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How a Mentor & Mentee Became Family

Dr. Robert Skankey certainly couldn’t predict that when he became a mentor through KEF, he would gain a deep and enriching friendship with a young clinician across the globe.

“We had a situation going where we were talking back and forth and I was counseling him like I was counseling my son...I love him. He made my life seem worthwhile.” -Dr. Bob, 89, Utah

As he entered his golden years, Dr. Bob struggled to find something that could bring deeper meaning into his life. That is, until he became passionate about service through the Rotary Club in Ojai, CA. This was the beginning of his connection to KEF, and the start of what led him to Kayaka.

Kayaka Yassin is an ambitious medical professional in Uganda. He received a grant from KEF in 2018 to continue his studies at the Kyabazinga School of Clinical Officers, and has been an integral member of the KEF community ever since. There was no question from the KEF team to grant Kayaka this scholarship, as his goals have consistently reflected a passion for paying it forward within his community. His application detailed his intentions of becoming a clinician in his village so that he may “change the health status of the community through health education of the public…”

Unsurprisingly, he has already surpassed this goal.

Kayaka recently completed construction on a small medical center near his village with the help of a personal grant from Dr. Bob, separate from KEF’s scholarship program. This came as a surprise for the KEF team, as sometimes, a donor or mentor’s connection to their KEF scholar tapers off after the student graduates. However, Dr. Bob and Kayaka’s relationship has only grown stronger since Kayaka has graduated and sought guidance starting his professional medical practice. .

I will never forget Dr.Bob because he has done a lot for me in a short period. He is a kind man who listens and assesses the situation before he acts. He is a nice father to have in life. -Kayaka, 24, Uganda

Kayaka often reaches out to Dr. Bob for medical advice while caring for patients in his clinic. Most recently, their communications have centered around the Coronavirus. While Kayaka has been treating patients in Uganda, Dr. Bob has been emailing him important COVID protocols and prevention techniques to use and teach to others.

“He and the foundation gave me COVID relief funds which enabled me to operate up to now. I am giving free medical services in this COVID situation.” -Kayaka

Dr. Bob and Kayaka’s relationship is that of a true mentorship, friendship, and familial bond.

They represent the kind of mutual respect and global connection that we at KEF stand for, and we’re so happy to see how strong their friendship has become.

“It allows me to do what I’ve always loved doing- making a difference in someone else’s life. Your program (KEF) is ideal for that.” -Dr. Bob


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