Beautiful proof: It's never too late to get an education.

Too old to try something new? Pfft. Never.

Google Kenya’s homepage has had a bit of a makeover. And it’s a tribute message that the whole world could learn a thing or two from.

The Google Kenya logo, famous for adapting to mark historical events or celebrate game-changers in the world, currently displays an elderly man eagerly writing notes while primary school kids watch on:

Though at first glance the image might not mean much to you, once you hear the story behind it you’ll surely be inspired.

The man being celebrated is Kimani Maruge. It’s been 11 years since Kimani, who passed away in 2009, enrolled in primary school.

He made history when, at the ripe old age of 84, he walked through the doors of a school in Eldoret, western Kenya, and decided he wanted to fulfil a lifelong passion of his-– to learn.

What if it were possible for Ethiopia’s poorest children to get the education they deserve? 

The Guiness Book of World Records currently lists Mr Maruge as the eldest person to have ever enrolled in primary school. He has been pictured sitting in class each day wearing a school uniform like the children around him, and hunched over with the aid of a cane. But always with a keen look on his face, and a pen in his hand.

Mr Maruge was a fierce advocate for universal free education, until the day he died. It was the Kenyan Government’s introduction of free elementary education in 2003 that allowed him to pursue his dream of being able to read. Before the law changed, he and millions of Kenyans who wanted to simply couldn’t afford to attend school.


It was not an easy road though– his belongings were stolen from his home in the Rift Valley during Kenya’s postelection violence in early 2008. He, and his four children, 19 grandchildren and one great-grandchild, were soon after forced to flee to a displacement camp with thousands of others who lost their homes in the bloodshed.

Despite these obstacles, Mr Maruge continued his schooling until early 2008, when ill health forced him to stop.

Though Mr Maruge sadly passed away from stomach cancer a year after, thanks to Google his legacy is living on.

Because it’s your brain, not your wallet that should determine whether or not you go to university.

“Kimani Maruge was an extraordinary Kenyan whose passion for education throughout his life shines as a beacon worldwide on the importance of lifelong learning,” said Dorothy Ooky, Google’s communications manager for East and Francophone Africa. 

“Doodles are used to celebrate the lives of famous scientists, artists, and pioneers throughout history and Google is thrilled to feature a Kenyan whose life stood for such an important cause.”

Mr. Maruge went to New York in 2005 to promote a global campaign to get more children into schools.

“Liberty means going to school and learning,” he said in an interview at that time. “You are never too old to learn.”

May his story serve as a reminder to governments’ that it’s never too late to invest in educating the 785 million adults worldwide who remain illiterate. For the rest of us? Let Mr Maruge remind you, age should never be a barrier to going after what you want…