Jacque Kahura is a passionate teacher teaching in a rural primary school in Kenya. Coming from a family of teachers, this primary school teacher went on to become the finalist for the Global Teacher Prize in 2015 for founded ‘LIBA’ (Lifting the Barriers), an organisation which aims at creating a better learning environment for disadvantaged children.
Jacque developed interest in teaching at a young age. She set her heart towards helping students who might not have had access to education. After obtaining three education diplomas, she was chosen in 2009 as one of the ten teachers from East Africa to receive a Commonwealth scholarship for a master’s degree at the Institute of Education from the University of London. It was during this time that she founded LIBA to help educate students to achieve their dreams. While working in a rural primary school, she noticed that schools lacked the necessary resources and focused heavily on texts. This made her shift the teaching approach into an activity-based learning in small groups. Jacque included field trips to raise student awareness of the environment and perform community service.
Reaching out to the society
Jacque has innovated several learning programmes and campaigns such as Learning Companion, Every Girl…Campaign, Partnership for More Joint Action, HIV/AIDS prevention and management in schools, and Weekend Inclusive and School Holiday (W.I.S.H), to sensitise students on the various problems that are faced by the society, for bringing about a change. She has also started a newsletter called ‘Walimu Kwanza!’ (Teachers First!) for teachers. Jacque began reaching out to hundreds of schoolteachers by organising conferences to encourage them to share their teaching practices and other training methods. She has also provided motivational speeches to encourage them to stay in the profession despite the challenges they face. Using LIBA for social service, Jacque has begun running a number of initiatives that provided developmental and academic support for students over issues that range from providing school furniture, uniforms, sanitary facilities, HIV coaching, weekend and holiday tuition and job-readiness training, while introducing the community to cultural diversity.
Efforts to Recognition In 2015, Jacque was recognised as the ‘Shujaa wa Kili’ (Hero of Kili) by the Governor of Kili County, for her work in the field of education. She also began chairing the Kili County Education Board and several other school boards of management while working on her first book called Beyond Exams! Though Jacque contributed a lot for the education of underprivileged children in her village, she also wanted to change the present education system across countries and was invited to speak at several forums in Brazil and France to discuss the role of education in poverty alleviation.
At the forums, she has shared her experiences of working with children who have lived under miserable conditions and their hardships of learning. Jacques Kahura has given inspirational talks about the importance of education for success to various children across schools and, has also conducted coaching and mentorship. In March 2015, Jacques Kahura was recognised and identified at the Global Education and Skills Forum that was held in Dubai as one of the Top 10 Global Teacher Prize nominees of Varkey Foundation, being the only Kenyan in the list.
Credits – globalteacherprize.org, globalpartnership.org, liftingthebarriers.org
This article was originally published in TheTeacher.in magazine in the month of December, 2019.