Kenyan teacher Michael Wamaya has danced his way into the top 10 Global Teacher Prize list. Prince Harry of Great Britain announced the list this week and paid tribute to the excellent work done by Michael Wamaya.
The top ten have been narrowed down from 20,000 nominations and applications from 179 countries around the world. By highlighting their stories the Varkey Foundation hopes that the public will be able to join in passionate debates about the importance of teachers. The winner will be announced at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai on Sunday 19 March 2017.
Michael Wamaya was forced to drop out of high school near Lake Victoria due to financial constraints, but a chance audition with the visiting Kenya Performing Arts Group allowed him to move to Nairobi and study dance. In 2009 Michael joined Annos Africa, a UK-based charity that offers an alternative arts education to orphans and vulnerable children in Africa with a particular focus on those living in Kenya’s Kibera and Mathare slums. As a dance instructor for them, he combines the teaching of dance skills with social skills, with many other teachers commenting that his ballet classes have also had a positive effect on students’ wider academic work.
Sunny Varkey, the founder of the Varkey Foundation, commented on Wamaya’s selection saying, “I want to congratulate Michael Wamaya for being selected as a top ten finalist from such a huge number of talented and dedicated teachers. I hope his story will inspire those looking to enter the teaching profession and also 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 a testimony to the achievements of teachers and the enormous impact they have on all of our lives.”