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Kenyan Student Wins Student of the Year

Kenyan Student Wins ‘Outstanding BTEC International Student of the Year 2015’ in London
In 2014 George Benson Lyimo was just a student trying to earn his Business Technology and Education Council (BTEC) degree in business. Now in 2015 he is BTEC’s ‘Outstanding International Student of the Year.’

In 2012 Lyimo left his home in Tanzania to go to Braeside High School in Nairobi, Kenya. Braeside—a school which uses the British system of education—provides a safe place for eager students all over Africa to pursue their goals. Whereas many African youth are deterred by violence and warfare from going to school—Braeside provides a bus system to safely transport students to and from campus.

At Braeside Lyimo flew under the radar. One teacher recalls him being—“quite a shy character.” Nevertheless his potential shone in and out of the classroom.

Despite his humility Lyimo has accomplished much to be proud of. Self-taught in the language of computers—Lyimo launched his own website called Texeer which is now a worldwide social networking platform. He also volunteers in Braeside’s IT department even though he has no formal training and was able to provide internet for the student body when the school’s connectivity failed.

In July 2015 Lyimo was formally recognized for his accomplishments at the fifth annual BTEC Awards. The ceremony took place in London in front of an audience that included teachers, employers and even Members of Parliament.

The BTEC Awards acknowledge students, teachers and apprentices for outstanding performance in their particular vocational field. Recipients are nominated by their teachers and colleagues. This year BTEC received more than 800 nominations.

The judges picked Lyimo because of his passion and devotion to education and helping others. “Winning this award means a lot to me.” He says. “Firstly it kind of builds up my confidence and my belief system that I can build something great that other people can use in their daily life. I want to give back to the world. I want to make the world a better place.”

In addition to all of his technological hobbies Lyimo organizes annual charity events which raise funds to send Kenyan children to school. This is especially significant in Kenya where enrollment rates are extremely low.

Enrollment for boys and girls in secondary school in Kenya is 51 and 48 percent respectively—but attendance drops down to 39 and 41 percent. Compare this to the U.S. where enrollment among boys and girls in secondary school is 88 and 90 percent respectively. It is also important to take into account when comparing these numbers that unlike the U.S.—education is universally free in Kenya.

This is why young students like Lyimo are truly making the world a better place. Not only does he help other children achieve their dreams by providing access to education but perhaps more importantly by being a role model for those who need motivation in the face of adversity.

Lyimo graduated Braeside with triple star distinction—the highest accolade in the BTEC degree program. Like past recipients of BTEC ‘Outstanding Student’ Awards Lyimo will continue on his career path pursuing an advanced degree in Business and Computing at Huddersfield University in England.

Celestina Radogno

Sources: Braeside School, BTEC 1, BTEC 2, Standard Digital News, UNICEF 1, UNICEF 2
Photo: Flickr