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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sisterhood in Kibera and Kawangware

My mentorship project dubbed “Sisterhood” has recently expanded its focal point and is now in more schools and centers within Nairobi and its environs. Walking down this road has not been easy to say the least, but it has been unquestionably worthwhile. I am constantly amazed at how differently my world view is as to that of others. Our life experiences definitely have a lot to do with that, but this reality should neither make us vain or bitter, nor conceited or proud.

My most recent encounter has been with young teenagers and very young mothers living in Kibera and Kawangware both located in Nairobi. The negative publicity that is constantly aired in regard to these areas of course makes one skeptical and to a large degree scared of being in the area. It was a happy surprise to find very clean, orderly and respectable young ladies awaiting us. It would be a fallacy to say that no crime or violence indeed goes on in the area, but a lot of good is equally evident in the area too; and I am keen on focusing on the positive and eliminating the negative not the other way round.

In Kibera, my two mentees are both 18 years old and as any normal young lady, they are curious about boys and dating, freedom and making money to name but a few. Our coordinator Emma has appointed 11 Mentors to mentor 22 mentees in the area. This translates to 2 mentees per mentor and we all commit to have contact of at least two hours per week for the next 6 weeks with the girls. Last week was officially our first week of action and on our menu for the day for my team was on goal setting. The girls certainly had to get homework and I cannot wait to hear from them this Saturday how it felt to set their long term goals without any limitation and not withstanding their current situation.

Kawangware has a lovely football team; “Binti” comprised of 25 young ladies between the ages of 12-24.The coordinators of the project the Young Women Leadership Initiative-Kenya use football as an ice-breaker to engage the young ladies. It was a remarkable feeling just being with these girls especially when they shared the impact football and the mentorship project has influenced their lives and their relations with others in the community especially their parents. I have never been a football fan, but I assured the girls that I will be their self appointed cheerleader from now henceforth!!!Many of these girls are actually in the under 17 National football team…

If you preserve it, if you believe it, you can achieve it is the girls’ mantra and it is working!!!


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