Peter Tabichi a teacher at Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in Pwani Village in Nakuru amazed the whole world on Sunday by winning the Ksh 100 million Global Teacher Prize.
Tabichi who gives out 80% of his salary to the poor received the prize at a ceremony on Sunday in Dubai hosted by Hollywood star Hugh Jackman. Dubai’s Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was on hand to present the prize.
He was selected out of out 10,000 applicants for the Global Teacher Prize.
Tabichi teaches science to high schoolers in the semi-arid village of Pwani where almost a third of children are orphans or have only one parent.
He said the school has no library and no laboratory. He plans to use the million dollars from his win to improve the school and feed the poor.
Despite the obstacles Tabichi’s students face, he’s credited with helping many stay in school, qualify for international competitions in science and engineering and go on to college.
“At times, whenever I reflect on the challenges they face, I shed tears,” he said of his students, adding that his win will help give them confidence.
Tabichi said the award was an optimistic sign.
“It’s morning in Africa. The skies are clear. The day is young and there is a blank page waiting to be written. This is Africa’s time,” he said.
Peter Tabichi was congratulated by president Uhuru Kenyatta.
“Peter – your story is the story of Africa, a young continent bursting with talent. Your students have shown that they can compete amongst the best in the world in science, technology and all fields of human endeavour,” said president Kenyatta.
Now in its fifth year, the prize is the largest of its kind. It’s quickly become one of the most coveted and prestigious for teachers.
The prize is awarded by the Varkey Foundation, whose founder, Sunny Varkey, established the for-profit GEMS Education company that runs 55 schools in the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Qatar.
The winner is selected by committees comprised of teachers, educational experts, journalists, officials, entrepreneurs, business leaders and scientists from around the world.
Last year, a British art teacher was awarded for her work in one of the most ethnically diverse places in the country. Her work was credited with helping students feel welcome and safe in a borough with high murder rates.
Other winners include a Canadian teacher for her work with indigenous students in a remote and isolated Arctic village where suicide rates are high, and a Palestinian teacher for her work in helping West Bank refugee children traumatized by violence.
The 2015 inaugural winner was a teacher from Maine who founded a nonprofit demonstration school created for the purpose of developing and disseminating teaching methods.