Godfrey Njoroge was born and raised in a little town called Kiserian, in Kenya, about 20 kilometres south of Nairobi, but he always dreamed of attending school in Canada. He dreamed of Canada because of the better educational opportunities, because of the people and the diversity of cultures, and, perhaps surprisingly, because of the land and snow. “I have always been fascinated by the great lands of Canada and the idea of snow,” he says. “It’s something I had never experienced.”
Growing up, Njoroge always looked up to his father, who was a logger and who was passionate about Canada’s vast expanse of land and its industries. “That’s what drew me to the geosciences, to studying rocks and minerals. I might one day work in the oil industry, predicting where we should look for oil and precious minerals,” he says.
The MasterCard Foundation Scholarship, awarded to young Africans from economically disadvantaged communities who have academic talent and the motivation to make a difference, is helping to develop Africa’s next generation of leaders.
After his father died in a road accident, Njoroge promised himself that he would not only do well, but do his very best in high school to have a chance to attend school in Canada.
“One of the last things I remember my dad saying to me before he died was that he was really excited for me to come to Canada and continue my education. He said if I got a B+ in high school, he would do everything in his power to help me go to university,” says Njoroge. “I knew that I had to study hard, work hard and make my father proud.”
Njoroge has three younger brothers and one sister, and he is the first of them to attend university. When he made it to Canada and the University of Toronto, he immediately fell in love with the buildings, the architecture, the cold weather and, of course, the land and snow. At first, Njoroge found the experience of conversing with so many people from so many different places strange and overwhelming. “It was so new to me. But everyone was friendly and willing to help you. It really opens your eyes and allows you to see the world from a different perspective,” he says.
Njoroge is building new friendships as he plays rugby for the Varsity Blues and is part of the New College community. He is specializing in environmental geosciences, and is grateful to be a recipient of the MasterCard Foundation Scholarship. “I could not have come to the University of Toronto without the MasterCard Foundation Scholarship. It would not have been possible, I don’t think. I would probably still be back in Kenya,” says Njoroge.
He is very thankful for the collaboration between the University of Toronto and the MasterCard Foundation, as he is now not only able to study what he is passionate about, but also fulfil his promise to his father and make a dream come true.
Story by Amy Chen
Godfrey Njoroge is an undergraduate environmental geosciences student and recipient of a Mastercard Foundation scholarship. Photo: Jackie Shapiro