A rare appeal for your help

I get many requests to use my blog for charity appeals and most, in fact almost all do not make it to publication.Yesterday did friends of mine from Mombasa send me an appeal and upon looking it over I was at once convinced that this one was different.

Read on to learn about Emily Muteti, Kenya’s top swimmer and what help and assistance she needs to get a chance of making it to the top of her sport and take advantage of the offer she was given ….

And here is some of Emily’s story, worth sharing
and worth considering, because she can take
Kenya’s swimming team, through success and
inspiration, to another level altogether if she is
able to compete with the creme de la creme of
swimming on the international scene.

Only one second away…

Have you ever been in a position to make someone’s dreams come true? Now, how about if this dream is an Olympic podium and it is really achievable?

As we sit at the pool watching this elegant young swimmer train, it is hard to believe what has been achieved in just a few years.

When Emily was 18 months old, she had been playfully dropped into the waves in the ocean and the girl refused to have anything to do with water from then on. She would scream even at the glimpse of the ocean, going over the Nyali Bridge or crossing the channel on the ferry became a nightmare. It took Emily’s mum Emma over a year to make her step on the beach again. Emma’s patience and dedication has been the best support a mother could give to a child ever since.

Emily’s granddad taught Emily to swim. Once a week school swimming lesson was all she had till a novice gala at the age of 10, which would lead to a lifelong passion. Soon after the gala and at nearly 11 Emily started swimming training. The stars must have been right on the day she met her coach as she has been with him ever since. He is her everything: a friend, a father figure, a role model, her strictest critic and her biggest fan. Her coach makes her cry but he also makes her laugh and believe in herself, and carry on through pain and exhaustion.

Today, at the age of just 17, the swimmer from Mombasa, Kenya, Emily Muteti is the top swimmer in the country, she is a multiple Kenya National Champion and a multiple National Record Holder (15 to be precise) who successfully represented Kenya in many international competitions of different levels and made us all proud every time. She was very unfortunate to have fallen very ill just before the Commonwealth Games 2014 in Glasgow but she was proudly swimming for Kenya in the FINA World Championship 2015 in Kazan, Russia, and in All Africa Games 2015 in Brazzaville, Congo, where she set a National Record in 50 m butterfly and came 5th in the finals. In 2013 Emily won the Safaricom SOYA (Sports Personality of the Year Award) award in the category Most Promising Sports personality (girl).

Such success can only come through exhaustively hard work, complete dedication, focus and a lot of blood, sweat and tears. Her day starts before 5 am to be at the first swimming training by 5.40, then Emily goes to school and after school she goes to her second training starting at 5.30 pm. Apart from swimming there is a lot of land and gym work and Emily is a familiar figure running along Mama Ngina drive popular for work outs. Many turn their heads when she runs: some – because she is a beautiful girl, some – because they know it is the Champion running. And this is every day with only Sunday for some rest, no holidays, no breaks, no feeling lazy.

It takes a team of dedicated people to raise a champion. Emily is the only top level Kenyan swimmer who trains in Mombasa without access to anything other swimmers have. She competes with those who have a team of different coaches for strokes, specialized gym sessions, physiotherapists, masseuse, nutritionists, psychologists and managers, all working towards one goal – performance. In Mombasa there is a serious lack of training facilities and expertise with no 50 meters pool, and her only coach is her entire team preparing her for the success. Emily reached as far as she possibly can with local training and for her to achieve more she has to access a new level of facilities, training and exposure.

Emily is a very shy, friendly and humble girl who comes from a family of 5 siblings with only a single mum struggling to make ends meet and raise her children to be honest, decent human beings. Swimming in Kenya is fuelled by pure enthusiasm of coaches, swimmers and their families. Everything is privately funded, including all overseas competitions apart from the actual Olympics, World Championship, Commonwealth and All Africa Games. Emily does not have any sponsors or any external support, and as her mum cannot afford the trips, Emily misses out on a lot of overseas competitions.

