Project 24: Empowering Dreams – Blasto Atuya’s Journey

Blasto at the April Catechetical Bible Club competition

Story by Cynthia Awuor – Shared Ministries Admin. Assistant for the Africa region

Blasto Atuya’s story begins in Nyamira County, Kenya, where he was born and raised alongside his parents and siblings. Life was stable until tragedy struck with the passing of his father, leaving his family facing significant challenges. “After dad died, life was hard,” Blasto reminisces. “My mother does farm work and other small trades, but the income was never enough to enable her to take good care of us. I felt hopeless about achieving my dreams.” 

His mother’s low income and her inability to make ends meet easily made Blasto make a difficult decision to repeat a grade in school. This sacrifice aimed to ease the burden on his mother. “When I was in class seven, and my brother in class eight, I had to repeat that grade so as to lessen the school fee burden for my mother, who could not afford to pay high school fees, year after year, for two kids. I felt like I was easing my mother’s stress,” he recalls.

In 2018, a year after repeating a grade, a ray of hope entered his life in the form of the Project 24 Program. “My journey with Project 24 began after I repeated a grade,” Blasto shares. “Being an active member of my church and my family background might have played a role in my selection to join the program in Nyambiri. Suddenly, all my dreams seemed within reach! This encouraged me to continue being an active member of the church.”

Blasto says the program not only provided educational support but also instilled in him a sense of responsibility and faith. “Before joining the program, the idea of attending university felt like a distant dream,” he reflects. “But with its support and my determination, I excelled in high school, paving the way for a brighter future. P24 became my second home, a place where I found guidance, support, and a sense of belonging. Though I have moved on from the Site, whenever I can, I visit, eager to share my journey and offer encouragement to my brothers and sisters who are walking a similar path.”

During the recent Catechetical Club Competition, it was the first time the Pre-College Lutheran Academy (PLA) students joined the rest of the children to help manage and run activities. Blasto, currently attending the PLA program, felt grateful for the opportunity to reconnect with his Project 24 family. “I am happy to attend this competition. It helped us grow in Christ and serves as a platform to interact with one another. It is good to meet as one big family as this program gave me lots of brothers and sisters. I have met people from different parts of Kenya that I would never have interacted with if I was not part of the program,” he says.

He also mentioned how the PLA program has deepened his understanding of God and Christian life and enhanced his life skills. He says, “PLA has taught me a lot. There are life skills that I needed to know and learn. We have been taught skills that will help us cope and navigate life in higher learning institutions. It is also through PLA that I have learnt about the Lutheran faith deeper. We have also been taught farming as a life skill and money-generating activity. We have learned how to plant and take care of our nurseries; we each have farms that we oversee at Kapenguria Bible College.”

Blasto aspires to serve both as a teacher and a pastor. At the university, his passion for History and Christian Religious Education (CRE) fuels his ambition to do a degree in Education. His dreams extend beyond the classroom; he envisions himself answering a higher calling as a pastor once financial stability is achieved. Inspired by the exemplary life of a pastor from his local congregation, Pastor Ong’ondo, who seamlessly juggles the roles of a teacher and a pastor, he finds solace in the belief that his aspirations are within reach. 

“I want to teach History and Christian Religious Education (CRE). I have always loved CRE, and once I am done and stable enough financially, I will go study to be a pastor. My role model is Pastor Ong’ondo, who is a history and CRE teacher and, at the same time, a pastor. He encourages me that it is possible to achieve both of my dreams of being a teacher and a pastor. I see him as my mentor,” he says.

He acknowledges the program for deepening his faith and expanding his horizons. He is grateful for the doors it has opened for him and the lessons it has taught him.  He terms it as a community that uplifts and empowers its members.

“I often find myself reflecting on the journey that brought me here and tell myself that when I am done with school and get a job, the first people I will be giving back to will be the project that changed my life. Without it, I don’t know where I’d be. Perhaps I would have become another dropout lost in the cracks of society. But here I am, standing on the brink of a future filled with promise. My big brother is in university now, and it’s my mother who tirelessly works to support his studies. If it weren’t for the project, the weight of both our educations would have been too much for her to bear. So, I thank God every day for granting me this opportunity, and I pour my soul into my studies, determined not to squander it. But there’s more to my gratitude than words alone. I know that someday when I’m able to do so, I will pay it forward. I’ll sponsor a child or children in the program that changed my life because I believe that life is about giving back to those who helped shape our destinies.”