16-Year-Old US Girl Raises Ksh1.5M For School Bus in Kenya

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    Tesia Shibilski speaking to NBC 15
  • Tesia Shibilski, a high school student in the US, raised Ksh1,500,886 to buy a bus for Kijana Global Innovation School in Kenya. 

    As a tech-savvy 16-year-old, Tesia used Instagram and Give Butter platforms to raise funds for the school that needed a bus after seeing their efforts to raise money for a vehicle. She also reached out to her friends and family in support of the campaign.

    Tesia’s target was to raise Ksh1,082,500 but she surpassed that goal garnering Ksh1,500,886.

    The campaign is part of the Kijana Educational Empowerment Initiative which aims to transform education in Vihiga County, Western Kenya. Currently, they have collaborated with 25 schools mostly located in Emuhaya Constituency, Vihiga.

    Kenyan school buses parked at a field during an education event in 2019

    Her mother’s childhood social studies teacher founded the initiative. 

    This foundation started the Kijana Global Innovation School which was opened on January 13, 2020. Located in Sabatia Butere, Kakamega county, the school currently enrols up to 250 students.

    The school in an Instagram post mentioned that they had made a deposit on a 51-seater school bus, which will be called the ‘Mary Fields Courage Bus,’ to pick students living far away. 

    The American is a student at Middleton High School, Tampa, Florida.  

    Tesia narrated that she grew up understanding the importance of giving as her grandfather would take her to meetings for an organization that was dedicated to helping people and the environment in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

    Speaking to National Broadcasting Company, commonly known as NBC 15, she saw how big the positive impact could have on the school. “... I knew it was something I wanted to take on,” mentioned Tesia.

    She urged her peers to find something they are passionate about and use it to help people in need.

    The school at the moment uses a 14-seater van but the bus will serve as a second, larger, vehicle. The bus is expected to arrive in late June 2021.

    Kijana Global Innovation School in Vihiga County