Yema

Kibera 3

Mr. Yema Khalif was born and grew up in the slums of Kibera, Kenya (see photos below).

Yema knows what it is like to live without clean running water, good schools and job opportunities, much less TV or online shopping.

Born in a family of 8, his parents could barely afford school fees, so Yema had to drop out of high school two times even though he was getting good grades.

“I thank my mom for forcing me back to school because I had given up,” he recalls. “She was able to pay for me to finish school by selling off my dad’s cool stereo and gas cooker.”

Through a scholarship from Road to Freedom (RFS), an organization that empowers and educates children living in extreme poverty, Yema came to the USA.

He studied Communications and Media at Dominican University of California, in Marin County, where he recently graduated summa cum laude with an MBA.

To read about Yema’s visit this year with Pencils for Africa, click here.