Florence Awori is the executive director of Pupils Reward Scheme (Pures) that has benefited many students from schools across the country since 2015
Tell us about yourself.
I am the executive director Pures. My job entails inviting and hosting students from all over Kenya on behalf of His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta. I organise visits and make sure students are happy while they are here. I am also a mother and a teacher.
Tell us a little about Pures.
Pures was launched on 19th May, 2015 by President Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret. The programme’s main focus is to mentor students in secondary schools from all 47 counties at State House Nairobi. The students typically arrive here on a Monday morning and depart on a Friday morning. While here they meet others from all over the country, get to know each other and are encouraged to visit each other’s home during school holidays in an effort and to consolidate friendship they build during the week. One of my tasks is to demystify State House, so on Monday afternoons we visit offices and departments here, so that students can build a clear picture of the work done as well as meet officers who explain their duties. On Tuesdays we visit Milimani Courts, Supreme Court Museum and the National Assembly. On Wednesdays and Thursdays we go to different ministries where they learn about policy. In the evenings, students attend life skill classes led by guest visitors.
What is your working day like?
The working day here starts at 5.45 am for the students with a fun run to promote health and wellbeing. Then we have breakfast and classes all day. Lights out at Pures Village is at 10.00pm.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I enjoy meeting different students from all over Kenya. I have been able to visit some of them in their schools and homes. They too teach me many things.
Did you always wish to have this job? And how did you achieve it?
Yes, I always wished to have a job such as this when I taught at a school. I wanted to start an alternative learning opportunity club in my spare time, then this came along and I followed it. What I have managed to do is exchange for classroom for this larger one based all over Kenya. How fortunate am I?
Which is the one decision which you made that has made a difference in your career/life?
To become a teacher. It is involving and the role that teachers play in their students’ lives is crucial.
How do you balance between your job and family?
The beauty with the Pures programme is that the team work very hard when we have a residential group. Then we have a week where administration and logistics are carried out, so essentially, we have one week on and one week off during term time. During the school holidays, the team have well deserved breaks to go and spend time with their families.
Who has been the most influential person in your life and career, the special person that you have always looked up to for inspiration?
My mother started her career as a teacher, so I followed in her footsteps and she, followed her father. I am the third generation teacher in my family. My father said to me, many years ago to take up the offer of a place at university or I would regret it later in life. He was right, I had a rewarding three years there while teaching, I have met many other educators who through their dedication, continue to encourage and inspire me.
Which have been the highest and lowest points/moments in your line of work?
This line of work involves more than just teaching. I find that mothering also comes into a lot of what I do. I like being a mother of many, however as a mother of many, I find that instilling discipline and reprimanding is part of the job. I have sometimes found it challenging to persuade reluctant learners to try new ways of doing things-changing mind-sets.
How do you unwind?
I sew, draw, read and visit friends and family.
What philosophy do you live by?
When you do anything, do it well to the best of your ability.
Your parting shot?
I would love to see many Pures alumni one day keep their promises to take up leadership in whatever areas they choose in a bid to make a difference in their lives and in those of others.