Kenyan Resident Determined to Help Disabled Back Home


Edwin Rutto

Senior Edwin Rutto is raising $1,000 for children, like these, at Sitamani Primary School.

Othman Muhammad, Assistant Sports Editor

Senior Edwin Rutto has received national recognition for his many accomplishments in Cross Country and Track.  But his fame on the track here has not diminished his connection to his school in Kenya. Edwin wants to help the primary school provide some basic facilities for the handicapped students there.

Sitamani Primary School, located in Trans-Nzoia County, Kenya, has an enrollment of 791 students. From his seventh to eighth grade year, Edwin began befriending children with disabilities. During his time at Sitamani Primary, disabled kids were isolated from the rest of kids. Heartbroken by this, Edwin began making strides to include everyone in any activity.  From tutoring disabled children in math to helping them go to the bathroom, Edwin did it all. By the time he was an eighth grader the school began integrating handicapped children with the other students, but Edwin’s fight for the disabled did not stop in the classroom.

This image is of the bathroom at the Sitamani Primary School.
Edwin Rutto
This image is of the bathroom at the Sitamani Primary School.

Kenya’s bathroom system is not modern. Edwin described the school’s bathroom as a ten foot hole in the ground. In order for men and women to use it, they are forced to squat for several minutes without support.

“Imagine these disabled kids trying to squat, but they cannot because their joints are weak,” Edwin said. “So they sit on that hole.”

Some handicapped students are fortunate to have wheelchairs, while others are forced to crawl to the bathroom and return to class reeking of the restroom. Handicapped students are at risk of cholera and other diseases each time they use the bathroom because it is so unsanitary. Sickened by the sight and thought of this, Edwin has decided to do something.

Edwin is trying to raise money to build a bathroom for the disabled children at his old school. He reached out to physics teacher Geoffrey Ngetich for assistance and together they laid out a gameplan. They contacted Kenyan construction workers and received estimates on what it would cost to build the bathroom.

Mr. Ngetich believes that Edwin has a noble idea. “Edwin is touching the lives of many people directly and he is contributing his piece,” he said. “He’s contributing a very small piece that can be easily overlooked, but he is picking a piece that he can do.”

Edwin’s goal is to raise over $1,000, but currently he has a little over $100. Edwin receives a majority of his donations through the SBP community. People bring in cash and donate to his cause.

From the first grade to now, Edwin has kept the close bond he has with the school’s principal.While Edwin is in the United States, he entrusts the school’s principal to direct the construction of the bathroom. With the help of Mr. Ngetich, specialists who will construct the bathroom have already been contacted and agreed to assist the project.
After Edwin reaches his goal, he will give the money to Mr. Ngetich, who will then transfer it to the principal. To avoid corruption Edwin will not give the money all at once. Once demonstrative evidence of the construction is provided, Edwin will keep on sending money. Throughout the course of construction, he intends on updating the community with pictures and videos of the building process. Edwin wants to show the community what the donations accomplished.

Senior Edwin Rutto as he talks to a reporter about how he will raise his money.
Andrew Sosanya
Senior Edwin Rutto as he talks to a reporter about how he will raise his money.

Edwin intends to reach his goal before the school year ends. If all is successful, during the summer, Edwin will return to Kenya where he will oversee his project and construction.

“For me this is not a big thing,” he said. “I just want to make someone smile and feel comfortable using the bathroom.”