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5/10/2024 Kenya (International Christian Concern) — As Joseph Matei walked through the bustling campus of Maseno University in Kenya recently, his presence exuded a quiet strength developed from overcoming adversity. With each step, he carried the weight of his past and embraced the promise of his future. 

“When I reflect on my journey, it’s woven with threads of adversity, resilience, and unwavering determination,” Matei said. “My father’s untimely passing during my eighth-grade year, amidst the turmoil of a village terror attack in Pandanguo, cast a shadow over our family’s future. The pain of loss was compounded by the uncertainty it brought, especially with my Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams looming ahead.” 

Safety concerns prompted his family’s move to Witu, uprooting him from his surroundings. Out of necessity, he enrolled in Witu Primary School, which offered stability amidst the chaos. Matei said the transition brought challenges, both emotional and practical.  

“Coping with grief while preparing for crucial exams tested my resilience in ways I never imagined,” he added.  

Once he completed the exam, he felt relief and apprehension.  

“While I had performed well, securing a path for my education seemed impossible without my father’s guidance and support,” he said. “Little did I know, a beacon of hope was about to shine through the darkness.  

In 2017, International Christian Concern (ICC) sponsored Matei’s education.  

“ICC illuminated our path forward,” he said. “This divine intervention provided the financial lifeline needed to navigate the complexities of high school education. With tuition fees covered, I could focus wholeheartedly on my studies. The burden of financial worries lifted, replaced by a newfound sense of gratitude and determination.” 

The scholarship helped transform Matei’s education, but it also helped develop his skillset and character. He learned the values of responsibility and sacrificial giving, which stirred his resilience in the face of adversity.  

“I went through high school with a sense of purpose and determination,” he said. “The grades I attained were not merely academic milestones but symbols of resilience and perseverance. They opened doors to a realm of possibilities previously beyond reach, marking a historic moment for my family.” 

Having completed high school and hope for further education seeming distant, Matei clung to the belief that God would pave a way. 

“Becoming the first member of my family to attend university is a privilege I do not take lightly,” he said. “It’s a testament to the resilience instilled in me by my late father and the unwavering support of my sponsors. Yet, with this privilege comes a profound sense of responsibility, not only to myself but also to my family and community. As I navigate the uncharted waters of higher education, I am guided by one purpose: to bring about positive change, both in my own life and in the lives of those around me. My academic goals extend beyond the pursuit of knowledge; they include a desire to make a meaningful impact, to uplift others, and to honor the sacrifices made on my behalf.” 

As Matei embarks on this new chapter of his journey, he does so with a sense of purpose and determination. Armed with a thirst for knowledge and a passion for change, he is poised to have a lasting influence on the world around him. 

“In this journey of self-discovery and growth, I am mindful of the need for mentorship and guidance. While the loss of my father left a void in my life, I am determined to seek out male figures who can offer support and wisdom, serving as pillars of strength in my quest for success,” he said. “In essence, my story is one of resilience, gratitude, and determination. It’s a testament to the human spirit’s capacity to endure, overcome, and thrive in the face of adversity. As I chart a course towards a brighter future, I do so with humility, gratitude, and an unwavering belief in the power of education to transform lives.”

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