If you have been following our blog for awhile, you will know that Bryan blogs for us faithfully every Tuesday. I never have to remind him - but every week there is a new blog post and images in my inbox like clockwork. Even though he was in his final year of university and all through his exams.
Some of you may be curious how we got connected with Bryan. On social media, I kept seeing posts about Kibera that caught my eye. Images and words that captured what daily life was like in Kibera - from an insiders perspective. This really intrigued me. As a photographer, I was impressed by the images. But as a lover of Kenya - it was so incredible to see these insights into daily life. I reached out to Bryan - and asked him if he would be interested in blogging for us. To share with our readers each week. He was quick to respond "yes"!
Today, is Bryan's last day of university. Even though Bryan and I have never met face to face (yet) - I feel a bond and we are all so proud of his accomplishments! Just this week, Bryan blogged about the importance of education - and so we especially want to celebrate this huge milestone in his life! We wanted to take a minute to highlight Bryan and his story. Please take a minute to read it, be inspired and leave him a note of encouragement!
Bryan is completing his journalism degree. How did you choose journalism to study?
Initially I wanted to be a doctor, that’s every child’s dream in a place I grew up. But as time went by I realize that’s not my path and that I could study something else which I had in mind, and it was journalism, in fact it is passion that drove me to this course, nothing else. I had this in-depth passion of telling stories and writing articles all the way from high school when I was in press club. This is a career course that was now becoming evident in my life and I knew I wanted to be a journalist because again I live in Kibera where every day I used to see a lot of stories that really required attention and people to hear and read, as time went by I ventured into taking photos with a phone camera before buying a Coolpix for the same. I built on photography and the kind of photos I was taking were mainly for news reportage, but then I had nowhere to take them, they would just add up on my memory card. I branded myself as a photojournalist (with no accreditation or identification) and would later on start taking photos of Kibera and posting them on Facebook, on a page I had created called Stories from Kibera with an aim of simply telling stories from Kibera. From then the interest in journalism grew stronger and stronger and would spend hours on YouTube watching documentary stories from people like Ross Kemp and constantly viewing photos of greats like Boniface Mwangi. I knew journalism was my thing, nothing else. The passion just grew.
What are your goals after finishing school?
I have a lot in mind, the fact that I have gone to the university is already a qualification that my goals are on the right track, and I have to look for something to do that goes hand in hand with my career course while still awaiting graduation in December, during this period I want to tell more stories from Kibera through my photos because am very hopeful that through those photos, something good will come up. I also want to raise the name of KiberaAID (a community based organization that was born out of the photos I was taking and posting on Facebook). Through KiberaAID my goal is to get all likeminded people who are so much willing to join hands and help the kids of Kibera slum in any way possible. Through this we can achieve much more.
What have been your struggles in pursuing education?
I’ve grown up with a hardworking mother and she’s the core foundation of where I have reached with education. My mum has struggled a lot to see me and my siblings through school. I am the first born with a brother and a sister both in high school. I grew up with both parents but father has always been a drunkard and a headache to mum, and most kids in Kibera would experience the same, fathers have failed us a lot, because these are people who would drink to their death more than water bills forgetting they have a family to take care of. Mum always struggled with paying school fees for my siblings because I was lucky enough to find a sponsor who would see me through Upper Hill School but dropped the moment I cleared high school, even at this very moment my brother still is till at home because of school fees issues. That’s a problem many people would face. School fees was the only problem even in the university, all the other things I could sort myself, but I thank God I made it through. Let me just say am one of the luckiest people around.
What is your dream for the future?
I want to be a very successful photojournalist. I want to stretch my journalistic approach and wings past Kibera. I want to travel far and wide taking photos and telling stories from different places and from different people. Those are my long term dreams and ambitions for the future. I want to develop myself while also developing the lives of other people. To live an impact in other people’s lives. In doing all that I want to get out of the slum and into the city that would be an achievement. Every child’s dream is to get out of the slum and live a much better life away from all the devastation that lies in Kibera. I want to picture my life the way I want it to be and possibly achieve my dreams by the age of 25. I’ve grown through a lot. Some I cannot just type and I wouldn’t want to see other people go through the same. These are common problems that face each and every slum dweller but only brains can get you out of all these misfortunes.
If you are interested in supporting Bryan's efforts in making a difference in Kibera - may we suggest supporting his Indiegogo campaign for KiberaAid here! Love the idea of someone rising up as a leader, like Bryan, in their own community and making a difference! (Please note if you do donate - it is in Euros when you type in an amount - you can easily convert it HERE)
Some of our favourite images of Bryan's - you really should follow him on Instagram HERE...
Thank you Bryan for all you do! We are so proud to work alongside you!