Raphael Mwachiti: studying Computer Science at the University of British Columbia | Aga Khan Academies

Raphael Mwachiti: studying Computer Science at the University of British Columbia

31 July 2021

Raphael Mwachiti has been accepted to the University of British Columbia – Okanagan Campus – to pursue a degree in Computer Science. He Joined the Aga Khan Academy Mombasa in 2015 through the Talent Identification Programme, which provides exceptional students with an international-standard education and leadership opportunities, regardless of their ability to pay.

Raphael received the Donald A. Wehrung International Student Award which recognises students who have achieved academic excellence under difficult circumstances. It covers tuition fees, and additional costs in books, full residence, meal support, personal expenses and one round trip, renewable annually for the four years of his degree programme.

“I was bursting with joy upon receiving the scholarship and I was filled with so much hope knowing I am one step closer to achieving my aspirations," said Raphael. "I was so proud of myself because all my determination had paid off and I thought of how happy my parents would be about their son being the first to go to university in the family."

During his time at the Academy, Raphael said he was afforded numerous opportunities to develop as a well-rounded student. In addition to being an exceptional student academically, he also thrived as a champion of change and leader within his community. Some of his achievements at the Academy include winning the Ryerson DMZ Sandbox Basecamp prize where he was granted CAD $5,000 for his innovation, which uses haptic technology, to assist the visually impaired. He also initiated smart farming in his local village of Kinango in Kwale County where he taught local farmers technical farming solutions to increase produce thus improving the lives of members of his community. In addition, Raphael honed his leadership skills by serving as a Residential Captain, directing the highly acclaimed Class of 2021 Diploma Programme 1 play - Hairspray, leading the annual Peace Summit on conflict resolution as well as serving as an executive for TEDxYouth@AKAMombasa. Moreover, he was a member of the school's basketball team and qualified as the youngest player to join the 3x3 Kenya national basketball team.

Raphael would be crowned for all of these accomplishments at the Class of 2021 graduation ceremony where he was recognised as the male recipient of the Award of Excellence.

Commenting on being bestowed the honour, Raphael said: “Winning the award came as a surprise to me because the Academy gave me the opportunity to grow and learn in a community full of high achieving and brilliant leaders of tomorrow, which would have made anyone deserving of this recognition. I am, however, grateful, and this encourages me to continue striving for the goals I have set for myself. I will always cherish this honour beyond the walls of the Academy.”

As he begins a new chapter in his life at university, Raphael said he is excited and will remain cognizant of all he has learnt at AKA Mombasa.

"I believe the Academy has prepared me well for the next phase of my life and I am ready to go out and grow myself and those around me," said Raphael. "The Academy has taught me to be open-minded, which has allowed me to learn many new things. I have been able to welcome new perspectives, challenge my own, appreciate those of others, and I believe this will help me to serve the community better."