If you are new to our blog - we are thrilled to have Bryan, a lifelong resident of Kibera, Kenya - blog for us regularly. We were thrilled to hear that a photo of his recently won an international contest. CONGRATULATIONS!
Bryan is a perfect example of "JustOne" person making a difference using what he has! Way to go, Bryan! You continually make us proud! Here he shares in his own words...
In late August a friend sent me a link to an online photo contest, the competition was global and open to anyone on Facebook and Instagram. The rules were pretty simple, just take a great photo with a nice story and tag it under the banner of #BeTheChange2015 and that was all. It was all organized by Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung (DSW) a worldwide nongovernment organization to celebrate the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in New York. About a week into the competition, my photos were being selected among the daily favourites - it meant a lot - two weeks later my photo was selected photo of the week - this was shortlisted into the finals. The overall winner was to be announced at the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals in New York. On 28th September, I saw a tweet stating that I had won the global contest, this was in the mid afternoon, I was up to my knees, all jovial and thanking God for this win - walking away with a Canon camera worth 1000$; which was the grand prize in a contest that had attracted over 1000 global entries. I felt really special at some point. This was a dream come true.
The winning photo was of a young boy called James, 7 years old and studying in Olympic Primary School. In the photo he was all alone, studying really hard inside an empty classroom, his classmates had sorted not to come to school after a government directive to close all public schools indefinitely. Despite all the factors surrounding us, there is always a way out, lying deep within us - all in the mind. Like James he would have decided to stay at home and play soccer, but he knows what's best, for him education rules. Change lies within us. It's either we do it or not.
I was ten when I started experiencing the true potential of a teachers strike in Kenya, it was the time when the government has ordered free primary education in all public schools and some teachers wouldn't buy that - they wanted a pay increment. Now let me take you back to the board. A teachers strike can happen in many ways, for instance teachers can decide to go on a go-slow and never teach, in most cases they would sort to stay at home, all in the plight of demanding for a pay increase. This is something that has been recurring in the Kenya education for several years now, as a matter of fact, it happens at the beginning of every academic term.
This year the strike took a different stance, teachers wanted a 50 - 60% pay increment but the government stood by their stand and despite all the court orders refused to give the pay, teachers became furious and for five weeks the education system in Kenya was in absolute crisis before negotiations were made - something that the government and teachers are usually prone to.
Bryan Jaybee was born and raised in Kibera slums where he still resides. He is 22 years old and a journalism student at Multimedia University of Kenya, currently in his final year. Bryan will be sharing an insider’s view on life in Kibera every Tuesday on our blog with his photos and words. You can follow Bryan on instagram at @kiberastories for daily posts on life in Kibera.