Brother Peter Tabichi is a teacher in a remote village in Kenya. He is a Franciscan monk who teaches high schoolers in a tiny school with no library and no lab. About a third of the kids are orphans--the rest from single-parent homes. All are dealing with famine and drought. Brother Peter gives almost all of his own salary to feed families in his community. Last week, he was named Global Teacher of the Year--a title that came with a million dollar prize.
The award ceremony was hosted by Hugh Jackman, in Dubai. When Brother Peter went to the ceremony, it was his first time on a plane! Despite all the hurdles his students face, Brother Peter is credited with helping many students stay in school, qualify for international competitions in both science and engineering--and many of his students have gone onto college. He says classes that are supposed to have 35-40 students have twice as many. The Internet connection is so unreliable that Brother Peter has to go to an internet cafe to download what he needs to teach science lessons. A lot of his students have to walk more than four miles on bad roads to get to school.
When Brother Peter won the award, he talked about his childhood. His mom died when he was 11, leaving his dad to raise him and his siblings alone. His dad was also a teacher. Brother Peter's prize comes from the Varkey Foundation. He was chosen from about 10,000 applicants from 179 countries.