Interview with Gabriel Karigey

Introducing our newest addition to the Niall Mellon Township Trust Team!

Gabriel Karigey is the Kenyan Country Director for the NMTT / Mellon Educate Organisation. He started with the charity in April 2013 and is looking forward to welcoming all of the volunteers to his native Kenya in October.

Gabriel, tell us about yourself and your background?

I am a Canadian citizen, but I was originally born and brought up in Kenya from a very poor family.

As a little boy, I wore my first shoes when I went to high school because my mom could not afford a pair of shoes for me. I went to school in Kenya up to University level and attained a degree in civil engineering.

After my university education I joined the Kenya Defence Forces as a cadet officer and over the years I proceeded to be promoted through the ranks up to the level of a Major and commanded an Engineer Construction Battalion.

Over my years in the military I had extensive training internationally: The British Army Royal Engineers, U.S. Army Special Forces, Royal Canadian Forces, India, Germany, Pakistan, and France. I have served in seven United Nations Peace Keeping missions; Bosnia In Herzegovina (Sarajevo) as a senior Military Observer, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Iraq (Desert Storm), Iraq War, and Darfur in South Sudan.

After leaving Kenya for my further studies in Canada, I became a Canadian citizen and thereafter joined the Royal Canadian Forces, from which I was honourably released recently to join the Niall Mellon Educate Organization as the Country Director in Kenya.

What is your role working for Mellon Educate Organisation?

I am currently the Country Director of The Mellon Educate Organisation. I have already started two school projects in two of the Kenya slums at St. Catherine Primary School and at Mukuru Kwa Reuben Centre Primary School and Dispensary.

What does it mean to you to be working for The Mellon Educate Organisation?

I am very privileged to be the Country Director, a position which entails a lot of diplomacy and dedication to the poor in Kenya. Having been brought up from a very poor family in Kenya, my goal is to serve the poor diligently. By leaving my county and having pursued further education up to Master’s Degree Level, my vision is to give back to my fellow countrymen for no one can run away from his own shadow.

Please tell us the impression you have of the Irish People?

Irish people are well known for their generosity. Both projects in Kenya are the brain child of the Irish Sisters of Mercy and Brothers of Hope from Ireland. They have done very commendable charity work in the Kenya slums by empowering the poor to sustain themselves and becoming productive citizens by providing them with various technical skills and health facilities such as dispensaries, water and sanitation.

What is your Main Goal that you would like the Irish Volunteers to have accomplished by the end of the Building Blitz week?

My main goal is to encourage the Irish volunteers to interact and connect with the local community in the Nairobi slums and discover how poor people can live with so little but with no stress, compared to the rich and developed nations.

The Building Blitz will be a testimony to the Kenyans and the world in general of the Irish people’s devotion to a noble cause of empowering the poor in all corners of the globe. The Blitz will allow the volunteers to have a live experience of how their donations have been utilized for a noble cause of uplifting the livelihood of the poor.

What can the volunteers look forward to in Kenya?

Kenyans are very friendly and generous. They should expect a very warm welcome from the slum community and Kenyans in general. They should expect so many hugs from the slum children and a lot of enthusiasm from very poor little angels throughout their stay in Kenya, especially in the slums community.

I would like the volunteers to understand well in advance that I will make their lives very comfortable throughout their stay by providing them with as much work as possible to make this programme a success.

Lastly, I welcome all my guests to Kenya. Jambo and Karibu Kenya, which means “Hello and Welcome to Kenya”.