FAIRFIELD COUNTY, N.Y. -- As a realtor for William Raveis in Wilton, Nancy Budd’s day job is helping people find the right home for their lifestyle. In her time away from the office, she helps children in Kenya find themselves, period.
Nancy and her husband, William Jr., help oversee The William and Nancy Budd Scholarship Fund. The fund provides scholarships for secondary school and university students in Kenya. It was started by Daniel Ritchie to honor the memory of his stepbrother, William B. Budd, who died in 1999. Ritchie founded the scholarship in 2000.
“These students come from nothing,’’ Nancy said. “Education is their only way out. They study very hard and realize that education is their only hope for success.”
The Budd Scholarship awards aid based on need, academic promise and character. The scholarship is administered by the National Council of Churches in Nairobi. Nancy has visited Kenya several times and has seen firsthand the benefits of the scholarship. She has also seen recipients of the scholarship complete their education and return to help younger students in their communities.
“Now we have some alumni and we send them to a retreat once year,’’ Nancy said. “What we want to do is have alumni come back and support the program.”
Ritchie, who served in Kenya as a member of the Peace Corps from 1964-66, said the educational opportunities in Kenya are improving. “There has been great improvement and great disappointment,’’ Ritchie said. “Kenya is the sixth largest exporter of software in the world. There are so many wonderful things happening. At the same time, there’s a very corrupt government and a lot of violence. Still, there’s a lot of optimism about Kenya. The kids are so inspiring.”
Ritchie travels to Kenya every other year to visit the students. Ritchie and Nancy like the progress that they have seen, but are also frustrated because they’d like to do more.
“You wish you could help everyone,’’ Nancy said. “But you simply can’t. The system is getting better, but it’s so backwards compared to our system. You see kids in the villages and know that they should be in school and they aren’t. You can only help one kid at a time. That’s why it’s so important to have students who have received the scholarship come back and help out. That makes it a full circle.”
Nancy feels particular empathy for young girls in Kenya who do not receive the education they deserve. “Girls in that society that don’t make it through school are generally married off at a very young age into their tribe,’’ she said. “Their lives are difficult to say the least. To see these young women who receive the scholarship being empowered and being able to take care of their lives because of their education is unbelievable. It feels like you've truly changed someone’s life.”
William Budd’s grandson, William Budd III, is now a member of the scholarship board and served as a Peace Corps volunteer. Like the scholarship program, the stewardship of the organization is becoming full circle.
“I think he’d be proud of what we’re doing,’’ Ritchie said of his step-brother. “He loved life and he loved learning. I think this program that we have undertaken reflects the kind of person he was. He would be proud of the students, because they’ve really had to struggle. I think he’d be extremely proud, but a little embarrassed that we named it after him. He was a modest guy."
For more on the Budd Scholarship or to make a donation, visit the website here.
For more about real estate in Wilton, contact Nancy Budd at 203-984-8922 or click here to visit her website. A donation will be made to the William and Nancy Budd Scholarship from every real estate transaction done with Nancy.