Sheffield man’s ‘privilege’ to visit sponsored student’s graduation in Kenya

Dave Ling, from Crookes, Sheffield, with Ruth Wairimu and her family at their home in Nairobi, Kenya
Dave Ling, from Crookes, Sheffield, with Ruth Wairimu and her family at their home in Nairobi, Kenya
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A Sheffield man travelled to Kenya to see the graduation of a young woman who he helped put through university.

Dave Ling, from Crookes, said it was a ‘privilege’ to meet the family of Ruth Wairimu, the 24-year-old he has sponsored for more than three years through child development charity Compassion UK.

Dave met Ruth when he first visited Nairobi in 2013 for the graduation of Margaret Wairimu, no relation to Ruth, another student he supported through the charity.

Ruth took Dave on a tour of Kenyatta University, Nairobi, and impressed him so much he decided to sponsor her too.

Retired teacher Dave saw Ruth at her graduation ceremony, which he said was ‘lively with plenty of loud music and dancing’, and also got to meet her family and visit her home.

He said: “I was amazed at how well Ruth has adapted to the extremes of her life, and seemed so at ease in both – the academic city life, contrasted to the poverty of being raised in a tiny wooden home with mud floor and no windows in an isolated village.

“She seemed to take it all in her stride. It was a privilege to meet her family in their own home, and to talk with her mother, aunts and grandfather.”

Dave’s monthly sponsorship of Ruth and Margaret’s fees through Compassion UK’s leadership development programme enabled them both to complete their university education and receive mentoring and leadership training. Ruth is now a history and religious education teacher in a boys’ school near her home.

“The sponsorship has given Ruth the opportunity to gain the qualifications needed to become a positive influence on the lives of many young people in her area,” said Dave. “She is now a very confident young woman with important responsibilities.

“As a former teacher I’m sure I can understand some of the things she’ll have to contend with in future years, and hopefully I will be able to support her in that.”

Dave also sponsors 13-year-old Andres David Cifuentes, from Ecuador, and 24-year-old Ibamba Prince, from Rwanda.

Compassion UK works with over 1.7 million children all over around the world. Working in partnership with the local church, they seek out the most vulnerable children and, with the support of individual sponsors, provide them with the means to break the cycle of poverty and create a viable future.