The 2019 Global Teacher Prize winner, Kenya’s Peter Tabichi, on Monday met with US President Donald Trump ahead of his special address at the UN General Assembly in New York.
Describing teacher Tabichi as an inspiration to Americans for his hard work and commitment to his students, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham tweeted images of the 37-year-old science teacher’s meeting with Mr Trump, but did not give details of what was discussed during the meeting.
“His dedication, hard work and belief in his students’ talent has led his poorly resourced school in Kenya to emerge victorious after taking on the country’s best schools in national science competitions,” Ms Grisham posted on Twitter.
Mr Tabichi, a staunch Catholic and member of the Franciscan Friars, a religious order founded by St Francis of Assisi in the 13th century, amazed the world with his commitment to nurturing the academic abilities of his students, majority of whom come from poor backgrounds.
Following his win, Mr Tabichi, who has travelled the world inspiring many, was appointed as the champion for children in conflicts and crisis by Varky Foundation, a London-based global charitable organisation that is focused on improving the standards of education for underprivileged children.
The foundation is banking on the inspiring story of the Math and Physics teacher at Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in Nakuru County to highlight on a global scale the urgent need to invest in the future of children in crisis.
United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) notes that children have become frontline targets in times of war and conflict with statistics showing that every one in four children live in countries affected by conflict or disaster.
On Sunday, Unicef displayed 3,758 school backpacks as headstones outside the UN General Assembly headquarters to highlight the magnitude of child deaths that occurred during conflicts in the last one year and called for the protection of children in conflict.
“In just two weeks, world leaders gathering at the 74th UN General Assembly will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This installation should remind them of the stakes,” said Unicef Executive Director Henrietta Fore on Sunday.
CHILDREN IN CONFLICTS
In Kenya, cases of children dying during conflict have been on the rise with this month’s shooting of two-year-old Duncan Githinji being the latest.
In his address at the UN meeting, Mr Tabichi is expected to give remarks on how he made it to the top of the teaching profession and probably explain how he manages to inspire great performance amongst children who live in a region where drought and famine are frequent.
As usual, Kenyans took to social media to congratulate him and share excitement over his meeting with Mr Trump.
“I am happy for mwalimu Peter Tabichi. He keeps on rising and brushing shoulders with the big boys. Once again congratulations,” tweeted Muhammad Onyango.
“President Trump met with Peter Tabichi, the 2019 Global Teacher Prize Winner. No matter where we come from, our dreams are still valid. Proudly Kenyan,” tweeted Wences Rono.