*By Jade-Candice Waweru
Keringet, Nakuru County boasts lush green fields, weather that beautifully blends the warmth of the sun and the cool of the breeze, with a host of extremely hardworking women, men and children who strive to make the most out of the present and the future. Valentine and her family are no exception to the rule. Their joy is infectious, and their generosity overwhelming in the best ways.
Her Community Service Project, “The Young Changemakers’ Club”, a play on YCP’s title, located in nearby Kapkores is focused on speaking to and encouraging young girls who have dropped out of school to return. She was motivated to do this project to tackle the high numbers of child marriages prevalent in the area, due to both peer and communal pressure on young girls. As of our visit, she let us know that since its conception, 2 girls recently decided to return to Kapkores Primary School in January and 5 girls in total touched by the project had also decided to return to school.
When it came to planning how the club would work, she consulted her mother and a friend at Chuka University for guidance and strategy. She works with 6 friends; 2 in university, 3 in high school, and 1 who currently works in a local supermarket. They are very supportive of the both her and the project and do their best to keep her going. Her hope is to add 2 to 3 girls to the club each school holiday.
Her biggest challenge is the hostility she’s faced from some people who refuse to listen to what she has to say. But, the determination she has to keep on listening, teaching and encouraging these young girls to get an education is both palpable and admirable. Valentine is a Dada of light, love and hope for the young girls and women in her community which is a wonderful sight to behold.