Faith of a Mustard Seed: My Journey Towards being a Humanitarian


When I was a small boy aged 3 years old, I didn’t like how we used to mistreat and overwork our poor donkey. At the age of 5, I remember I used to confront my mum at any given time that she slaughtered a chicken. I remember how I closed my eyes while blood was oozing from the chicken’s neck. After the donkey was overworked, it wasn’t given food and it was held hostage awaiting the following day’s work. As little as I was, I would cut grass for the donkey and ensure that it had water. I ensured that I cleaned our chicken coop just to ensure that they had good sleep. Little did I know that the passion for advocating for human rights had started. My mum watched me do this, but the best thing she could do was to let me do it.

Later, I joined one of the public high schools as a small-bodied boy. In form one, I was tormented, tortured, and bullied by the big boys in form 4. I couldn’t report the matter in person because if the bullies got wind of it, it probably would have been the end of my human rights passion because of the humiliation I would have faced.  So, I chose what I thought was a smart way to raise the issue. I wrote several compositions for my literature class on bullying issues in the school and ensured that I submitted them punctually for marking. The best thing was that the deputy principal was my literature teacher, so he quickly understood my agenda and ensured that the culprits were apprehended. The whole school knew me as the champion of students’ rights and affairs, and I was promoted to serve as the deputy school president.  I won several trophies from the alumni association as the young defender champion.

When I sat for my KCSE, I wanted to join the University of Nairobi to do law and later be an advocate. I wanted to offer pro bono services to those who could not afford lawyers. This didn’t happen as when I was about to enrol for the LLB degree, I met one of the good lawyers who knew of my passion for human rights well because I happened to be his beneficiary of the human rights awards. He told me, “James, you can be a better humanitarian than a lawyer.  You can work for the United Nations under the United Nations on Human Rights if you do international studies. Please consider my advice “…I felt like this was heaven-sent unsolicited advice. I, therefore, joined Strathmore University, which had been my dream university since I was in primary school.

Flamboyant would be the term that best describes Strathmore University. As a student of international studies, Strathmore has altered my perspective on the world and shaped my thinking through the guidance of our most qualified and accredited professors. I have taken the time to examine and critically question matters of police brutality and extrajudicial killings, which contravene article 26 of the Kenyan constitution (right to life). I am convinced that more can be done and must be done to change the existing narrative. While I have a long way to go, I will continue to be an agent of positive change in my current context and circumstances.

Internationally, I’m concerned about why Kuwait does not feel the responsibility to safeguard after Iraq invaded the country and Russia attacked Ukraine, violating the human rights of the Ukrainian people. Are the citizens of South Sudan guaranteed their human rights? This demonstrates that my commitment to human rights extends beyond my community to the world. In order to visit these impacted people and campaign for the protection of their human rights, I wish to realize my ambition to work for the UN.

After graduating from Strathmore University, I intend to continue my education by pursuing a master’s degree in international law and diplomacy. Because serving humanity means serving God. I wish to encourage all the young human rights activists to continue in their quest to advocate for the rights of all. Nothing is ever lost, and no action is too small. One day, it will all add up. It’s just a matter of time.



This article was written by Reuben James, Bachelor of International Studies student

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