NAIROBI, Kenya, July 9 – More than 50 Kenyan students awarded full Chinese scholarships are preparing to travel in September to begin their studies in various universities.
The students are spending this week touring various China-Kenya cooperation projects so as to help them understand and appreciate the strong partnership the two countries enjoy, dating back 60 years.
On Saturday, the students were taken on a guided tour of the iconic Global Trade Centre (GTC) in Nairobi’s Westlands and Afristar, the company operating the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).
At GTC, the students got a first-hand experience of modern Chinese architecture by stepping into the 41-storey tower that features a 184m landmark office block, a JW Marriott Hotel, GTC opulent apartments and the GTC boutique mall.
At the Standard Gauge Railway, the students were taken through step by step operation of the railway line by the operators experiencing for the first time the real-time train operation process.
“We are so impressed. It’s remarkable to see how much time is dedicated to making sure that there is steady coordination of all these processes,” said Ann Kungu, a Kenyan student studying in China.
The students were later taken on a maiden trip of the SGR to Mombasa accompanied the Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Dr. Zhou Pingjian and some of the members and officials of the Kenya-China Alumni Association.
“This is the best thing that has happened in my life,” one of the students who was awarded a scholarship said, “I will forever be thankful to the Chinese government.”
And for Moses Muriithi who is going to pursue an Engineering course, the visits to Chinese cooperation projects in Kenya are major inspiration.
“The Chinese have done great things for Kenya and I am so inspired to go acquire knowledge which I will use to help do even much more,” he said, “this scholarship will definitely change my life and that of my family.”
Some students from various Kenyan universities will be going to pursue undergraduate studies while others will undertake master’s degrees.
“This inspires me to do better for my country after studying in China. It goes a long way, ” said Muriithi said.
Nobert Njoroge, the vice-chairperson of the Kenya-China Alumni Association who also works at Avic International that owns GTC, said the tour to the Chinese cooperation projects are meant to expose them to what they should expect in China.
“The purpose of this tour is to expose them to the beauty of China,” he said while taking them through at GTC, Nairobi’s tallest and most modern skyscraper.
Njoroge lauded the Chinese Embassy in Kenya for scaling up its scholarship programme, in what will go a long way in integration and strengthening ties with Kenya.
“From the tour of the Chinese projects in Kenya, it is evident that China is doing a lot of good things in our country and it is bringing modern development,” another student said.
Every year, the Chinese Embassy in Kenya awards academic scholarships to study various programs in China.
The scholarships are offered in various fields including education, health, engineering, and technology among others.
“I always wanted to study in China because I have read a lot about the country,” one of the scholarship awardees said, “I am confident that I will come back home with a lot of new knowledge that will be beneficial to all.”
The Chinese Embassy says it’s looking forward to stepping up the number of students it awards scholarships going forward.
Students who studied in China and came back home are members of the Kenya-China Alumni Association which was established in 2002.
Its Chairman Henry Rotich said the association has now blossomed into a thriving organization, leaving an indelible mark on the friendship between Kenya and China.
Several of the former students are already back in Kenya where they secured jobs in various sectors to contribute to the growth of the economy.
“With its primary focus on creating job opportunities and fostering bilateral relationships, the association has become a catalyst for growth, both economically and culturally,” Rotich told Capital FM in an interview.
In the photo above, members of the Kenya-China Alumni Association were in solidarity people of the two countries at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.