As a student, Vedis wished for someone to guide him, now he works with other alumni to advise students at St George’s Secondary School, Sikri, to set them up for success.
By Ján Michalko
Initially published on inhiveglobal.org
“We were in the same primary school 19 years ago! But we were still in touch. We work in the same company now, but back then, she asked me what I studied, and when I said that I studied pharmacy, she told me, why don’t you come work with us, in my company!”
Networking is one of the benefits Vedis recognizes come with alumni associations. This motivated him to take an active role in building the alumni association for St. George’s Secondary School, Sikri, his alma mater.
The alumni association at St. George’s Secondary School, Sikri, was run informally for several years. For five years, Vedis and other alumni association officials have actively rallied 200 alumni to register with the association and engage in alumni activities to support each other and their alma mater.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in Kenya in 2020, alumni meetings moved online. Discussions are mostly conducted on WhatsApp.But due to school closure, to mitigate the spread of the disease, alumni support activities stalled such as the supply of sanitary towels to students in their alma mater.
But alumni of the school are still determined to fundraise to construct a school library and laboratory which the school is in dire need. As they attempt to recruit more alumni to offer support, Vedis is quick to point out that more recent graduates of the school are still apprehensive in joining the association.
“Younger alumni are struggling themselves; looking for jobs and starting families makes them reluctant to join, feeling that money is tight.”
Vedis does empathise with these young parents as a young father himself. What drives him is his personal experiences; as a student whose parents struggled to educate him reliant on wellwishers and scholarships and the toll it took on him. He understands how much students in his alma mater need mentorship as well as financial support.
Vedis is the first one in his family to go to university, which he credits to the wellwishers who supported his education. He does, however, admit that he wanted to be a pilot but due to the lack of mentorship and guidance, he selected the wrong courses which impeded him from pursuing his dream career.
“If [only] I had mentorship and somebody to tell me when you want to do this, you’re supposed to do this.”
But Vedis channels all his experiences into his work and commitment to the alumni association to support the next generation.