Elizabeth is a final year student at one of Akili Dada’s partner school, Kenya High School. She joined the Young Changemakers program in 2014 when she was in her first year. Elizabeth came from a broken family and her mother single-handedly struggled to provide for her and her 9 siblings. After scoring highly in her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education, she was admitted to Kenya High School, one of the best schools in Kenya but could not afford the school fees and did not have basic necessities.

She struggled with confidence and self – esteem; she could not speak coherently and stammered through conversations. Given that she could not express herself, she was rejected by all clubs and societies in the school, which further lowered her self- esteem.

Joining Akili Dada’s Young Changemakers program was a relief to Elizabeth as her school fees and essential necessities were now taken care of. Joining a community of sisters from her school and other partner schools gave her a sense of belonging which was a much-needed boost to her self-esteem. Being a part of the Akili Dada club also gave her a platform to engage with other students in the school.

Elizabeth is a living testament that our leadership model works. Her confidence has grown through the program. She has blossomed into a well-rounded confident girl who participates in discussions and asks well-thought through questions.

In her own words, Elizabeth says “Akili Dada has shaped me into a wholesome person. I am now brave and I don’t fear anything. I was shy but now I have learnt to speak up for myself and learn how to fight for my rights, stand up for myself and listen to people. I have also learnt how to get out of different problematic situations in life. I used to feel low but now I am a gift to the world and the world begins with me.”

As part of her communiversity project, Elizabeth begun an initiative dubbed Stop Early Pregnancy. She collects sanitary towels from fellow students and distributes them to disadvantaged girls in her community with the help of 12 volunteers. She begun this initiative to encourage girls to stay in school since some preferred to stay at home during their periods and others would get boyfriends to provide for their needs. Elizabeth shares the key learnings she gets from the Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights sessions from the leadership academies with the girls in her community project.

Akili Dada has steadily nurtured hundreds of girls through mentoring sessions and leadership academies. Through the leadership academies, they have had sessions on Sexual reproductive health and rights, Creating your personal brand, Self-learning and leadership as well as 21 st Century Feminism.