Mark Abuongor Ibuya: First Kisima alumnus to study at a UK university

Kisima student 2009-2012

The eldest of seven children, Mark was born in Baragoi, a village in Samburu District of Northern Kenya whose population comprises mostly people from the Samburu and Turkana tribes. His father was a herdsman who owned just two cows and ten goats. Due to insecurity in their home area, his parents were forced to leave their home and, from their small income, rent a room for the family to live in.

Mark did exceptionally well at his primary school but his parents could not afford to send him to a secondary school. He loved reading and was his primary school librarian. He was offered a free place at Kisima School in Nyahururu where he attended from 2009-2012. Mark has a strong faith in God and feels blessed to have come from a Christian family.

On leaving Kisima, Mark went on to study Electrical and Electronics Engineering at Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, in Nyeri, in the central highlands of Kenya, graduating in 2018.

After completing his first degree in Kenya, Mark was awarded a Chevening Scholarship, which is a highly competitive UK-funded scholarship granted to those with real potential to be the leaders of the future. He is now studying a Masters in Electrical Power Systems at Birmingham University, becoming the first Kisima School alumnus to study at a British university.

Since his arrival in the UK, Mark has been able to reconnect with his Kisima School sponsors, Kevin and Flo Watson who invited him to visit them at their home in Chorleywood.

Kevin is a former Chair of The Educational Frontier Trust (TEFT), which supports the Kisima School, and visited Kisima in 2010 with pupils from Watford Grammar School, where he was a teacher at the time.

When asked about his plans for the future, Mark says he hopes to return to Kenya in September to pursue a career in solar or wind power. Kenya is increasingly reliant on renewable energy and it is a growing sector.

Mark says that Kisima was a lifetime opportunity for him for which he is very grateful, and he strongly believes that education is the key to reducing poverty.

Since leaving school, Mark has been able to offer financial support to his family; he has sponsored two of his sisters through secondary school and recently bought his mother a camel, which will help to keep her through old age. Adding to the milestones in his life, April 2023 marked the joyful marriage of Mark and Felister.

Mark is one of 200 students who keep in touch with the school via the “Kisima Alumni” WhatsApp group. One of his friends is engaged in Kenyan politics and Mark believes that one day a Kisima alumnus will be President!