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The third of 12 children to a single mum, Payima was enrolled into his local Compassion project in Nakura, Kenya, at the age of six. His mum Catherine shares, “My children slept hungry on numerous occasions. My meagre earnings of KSH. 2,000 (£15) a month as a peasant farmer could not meet their needs. The older children were forced to drop out of school because I could not afford to pay their school fees. I did not know what would become of them. I was on the verge of despair.”
Agnes, Payima’s project director, says “Through Compassion sponsorship, the family’s quality of life has greatly improved. In 2010, Payima received a family gift with which they bought a cow that has calved multiple times and they own four cows! Now for a single parent family, particularly without a father figure in a community where livestock is prized, that is a miracle!”
It was at the project that Payima’s interest and gifting in athletics was uncovered. With financial assistance from the project, he was enrolled at an athletic training camp and attended training for two weeks during every school break for a year. In 2013, Payima competed in a Compassion athletics meet and won the 100 metres sprint — his first win.
That same year, Payima competed in a countrywide athletics competition and as a result of his ability, received a full sports scholarship to attend secondary school in one of the top schools in Kenya. The scholarship was also extended to his older brother who had dropped out of school the previous year due to a lack of money.