By Wr. Immaculate Ajiambo
They are young and committed to bringing change unto their communities. They are driven by passion and humanity.To them fame is nothing compared to being contented for serving a sister and a brother.Meet the three social change ambassadors.
Winnie Choni Barawa is the Kilifi Youth Senator, the CEO and Founder of Washindi Africa.
The overriding inspiration is to see a dream unfold to reality and thrive. Washindi Africa is a brain child of an experience Winnie encountered as she gave mentorships talks to students in school. Winnie noted that when the students gathered in the halls for motivational talks and the rain happened to pour many of them would run out of the hall. Probably they were going to unhung their clothes for the following school day. Contrary to the expectation, majority of the students went to salvage their mattresses. This trend was observed in most schools she visited and it raised a concern to her. She thought of what the so called bed wetter’s underwent in school in terms of social life and academics performance.
‘I can do talks on bed wetting, invite specialists and educationists to enhance my mission and yes I can create an awareness that they can overcome the situation’ Winnie took action and Washindi Africa was registered. The wagon was set the rolling. The name Washindi was born by the belief that the bed wetting students could overcome the situation and be winners. Winners when translated to Swahili it becomes Washindi. The name Africa was to create a sense of identity in the world region.
Today, the organization promotes quality of education in Kilifi County. Winnie is in charge of seeing that the projects and the funding run smoothly. Washindi Africa led her to being appointed into the Youth senate and to be able to meet other community leaders with great minds. She is referred to by the County youth as Iron lady from the fact that it is only iron that sharpens iron and for her, she is contented when she impacts and sharpens others to greatness.
Three takes from Winnie.
- Be aggressive, disciplined, time manager and know what you want. Snooze you lose!
- To the ladies, you have wings don’t forget to flap them and fly high.
- To the gents, don’t sign a cheque that only one man can cash.
Herman Terrence Kamariki, founder of GMA(Great Mentors Association)
Terrence Herman is a people person, charismatic and a public speaker. As a radio personality and a linguistics media and communication student his eloquence in the articulation of English and Swahili language is admirable. Terrence founded the organization Great Mentors Association after Mrs. Boy, assistant administrator to the assistant Dean of Students of Moi University gave him a chance to address the students who had visited the university. She later pointed out to him how crucial his information was to the young people and that he could use his talent to reach out to them. That is when he thought of the students who could not make it to Moi University to get his crucial information. He then went to a newly created WhatsApp group and started sharing inspirations there since the group was dormant.The group members started calling him mentor and that marked the birth of Great Mentors Association from a WhatsApp group of 6 members to 157 active registered members.
The Great Mentors Association is a youth centered empowerment project aimed at removing any conceivable material or immaterial barrier among the youth to reach the peak of success. It is based on promoting quality education through career guidance, mentorship, motivation talks, environmental conservation and talent promotion. They are partners with Isahara center which is a publishing company headed by an engineer who has authored 10 books.
The association has managed to visit 359 high schools, 10 primary schools and 8 orphanages. The influence has been felt and many have testimonies. They have kept strong bonds between them and the school administrations to a point where they are always invited again for talks. Terrence acknowledges himself as a product of motivation. Moreover he is a believer of impact is wealth.
Three takes from Terrence
- If you make someone successful you will have a successful lifestyle.
- To the ladies, be the lady you want to be your son’s wife.
- To the gents, a mature man is determined by responsibility and love.
Aimee Adeti Wanjala, founder of Campus SHE (Strong Healthy and Empowered)
“You are the mama welfare?” I asked then added, “That is a big title of responsibility. How do you manage to have all eyes on you? ”She does it from her heart. Starting an organization is not easy but with passion and determination things fall into place. Campus SHE organization which started in 2015 is what gave Adeti the privilege to be the role model she is to the young women and girls in the society today.
Campus SHE is a foundation that brings girls together for empowerment purposes. It creates an environment they can freely share their challenges, encourage one another, collectively generate income to support them, learn morals and build personalities, find warmth in each other and extend a helping hand to the society. The organization is running in Moi University main campus, Busia and some parts of Elgeyo Marakwet “Campus SHE is not a feminist activism group. It is a platform for mentorship, empowerment and entrepreneurship. I believe that one cannot reach out to everyone but the five they reach will reach other five and the trend will continue until the desired change is achieved.”Said Adeti.
There is always a spark that gets the fire going and for Adeti her call to social activism came in trio. First, it was the shocking news she received about a girl in her neighborhood that was compelled to sleep with men for money, not for luxury but to buy sanitary towels. Then cases of abortion in the campus escalated. Thirdly, she met a lady who had contracted pneumonia and after a friendly talk she realized that the girl did not have a single blanket to cover herself from the cold of Eldoret. She was suffering in the silence of poverty. She gave the lady a blanket but thoughts of how she could be of help to her fellow girls did not give her peace. She did not have enough money to assure them of constant financial support but she knew she could do one little thing to make life bearable for ladies facing different tribulations.
She approached her mentors, friends and her lecturers who guided her. Moreover she prayed over the starting of the organization. Today the numbers of girls in the organization has grown. She has organized lectures and workshops that have been graced by UPSALLA University, Prof. Hilde and Ylva. The girls have attended trainings the latest being women and the internet by Mozilla Firefox and UN Women courtesy of Campus SHE. The girls run small business like selling chapattis, cosmetics, empty jerricans , braiding hair etc .However, the main challenge is finances to fund their activities since they do not have a donor.
Three takes from Adeti
- We all have the potential to be whatever we want to. Just have the right vision, to honor promises and to find mentors.
- To the ladies, do not compromise your personal values for anything. No one can value your self-worth. No matter what happens, a girl should remain classy and fabulous.
- To the gents, I will ask you to engage ladies objectively. When women are being empowered, it’s actually to make them better complimentors and not to threaten your existence. A man’s position is divine. God ordained it and that is irreversible.