By Ewan Foskett
Saturday, October 26, 2013
Barack Obama’s grandmother has backed a Welwyn Garden City charity that helps youngsters get an education in poverty-ravaged Kenya.
The matriarch of the presidential clan is now the patron of the RedrubberballFoundation after its founder, Neil Kirby, met with her at her African home.
Grandma Sarah Obama is a big believer in education having raised the Commander in Chief, helping him get a scholarship to study in the US.
Mr Kirby, 51, told the WHT: “It just opens doors and it will just mean a lot more attention.
“The reality is though she can’t put a huge time into talking as she is 90-odd and doesn’t travel much.
“I don’t think she will speak on our behalf but she will be behind us.”
The Barleycroft Road resident has met Sarah three times and has even been to her home in the village of Kogelo, which is about an hour away from Lake Victoria.
When they discussed the work of his organisation she enthused that it “was fantastic and you must bring the children for my blessing”.
Although Mr Kirby admits the logistics of gathering the 47 young Kenyans the charity sponsors through primary school may prove difficult.
Barack Obama spoke glowingly of “Granny Sarah” in his book Dreams From My Father, but he is not sure if America’s first black President will know of his Nan’s involvement.
“I know he is close to grandmother, he is as close to his grandmother as it is possible to be,” he said.
“Before he and Michelle got married he went out there and asked her permission, he didn’t want her approval but he sought her blessing.”