Varkey Foundation warmly
welcomes appointment by Education Cannot Wait, the global fund
for education in crisis
Peter Tabichi, the Kenyan
science teacher who won the US$1 million Varkey Foundation
Global Teacher Prize 2019 has been appointed as the first
"Champion for Children in Conflicts and Crisis" for Education
Cannot Wait, the global fund for education in crisis, in a move
welcomed by the Varkey Foundation.
Peter Tabichi will champion the cause of the 75 million
children whose education is disrupted by conflicts and natural
Travelling to the world’s most crisis-affected children
and with planned engagements at the 2019 United Nations
General Assembly and other high-level events, it is hoped
his inspiring story and powerful voice will help raise the
urgency on the world stage to invest in the future of
children in crisis.
He will join actors Will Smith and Rachel Brosnahan who
are advocates for Education Cannot Wait’s cause.
Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the UN Special
Envoy for Global Education and Chair of Education Cannot
Wait’s High-Level Steering Group, has described Peter
Tabichi as an inspiration to all involved in teaching and
learning, and said he is looking forward to working with
Vikas Pota, Chairman of the Varkey Foundation said:
"Every day a child is out of education is not just a tragedy
for the child, it is a tragedy for the world they will inherit.
"To tackle the education crisis, most severe in those places
plagued by conflict and natural disaster, it is vital that we
learn from teachers like Peter Tabichi, who are working on the
front line to give young people born into the most challenging
circumstances the skills they need to face the future with
Peter Tabichi said:
"The students I teach see true hardships every day, from
poverty to drought and hunger.
"But I also see in them raw talent and great creativity, hard
work, a determination to defy the odds, and be the best they can
"Every child, everywhere in the world deserves the chance to
fulfil their full potential.
It is heart-breaking to know that 75 million children around
the world see their educational chances disrupted by conflict
and natural disasters.
"Education Cannot Wait is doing vital work to make sure these
children are not left behind.
"It will be my great honour to help them ensure children
whose lives have been blighted by war and catastrophe are given
their birth right; a decent education."
Peter Tabichi is a science teacher who gives away 80 per cent
of his monthly income to help the poor.
His dedication, hard work and passionate belief in his
students’ talent has led his poorly-resourced school in remote
rural Kenya to emerge victorious after taking on the country’s
best schools in national science competitions."
In March, Peter Tabichi, a Maths and Physics teacher at
Keriko Secondary School, Pwani Village, Nakuru, Kenya, was
named as the winner of the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher
Prize 2019, awarded under the patronage of His Highness
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President
and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of
Dubai. At a glittering award ceremony at Atlantis, The Palm,
Dubai, his triumph announced by actor, singer, and producer
Peter, 36, teaches at Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in
Pwani Village, situated in a remote, semi-arid part of Kenya’s
Here, students from a host of diverse cultures and religions
learn in poorly equipped classrooms.
Their lives can be tough in a region where drought and famine
Ninety-five percent of pupils hail from poor families, almost
a third are orphans or have only one parent, and many go without
food at home.
Drug abuse, teenage pregnancies, dropping out early from
school, young marriages and suicide are common.
Turning lives around in a school with only one computer, poor
internet, and a student-teacher ratio of 58:1, is no easy task,
not least when to reach the school, students must walk 7km along
roads that become impassable in the rainy season.
Undeterred, Peter started a talent nurturing club and
expanded the school’s Science Club, helping pupils design
research projects of such quality that 60 per cent now qualify
for national competitions.
Peter mentored his pupils through the Kenya Science and
Engineering Fair 2018 – where students showcased a device they
had invented to allow blind and deaf people to measure objects.
Peter saw his village school come first nationally in the
public schools category. The Mathematical Science team also
qualified to participate at the INTEL International Science and
Engineering Fair 2019 in Arizona, USA, for which they’re
His students have also won an award from The Royal Society of
Chemistry after harnessing local plant life to generate
Peter and four colleagues also give low-achieving pupils
one-to-one tuition in Maths and Science outside class and on the
weekends, where Peter visits students’ homes and meets their
families to identify the challenges they face.
Despite teaching in a school with only one desktop computer
with an intermittent connection, Peter uses ICT in 80 per cent
of his lessons to engage students, visiting internet cafes and
caching online content to be used offline in class.
Through making his students believe in themselves, Peter has
dramatically improved his pupils’ achievement and self-esteem.
Enrolment has doubled to 400 over three years, and cases of
indiscipline have fallen from 30 per week to just three. In
2017, only 16 out of 59 students went on to college, while in
2018, 26 students went to university and college.
Girls’ achievement in particular has been boosted, with girls
now leading boys in all four tests set in the last year.
All of this is made possible in a severely resource
constrained school by an exceptional teacher.
The Global Teacher Prize is a US $1million dollar award,
presented annually to an exceptional teacher who has made an
outstanding contribution to the profession.
Peter Tabichi, winner of the Global Teacher Prize 2019
was chosen from our top 10 finalists who come from all
corners of the globe.
From teaching in remote towns and villages to inner-city
schools, they advocate for inclusivity and for child rights,
integrate migrants into the classrooms, and nurture their
students’ abilities and confidence using music, technology,
robotics and science.
Peter has dedicated his life to helping others.
He gives 80 per cent of his teaching salary to local
community projects, including education, sustainable
agriculture and peace-building.
He’s changed the lives of his students in many ways,
including the introduction of science clubs and the
promotion of peace between different ethnic groups and
He has also helped to address food insecurity among the wider
community in the famine-prone Rift Valley.