Dubai: Peter Tabichi, the Kenyan science teacher who was awarded with the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize in Dubai earlier this year, started his tour of America this week by meeting US President Donald Trump in the White House on Monday.
He also met with leaders of the World Bank on Monday and, on Tuesday, he was granted the honour of opening the US Congress with a prayer.
Later in the week he will also meet with tech giants in Silicon Valley, including Google and Facebook, before speaking at the United Nations in New York, as he asks for those in power to support science learning among youth in Africa.
During the tour he will meet with politicians, business leaders and philantropists, and ask them to help Africa’s youth solve urgent problems on their doorstep such as; climate change, drought, food insecurity and disease prevention.
Tabichi will stress that America not only has a moral duty to do this but that it is also in their own self interests to help Africa develop their science and technology base.
“The fates of America and Africa are entwined,” said Tabichi.
“The same global forces that have seen wildfires and extreme weather events ravage the US have brought droughts and crop failure to my own community, forcing my students to come to school hungry. Today’s African refugees from climate change, war and hardship will be tomorrow’s migrants on America’s doorstep. It is Africa that supplies the cobalt, mined at high human cost, that powers the smartphones that underpin US corporate connectivity.
“It is not enough for western governments and companies to provide aid to alleviate the hardships faced in the Global South,” he added.
“They must also help Africa produce homegrown scientific talent who will come up with fresh solutions from fresh perspectives that can only be cultivated at the coalface.”
Gave 80% of salary to poor
Tabichi gives 80 per cent of his salary to the poor in his community and champions the cause of 75 million children whose education is disrupted by conflict and natural disaster.
He will also attend the 2019 UN General Assembly while in New York.
Sunny Varkey, Founder of the Varkey Foundation, said: “Teachers hold the future of our world in their hands through the young minds they nurture. That’s why, through the Global Teacher Prize, we strive every day to shine a spotlight on teachers and their enormous power to transform lives.”
Tabichi was awarded the Global Teacher Prize in Dubai in March hosted by Wolverine actor Hugh Jackman.
He teaches in Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in Pwani Village in a remote part of Kenya’s Rift Valley.
Ninety five per cent of his students hail from poor families and a third are orphans or have only one parent, and may go without food at home.
Drug abuse, teen pregnancies, early drop outs, young marriage and suicide are common.
Undeterred Tabichi started a Science Club, and now 60 per cent of their projects qualify for national competitions. His students, who had never been on a plane before, even went on to win the UN Sustainable Development Goal Award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Phoenix, Arizona, this year.
Despite teaching in a school with only one desktop computer with an intermittent internet connection, Peter uses ICT in 80 per cent of his lessons to engage students, visiting internet cafes and caching online content to be used offline in class.