By Magdalene Mukami and Andrew Wasike
Thousands of people welcomed former U.S. President Barack Obama in western Kenya on Monday as he inaugurated a new sports and vocational center.
The center in his ancestral home Kogelo, Siaya County will help thousands of youth aged 14 to 25.
During a traditional dance performance by the children from Kogelo, Obama said: "It's good to be back home," referring to his roots in Kenya where his father was from.
“Today we open this vocational center. It has a computer laboratory, a library and a basketball court among other sports facilities. As I looked around I saw the possibility, the hope that young people here can become something bigger, the young people learn here and grow here, a young Kenyan doesn’t have to do what my grandfather did and serve a foreign master.”
Obama said that the Sauti Kuu Foundation which currently reaches 800 young people in a week will arm the youth with skills like carpentry, farming, metalwork, and engineering to help them earn their own livelihood.
“Here we will be able to strengthen their education, we are going to help them achieve sustainable economic growth.”
Obama’s sister Auma Obama, who manages the vocational training center, said: "We want to give young people options so that they can improve their lives, we are here to find realistic solutions to develop our community, we will also do this across the country and all over Africa."
Also present at the ceremony was Sarah Obama, the 95-year-old grandmother of America's first black president.
South African singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka was also present at the ceremony. She said that African leaders need to do more adding: “Africa is not a dark continent as everyone thinks, I just think we need to manage it.”
Obama also met with Kenyan leader Uhuru Kenyatta and leader of opposition Raila Odinga where he thanked them for agreeing to work together to build Kenya, putting an end to post-election violence witnessed earlier this year.
Obama is set to fly to South Africa on Tuesday for talks with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.