Emily is currently training to try and qualify for Rio’16 Olympics. Due to the financial constraints she has the funds to attend only one qualifying event before the end of June and it is her goal to try to be on the Kenyan Olympic team. She is less than one second away from the time she needs and we all are holding our breath for her to defeat that one second which, according to her, is “the longest second of my life”.

Let us imagine for a moment what will happen if she has that access to the top world class facilities and coaching? How much can still be achieved then, if so much has been achieved with so little already? That is where we all can come in and prove that miracles are created by people!

“I have recently assessed Miss Muteti for a swimming scholarship place at Plymouth College to work in the high performance programme with Plymouth Leander Swimming. Her potential is quite significant and I truly believe that we have a talented individual who can achieve at the very highest levels of the sport. As an Olympic gold medal winning coach, a coach of three World Records and as the England Head Coach for the most recent Commonwealth Games, I believe that I have the eye for identifying and nurturing swimming talent. I have had many successes over a 25-year coaching period and Miss Muteti very much fits this bill.” – writes one of the top UK coaches Mr Jon A. Rudd, Head Coach of Plymouth Leander and Swimming Director of Swimming at Plymouth College.

Based on this assessment, her swimming potential and successful entry exams results, Plymouth College, the leading swimming college in the UK, offered Emily a place from this September to study and to join their high performance programme. This is the most amazing chance this young promising athlete has had and we cannot stand by without doing something to make this happen. The College offered Emily a scholarship but her mum cannot afford to pay the remaining fees and expenses for her travel and competitions that she will have to attend.

Can we pull our resources together and help this talented girl? It can be a direct financial help on one off or regular basis, spreading the word, approaching anyone who can potentially help, contacting those who can be of help and take Emily as their 4 years project fully or partially? Might you know of a philanthropist who could take this story to heart? The financial goal we are trying to achieve is very ambitious but it is possible, I am convinced of it.

Emily has two dreams. One is the Olympic podium as her personal achievement. Another is the top swimming training facilities in Mombasa to give access to this sport not only to those who can afford it, but to those with talent and determination, much like herself. We can help both dreams become a reality. With our support she will climb on to that podium and it will be our medal. With her name, experience and determination she will build that facility as her pay back to the society, and her school of swimming will raise many a champion in the future.

Emily is already a role model for aspiring swimmers, she is adored and worshipped and many want to be “like Emily”. Her hard work is respected by her teammates and she is an example for many. Her friendliness thrills young swimmers when she comes to support junior events – for them she is real, they can touch her, laugh with her and take a photo with their hero. Emily will change lives of many in the future if we help to change her life now.

As Jon Rudd put in his letter, “… please do consider carefully whether there is something you can do to help Miss Muteti raise the funds to become part of our team here. We can provide a scholarship here to cover a large part of the necessary fees but this will not cover all costs and this is where Miss Muteti could very much use your help. If one day she is stood on an Olympic podium like that of some of our other athletes, you will be able to say that you were there when it all stared and that you truly helped someone move from ‘playground to podium’.”

Have you ever been in a position to make someone’s dreams come true?.. For me it is the first time. I want to see her on that Olympic podium and stand proud that I was there to help to make it happen. What about you?

Larissa Manson Hart

Goals to achieve:

By 27/05/16 Kshs 2.5 million

By 01/09/16 further Kshs 4 million

4 years goal total Khsh 25 million (includes the above amount; includes all expenses for 4 years)

Help to be sent to:

KCB BANK (Kenya Commercial Bank) Treasury Square, Mombasa, Kenya



a/c 1181214904

a/c name Emily Siobhan Lois Muteti

MPESA Paybill 522522
for a/c 1181214904

contact: Larissa Manson Hart


Skype: lamansonhart

Kenya’s long distance runners, boxers and even the Rugby 7, all have sponsors, and doesn’t one wish young Froome had been given the support from the country of his birth and been able to bring a Tour de France victory home to Nairobi.
Here is an opportunity to give Emily a fighting chance to add swimming to one of Kenya’s high performance sports and I add my own appeal to all my readers, to give generously and spread the word to their corporate friends who possible have the capacity to underwrite the entire stipend.