A while back, a photo of a 27 year old Churchill Owido, holding a placard went viral on social media. Churchill was in dire need of help to raise tuition fees for his advocate training program at Kenya School of Law.
He had written all his details on the placard explaining why he needed the money. For three days, he stood along Uhuru Highway, holding his placard and hoping that he will receive the help he needs. He had even photocopied his documents and gave to people, so that they wouldn’t think he’s a fraud.
Well, today, he was hosted by Adelle Onyango and Shaffie Weru on Breakfast with the Stars, where he shared his story from the moment he stood on the street to the minute Kenyans came through for him.
“I’m a qualified lawyer, a graduand from University of Nairobi and I needed to do my advocate training program at Kenya School of Law of which generally I didn’t have the money and tuition fee, both for the Kenya School of Law and Council of Legal Education. So by all means, I tried my level best to seek help from different individuals, but I saw as if I’m becoming a burden to others. I was pushed literally towards the wall and when you are attacked by somebody and you don’t have any other sophisticated weapon, what will you do? You’ll retaliate by all means possible. So on 18th February, as I was going to church on that particular day, something just came to my mind but it’s through God’s intervention of which I do thank my God. So after my mass service at Diwapo Catholic Church in Kayole, I passed through Naivas in Komarock and bought a placard for twenty shillings. If you saw me standing on Uhuru Highway with a yellow banner, that was definitely me. After getting the paper on that night I had to put some writing of which on the manila paper it was just a small request. First of all I appreciated the human nature of Kenyans. Kenyans normally come and intervene during tragedies. We’ve had different tragedies and calamities in this country and Kenyans and foreigners normally come through. I just appreciated that super human nature of theirs and I petitioned my case with Kenyans, and according to article 1 of the constitution Kenyans have that sovereign power.”
When asked if he felt scared to make that move he said, “No. By the way, if you are heading for a particular cause and you believe and trust in yourself and put God first, do that thing to your level best, have the passion to do the same until you succeed. I believe in my self and I believe I’m not a failure in life. So as much as I was going towards the road, I didn’t mind how people might talk against it. It was my own challenge, and I had to push until I get success in it.”
It must have been a tough experience having to stand on the streets, not knowing what will happen. So what was Churchill’s experience?
“I stood on Uhuru Highway for three consecutive days, but initially I was going for a full week. By the second day, at least I had received a positive note. Initially there was a company that sponsored me. A friend of mine whom I was with back in campus, Parklands School of Law, he endorsed my name for me to be a beneficiary of their sponsorship and generally, I din’t have his number so I got mixed up. I didn’t know who I was speaking with, I was not sure. I confirmed the number and I didn’t have it and the voice couldn’t get to me. So I knew it was generally a Kenyan. So I just said, even if he has offered me that opportunity to go to their company and get a cheque, I still wasn’t sure. So I continued going to the road.”
As if standing on the road was not enough, Churchill was arrested.
“On Wednesday 21st I got arrested by the police. They purported that I didn’t have a permit. So when these guys arrested me, the junior police officers, I had to comply telling them that I am not a thief first of all and my agenda and my cause of action was petitioning my matter to the Kenyans of which Kenyans have that sovereign power. So I was not in any shady business or in any legality. When I came off the road, I gave them everything; all my documents because I had my admission letter of school. Even the people I used to meet on the road, I used to give them a photocopy of my documents, so that they’ll see it’s something that is true. I didn’t want to seem as if I’m there to con them. Then we went to Central Police Station. The three junior police officers accommodated me in a friendly manner, they understood me and one of them was really into my case in terms of him intervening for me and getting that purported permit of which under the law for me I knew I didn’t need it. So I just had to comply, they gave me their reasons of which they were valid. They told me that on that road, people normally get robbed, diplomats normally get robbed. What they were doing, they were doing as per their work. I did understand them, but on reaching the police station, the OCS didn’t want to hear me out and he instructed the cops to book me so that the next day I would go to Court. I was ready to face the law. One of the juniors who wanted me to get a permit, he went to the head of traffic department who saw whatever I was doing was genuine but I didn’t have to contradict the OCS. So they told me that they’ve let me free but I shouldn’t go back to the same spot because it will bring problems in terms of the command.”
After leaving the police station, things just fell in place for Churchill. He received one phone call that changed his life.
“During that particular afternoon, I remember it was some few minutes to 12pm. After leaving the police station, I went to Nairobi University main campus at the educational building. I was going to meet some of my friends who were working there. That’s when I got this call for the second time and it was Baraza. Baraza told me that I should go to their company, Environmental and Combustion Consultants, they have waved out each and everything. When I communicated with him on Tuesday, he had told me that he had sent the photo to their boss. His boss had gone abroad, so when he sent the photo to him, the boss directed the company that I should pull out from the streets and start school as soon as possible and he directed them to facilitate in terms of tuition fee and pay to the bank. They paid for me 145,000. I have not been using any social media, even when I went to the road, I didn’t put that matter on social media. Little did I know that some of my friends had seen the picture and then Senior Council Evans Ogada gathered senior advocates in this republic of Kenya and junior advocates who were doing their own contributions. This other side my fee had alraedy been sorted. So all in all I thank my God. Everything happens for a reason and it’s through God’s power. Eventually when people started calling me atleast asking where I have reached in terms of the money I have collected, I told them they can send what they have and I informed them about the company and also the group of advocates who came through for me. Through all the help I got, I also got to help another person, Angeline, who also couldn’t afford school fees.”
Churchill is so grateful to Kenyans and after the show, he took his time to shoot a video thanking Kenyans and everyone else who offered to help him and who supported him throughout his journey.
Watch the video below;