US President Barack Obama’s grandmother Sarah Obama, is on a mission to mobilize resources and improve livelihoods.
The Mama Sarah Obama Foundation (MSOF) seeks to change lives through the construction of an Early Childhood Development Centre, rehabilitation of Senator Barack Obama Primary and secondary schools, construction of a health clinic and development of a vocational skills centre.
Speaking during the launch of the foundation at Kempinski Hotel, Nairobi on Thursday, Mama Sarah reiterated that even though she never went to school, she understands the value of education.
It pains me when children do not get an education and are left in the streets to beg. This is a job I do without a salary. I never went to school but I like school and that is why I taught the father of the most powerful man in the world,” she said.
The 94-year-old grandmother’s mission is to improve the education and welfare of disenfranchised children in order to help them successfully achieve their goals and have a better future.
“I want to build a school for the children of Kenya. They are smart. I want children to get good education even though I never stepped into a classroom. Education is life, if somebody holds a pen, they will do well and are assured of bright future,” she said.
Her legacy plan seeks to engage and empower local communities to invest in the futures of their children starting from birth, by collectively participating as key community stakeholders.
The Mama Sarah Obama Foundation helps approximately 100 children with food, tuition assistance, and other basic supplies annually. She was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from the Great Lakes University for her work.
Standard Group CEO Sam Shollei lauded Mama Sarah’s initiatives for changing her community and the country by helping others selflessly. He expressed his admiration for the humble work she has begun.
“We should all emulate Mama Sarah’s work to transform Kenya. Nobody but us will transform our country. If we do not make a difference, then who will?” Shollei posed.
Mama Sarah also honoured Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Kenya, Nardos Bekele-Thomas, for her dedication to the empowerment of women and youth through programmes that provide meaningful opportunities for people in all corners of the globe. Nardos praised the grandmother for her exemplary efforts in caring for the orphans and needy children by transforming their lives to be productive and meaningful.
“You have shown us the way to be giving, sharing and bring so much happiness and satisfaction. You are a leading example and I wish to see many hearts transformed through Mama Sarah Foundation,” she said.
Former envoy to the US Elkanah Odembo, a member of the steering committee, noted that the legacy plan reflects the dreams of Mama Sarah. “Granny talks about the education of children doesn’t start from class one. She says they must be nurtured, taken care off before they go to school and also wants to make sure youths have a first class vocational training so that they can be productive citizens,” he said.
The foundation was established after years of hard work helping orphans and poverty-stricken families feed and educate their children.