How a young man with very little now makes big difference

When Isaac Macharia won a partial scholarship to study at the Kenya Power Training School in Ruaraka, he would run from Uthiru to Kipande Road, freshen up and hop into a matatu to college.

In the evening he would take another matatu to Kipande Road, pick up his clothes and jog all the way back to Uthiru, where he was staying with a friend. “I could only afford the return fare of Sh20,” says the soft-spoken, almost shy Mr Macharia.

Today, Mr Macharia runs a school for disadvantaged children in Kibiko, Ngong.

“I pledged to myself that when I am financially settled, I would want to give back to society and assist children who are faced with the difficulties I suffered when I was growing up,” explains Mr Macharia, who spent half of his time outside school in search of school fees.

He is the very exemplification of someone who turns adversity into opportunity. Though his daily jogs to and from college were a means to an end, the experience came in handy when an opportunity to participate in a charity race, organised by Amref, arose.

“I finished top three and with it came an opportunity to fly to Austria,” he recalls. That was in 2001.

With his new status as an athlete, Mr Macharia soon started participating in Athletics Kenya organised meets, got himself a manager and was soon travelling all over the world to take place in major international races.

His best shot was when he came second to Haile Gebrselassie at the Dubai Full Marathon, recording a personal best time of 2 hours 7 minutes.

With some of his earnings, Mr Macharia bought several pieces of land, including a three-acre plot in Kibiku, Ngong where Kenswed School currently stands.

The 35-year-old who is still an active long distance runner has also dabbled in coaching and mentoring young athletes.

“I have just returned from Japan where I took a 16-year-old boy, who I helped secure an athletics scholarship,” he says.

As soon as an income from his athletics started flowing in, Mr Macharia started paying school fees for disadvantaged children from his home area, Nyahururu.

Kenswed stands for Kenya and Sweden. His partners come from Sweden.

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