Success story: Raymond Lesiyon

Raymond graduated from high school in 2015 with two points less than a perfect score on the national high school exit exam. Very few students achieve this level of excellence, and especially not students from Kokwa. He wanted to go on to college, but lacked financial resources so he was taking computer classes instead. The EASF students recognized his plight and encouraged him to apply to the program. With the support of the students and of EASF Director Janet Heinonen, Raymond submitted an application. But on the initial SAT practice test, he scored 33rd out of 35 applicants, of which only 12 would be accepted. He was put on the waiting list. Days later, with the withdrawal of one of the 12, Raymond was admitted to the program. Since June, he has studied with the students in preparation for submitting university applications, and now he is number 7 of 10 over all (two students dropped) in the group. His math scores are the second highest and Janet says he keeps improving.

In a short article, Janet writes: “Raymond’s home on Kokwa Island is a 3-room mud structure that accommodates 12 family members. They have no electricity or clean water and he raises poultry to help family finances. He feels a strong commitment to building a better life for his Il Chamus community, one of the smallest ethnic groups in Kenya. Having grownup in poverty, he nevertheless celebrates and honors his cultural background and at the same time is able to analyze the changes that are needed for his people.”

Raymond was hoping to go to medical school but realized that the commitment of funds and time required is probably out of reach. Instead, he wishes to study biomedical engineering and will apply to several universities in the US and Canada, including the University of Oregon. EASF and FKSW are working together to support his effort.