Hesbon Mwangi '12

Hesbon Mwangi ’12

As a child growing up in Ruiru, Kenya, Hesbon “Hezzy” Mwangi ’12, struggled to stay in school due to lack of funds and resources, but possessed a solid work ethic and strong determination to complete his education. That’s why it’s so amazing that, in 2008, he was able to move to the United States to study at Bethel College, thanks to a soccer scholarship. He went on to pursue an MBA at Robert Morris University in Chicago, Ill.

“I was able to come to Bethel and receive an education because of the soccer scholarship, and I see the great value in getting an education,” he says. “I want to help others to have that same opportunity.”

Mwangi’s time at Bethel left a deep impression on him. He says he considers himself privileged to have received such a quality education and that he wants to make a difference for children back in Kenya by providing books and materials that will promote their education. That’s why he started “The Favorite Book” project.

“Each kid has a favorite subject, and it would be appropriate to promote what they enjoy learning at school,” Mwangi wrote on his GoFundMe page. “Their favorite subjects are based on their future ambitions and we should invigorate their passion, hence solidify their foundation for achieving their future goals.”

Children at The Children's Center in Kenya show off books received through the "Favorite Book Project."

Children at The Children’s Center in Kenya show off books received through the “Favorite Book Project.”

Education remains a challenge for many children in Kenya, and Mwangi hopes to make a difference in the lives of young students by providing them with some of the necessary supplies and resources, beginning with textbooks on their favorite subjects.

So far, “The Favorite Book” project has benefited 70 children living in the Children’s Care Center – a home for children in Ruiru, many of whom lost their parents and relatives in 2007 post-election tribal clashes in Kenya. The project has provided each child with one textbook in their favorite subject, as well as six notebooks, three pens, three pencils, two erasers and items to meet other needs.

“I know with our generous hearts we can provide textbooks, notebooks, new uniforms, pens, pencils, erasers, fees and many [sic] more,” he wrote on the campaign page, “but let’s start by promoting their passion and gradually do more later.”

Within nine days of opening his fundraising campaign, Mwangi exceeded his initial goal of $1,000, and has raised $1,155 to date.

Many have donated to the cause or helped spread the word. The GoFundMe page is still open for donations; however, several individuals have begun collecting used books to donate. Mwangi plans to continue raising support through an annual “Favorite Book” fundraiser, but is thrilled to see the momentum this project has gained.

“Bethel is a really special place,” he said. “This project was made possible by the generosity of many people, and the connections I had made at Bethel and in other places helped me to be able to raise the money.”

If you’d like to learn how to help students like Mwangi receive scholarships and become difference-makers in the world, read how you can donate to our annual fund.