Kenyan Teacher Who Gives Away 80% Of His Salary To Help His Students Wins $1 Million Prize

March 27, 2019

A science teacher in Kenya who gives away most of his salary to help the poorest students has won a $1 million prize and the title of world's best teacher.

Peter Tabichi, 36, has won the Varkey Foundation's 2019 Global Teacher Prize.

Tabichi received the award at Dubai's Atlantis Hotel in a ceremony hosted by actor Hugh Jackman.

peter tabichi wins teacher award
Credit: Varkey Foundation

The Varkey Foundation said Tabichi was chosen for his "dedication, hard work and passionate belief" in his students who all live in poverty.

He gives away 80% of his salary to support his students, who otherwise could not afford uniforms, books or food.

"Even affording breakfast is hard. They're not able to concentrate, because they haven't had enough meals at home," Tachibi said.

"As a teacher working on the front line I have seen the promise of its young people - their curiosity, talent, their intelligence, their belief.

"Africa's young people will no longer be held back by low expectations. Africa will produce scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs whose names will be one day famous in every corner of the world. And girls will be a huge part of this story."


The Global Teacher Prize is intended to raise the status of the teaching profession. The winner is selected by committees comprised of teachers, journalists, officials, entrepreneurs, business leaders and scientists.

The 2019 competition included 10,000 nominations from 179 countries.

The founder of the prize, Sunny Varkey, said he hopes Tabichi's story "will inspire those looking to enter the teaching profession and shine a powerful spotlight on the incredible work teachers do all over Kenya and throughout the world every day".

"The thousands of nominations and applications we received from every corner of the planet is testimony to the achievements of teachers and the enormous impact they have on all of our lives."

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