice when you are an adult. There are no jobs, there is no money, and there is a lot of alcoholism and many other problems.

Through Kibet4Kids I hope to be able to do something for the youth of today. By creating better conditions in the field of education, so that students don’t have to study in overcrowded rooms and can get better results. So that more of them will be able to further their education. By creating better medical and paramedical facilities, so that lives can be saved and more conditions can be treated.

I want to create a better future for Kenya.

Would you like to help me?

Hilda Kibet
Chairperson and founder of Kibet4Kids



The Kibet family