Masibo Lumala (PhD 2007) was awarded an Alumni Laureate Award in 2009 for his work to establish a primary school in his home town in Kenya. Peter Masibo Lumala completed his PhD in 2007 under the supervision of Professor Ron Carter and John McRae and returned to his home in Kenya shortly afterwards to use the skills and experience he gained in English Language at Nottingham. On returning to his home village, he found the community vastly changed and suffering from the effects of poverty and the impact of HIV/AIDS. A large number of orphaned children were no longer going to school, so Masibo and his wife decided to convert their home into a charitable school for children: the Upendo Junior School.
'Upendo' means 'love' in Swahili and, in Masibo's own words, the school aims to provide "quality education starting from pre-primary level to the highest level possible for orphaned children, a loving and caring environment for the children to grow into mature and responsible citizens with good self esteem, a roof over their heads, three meals a day, clothing and learning materials". In 2009, there were 713 families camping at local churches in the area and over 1000 vulnerable children in the village. 70 children aged between 4-11 attended the Upendo Junior School.
Masibo visited Nottingham in 2009 to finalise the arrangements to set up a twinning programme with Wadsworth Fields Primary School, Stapleford under the Department for International Development (British Council) Global Partnerships Programme. The first teachers from Nottingham went to Kenya in the summer of 2009 as part of a curriculum awareness raising programme.
Emails from Masibo over the last two years have documented his work to keep his junior school running in the face of poverty, HIV/AIDS, political unrest and financial instability. His latest email was as positive as ever and reported that they have been campaigning for "freedom from hunger" and the school currently has enough food to last for the next two months. As a result, they are now fund raising to hire land, buy fertilizer and seeds so that they can plant their own food crops.
It is for these reasons that Masibo Lumala was nominated by the School for an Alumni Laureate Award. The Award acknowledges the huge contribution he has made, and will continue to make, to the lives of the children in his village. We hope this recognition from the University will help Masibo with his fund raising and twinning initiatives both in Kenya and in the UK.
The School of English now fund-raises for Masibo and Upendo School. Information about our fundraising activities is on our Upendo webpage.
Watch Masibo Lumala receive the Alumni Laureate Award here.
Posted on Wednesday 7th July 2021