“Education, of course, creates many opportunities. In Kenya, for most people of my generation and after, a high school education or a college degree is a guaranteed ticket out of the perceived drudgery of subsistence farming or the cultivation of cash crops for little return.” From her book Unbowed:A memoir by late Nobel Laureate Prof Wangari Mathai.
My passion is to empower girls through education. I inform them the importance of education and the opportunities that come with it. I want them to complete school and become better people in the society. Be great citizens who are able to make better decisions in life. I do this by holding motivational talks with the girls to inspire and boost their self esteem to propel them and to challenge them to work on their goals. We also have a mentorship program where we connect girls with mentors to guide them through especially when making career choices. The mentors are role models in their lives. We want the girls to believe in themselves to have a positive mindset. We encourage the girls to develop their talents and work on them, because these are gifts that have been instilled in them to help them achieve their purpose. I believe the girls need role models who are doing great in their lives, people who have succeeded in different sectors in the society. We want our girls to know that it’s possible they too can make it in life just like we did.
The girls are seeking role models whom they can emulate. Of late I have been seeing women posting nude photos on social media just to get more likes on Instagram and Facebook, more followers on twitter. But at what cost? What message are we sending to our girls? That all these values we have been advocating for are not working? Thus we have to show people our bodies for them to like us? Because they too will want to do the same. I know it’s a free world; we can do what we want with our lives, but let’s think beyond ourselves and before we post that picture or comment think of the young people in our lives.
I remember when I was growing up, I wanted to be so many things depending on the kind of people that came across my life. I wanted to be a journalist because I liked how Beatrice Marshall of then KTN presented herself she was smart, eloquent and confident. I wanted to be a lawyer: I had seen how Agnes Murgor had won her court cases. She was confident, intelligent, and straightforward. I wanted to be an environmentalist just like late Nobel Laureate Prof Wangari Mathaai; she was a fighter who believed in herself and was passionate about the environment. I also wanted to be a nurse like my mother, Christine Muthengi, just because of the seminars and workshops she attended in many countries as a senior nurse. And there are many others who shaped my life.
Let us remember we are role models to our young girls and boys and teach them values that will help them grow. Values they will stand by and work with in our society. Let’s not forget we are nurturing leaders of tomorrow and teach them to believe in themselves, live with a purpose and passionately fulfill it.
“It’s the little things citizens do. That’s what will make the difference. My little thing is planting trees.” - Nobel Laureate Prof Wangari Mathaai
I believe mine is to empower girls. What is your little thing?
Have a lovely day.
About the author of this post:
Maureen runs Donate A Pad Initiative, and is a Mandela Washington Fellow 2014, Young African Leader. She is passionate about empowering young girls to complete education and is a mentor. She loves telling her story to inspire people to reach out to their dreams and be more. “There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.”~Aldous Huxley