Ex-Slum Dweller Who Serves on the World Bank Board: Rags to Riches


Obonyo grew up sharing a room with his parents, eight siblings, and other family members. His father made sacrifices so that they may receive an education

“At the University of Nairobi, my father worked as a cook. He supported our huge family by walking 10 kilometers each way to and from work every day. I pursued my studies seriously because I recognized early on that education was the only way I would be able to escape poverty.

Obonyo’s studies faced a grim future because his father was unable to raise the necessary finances for his secondary school.

His former primary school classmates contributed money for his first year of high school on his behalf.

“I had problems in school. For failing to pay my school fees, I was repeatedly sent home. When relatives visited other students during visiting days, I watched with jealousy as they carried large shopping bags full of food and treats,” he remarked.

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